Georgetown University’s Newspaper of Record since 1920

The Hoya

Georgetown University’s Newspaper of Record since 1920

The Hoya

Georgetown University’s Newspaper of Record since 1920

The Hoya

The Most Efficient Course Reserves Solution

To the Editor:

Your editorial, “Rethink Course Reserves” (The Hoya, Nov. 11, 2005, A2), identifies a significant problem: how to distribute readings to students with the most convenience and at the least expense. As the editorial points out, putting readings on reserve then requires students to spend lots of money and time printing out those readings. (And yes, you should print them out, read them off paper, and take notes in the margins!)

Unfortunately, the alternative you suggest of producing reading packets at Kinko’s is not viable. As a consequence of a costly lawsuit some years back, Kinko’s will not produce such packets of copyrighted material (which virtually all books and academic journals are). Copyright permissions are often as expensive as making the copies themselves, so producing legal reading packets with all the appropriate copyright permissions leads to

outrageously expensive reading packets. If students balk at a $100 book, then they surely will balk even more loudly at a $200 reading packet.

Fortunately, there’s an alternative. Here’s the solution that I suggest to students in my Introduction to International Relations class for which I place many readings on Blackboard:

1. At the beginning of the semester, get together with some friends or dormmates who are also in your class.

2. As a group, make one copy of all the readings off of reserves or Blackboard.

3. Go to Kinko’s and make as many copies of the set of readings as there are people in your group (unless you happen to get a clerk who is unfamiliar with Kinko’s policies, you’ll have to make the copies yourself because Kinko’s won’t copy copyrighted material for you).

4. Split all the costs among the members of your group.

The biggest saving with this solution is in time: Printing out only one copy of the reserves will collectively save your group a large amount of time. Photocopying is much faster than laser printing. If you would have to pay for your laser printouts, then this solution will also save you money since photocopies are typically less expensive than laser printouts.

Believe it or not, faculty don’t relish the idea that their students are spending lots of time and money printing out readings off of reserve or Blackboard. Hopefully, the solution suggested above can help alleviate this problem.

David Edelstein

Assistant Professor

Edmund A. Walsh School of Foreign Service & Department of Government

Nov. 11, 2005

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