Cheaper College Textbooks on the Way?

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With some college textbooks costing as much as $400.00, students might see some relief soon. The spending bill President Trump signed last week provides money for a U.S. Department of Education pilot program that supports the creation and use of open textbooks.

I try to minimize the expense of taking my classes by either not using a text (mostly in my business and technical writing classes – real world experience speaks more than a $100.00 textbook could ever say), or by combining a small rhetoric and style guide with handouts or links to readings on the web.

I also know that publishers like Norton and Pearson try to add value to their texts by having not only digital versions, but also plenty of supplemental online study and reference materials.

Still, any chance to save a student a couple hundred dollars a year and increase a course’s value shouldn’t be waved off.


People Will Believe Anything, Part 322

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Looks like some people actually thought a story in The Babylon Bee about Hershey’s replacing their timeless Kisses with a new product called “Sidehugs” for the Christian market was true.

It wasn’t.

Remind me again why we even bother teaching critical thinking skills to college students when adults can’t even practice them. Guess we could just give this as an example of what not to do.


Not What Hari Seldon Had in Mind

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A university’s foundation is, to put it simply, a group that raises and manages money for it. And we’re talking about a lot of money, with the wealthiest 25 colleges in America receiving a combined $26.3 billion USD in 2017.

But a story today from the James G. Martin Center for Academic Renewal states that many of these foundations enable waste, fraud, and abuse.

In Isaac Asimov’s Foundation series, the Second Foundation – full of psychohistorians and telepaths and other assorted smart folks – was developed by mathematician Hari Seldon in secret and kept well hidden, to the point that others were convinced that it actually didn’t exist. It’s secretiveness was that way for a reason.

University foundations shouldn’t be.

(h/t: The College Fix)


Never Give Up Meaningful Work

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Live by the 4 S’s: social, structure, stimulation, and story.

(h/t: Dr. William Ryan)

A Fresh Take on a First-Year Problem

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Freshman: to keep the title or not? Allan Metcalf says yes. . .but only in context.

Your Friday Morning Dose of Madness

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The first music video I ever saw. Have a grand weekend.

When Nonfiction Becomes Fiction

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It happens when new-age novels reporting contact with geniuses from outer space turn out to be utter crap and then get marketed as fiction, but for something like Truman Capote’s In Cold Blood?

Is it excellent, detailed reporting or a good crime novel based on exhaustive research?

(h/t: Instapundit)

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