Northeastern

Affordable course materials: reducing costs and promoting student success

We all remember textbooks. Memories of those big chunky books organized into chapters and sections, with tons of figures and charts explaining everything there is to know about a discipline. We stayed glued to them throughout each semester for the assigned activities and exercises they included. We studied them front-to-back for midterms and final exams.

From Anthropology to Zoology, textbooks are still used heavily. They are written by experts, reviewed by experts, and published by reputable academic publishers and other media companies—they are reliable. The problem is that prices have risen sharply, students in turn are paying more and must often turn to alternatives or choose different paths in the curriculum if none can be found.

Multiple studies have broken down the rise in the price of textbooks. A study concluded early in the last decade showed that between 2002 and 2012 the price of textbooks increased 82%. Another looked at 2006-2016 and found an 88% increase. More studies are underway. As the price of textbooks rises students are spending more; in the 2018-2019 academic year, students spent over $1200 a year on average on course materials, mostly textbooks.

When students can’t afford new textbooks, they have no alternatives but to pool funds to share books, rent, or purchase used copies, or use a copy on reserve at the library. Sometimes the only option is to purchase a new copy of a required textbook when the book includes accompanying online content in the form of activities, quizzes, or other coursework—a used or shared copy is of no use. Given these factors, in various surveys students have reported making decisions on which courses to enroll in based on what the required textbook(s) will cost.

It is no wonder there is a growing movement to utilize free/open educational content, and Northeastern University Library is on the front lines. Working with faculty and partners across the institution, librarians are helping faculty discover, evaluate, and integrate freely available textbooks and other Open Educational Resources (OERs), many of which are authored and reviewed by experts. In the case of Biology, multiple faculty members discontinued use of costly textbooks in favor of freely accessible, open texts: students enrolled in various Biology courses have saved over 100K since the summer of 2018. In related work, librarians are working to ensure faculty know how to maximize use of library-subscribed content such as online journal articles and e-books through dynamic reading-list creation tools and other services.

The library is actively presenting, creating partnerships, and raising awareness about the issues students face, and the options faculty have for finding and integrating alternatives and utilizing existing library content. Savings will continue to grow as the library works with more departments. The library is proud to be a part of this important movement.

For more information, visit the Affordable Course Materials guide.

Beyond the Reading Room: Access the Northeastern University Archives and Special Collections Online

It’s easy to think of an archives as being bound to one space: a reading room. However the organizational, descriptive, and educational work of the archivists at the Northeastern University Archives and Special Collections goes well beyond the reading room. There are many resources available so that your archival goals can be met no matter where you are.

Even though we cannot take you through a physical tour of the Archives, we have a series of webinars that introduce you to the Archives and how to work with us, highlight our Asian American and African American digital collections, and teach you how to navigate a finding aid. Find our recorded webinars here and watch the library calendar for more webinars coming this summer!

Experiential learning with the Archives and Special Collections doesn’t stop when you can’t visit the reading room. Instead it shifts to engaged digital pedagogy with our over 64,000 digitized archival records. We are able to hold remote class sessions introducing you to Latinx history in Boston, using archival visual resources, telling stories informed by archival material, and more. Learn how to schedule a class session or workshop and view some of our class examples on our newly published Teaching with Archives Program page.

Want to learn more about our variety of digitized collections? Visit some of our CERES exhibit portals where you can view online exhibits and browse collections’ records in context. Find our collection sites with exhibits and contextual resources below: 

Have a question about Boston history or using Archives? Our reference services are still open and available by contacting archives@northeastern.edu or filling out this form to contact us here.

We look forward to working with you beyond the reading room to continue activating the history of Greater Boston and Northeastern through the use of our records. 

 

Important Temporary Access to Digitized Versions of the Library’s Print Collections Available

The Northeastern University Library is a member of the HathiTrust Digital Library, a major international repository for the digital preservation of digitized versions of print library materials. Normally, there is no access to content which is still under copyright. During the current crisis, as many libraries have closed, HathiTrust took an important step and temporarily opened up copyrighted material in their digital library to member institutions with copies of those items in their physical collections. This means that any books available through HathiTrust which are also in Northeastern’s collections will be available to you while the library is closed. HathiTrust’s online collection contains approximately half of the Northeastern Library’s book collections.

We are working to add this temporary access to Scholar OneSearch. In the meantime, to take advantage of this resource:

  • Visit ​hathitrust.org​ and click the yellow “LOG IN” button.
  • Select “Northeastern University” and log in using your NU credentials.
  • Use the site to locate the item you wish to view.
  • Click on the Temporary Access link at the bottom of the record, if present, to Check Out the item through the Emergency Temporary Access Service.
  • You will have 60 minutes of access to the book during any session. If you remain active in the book at the end of the session, access time will automatically be extended, unless someone else has requested to read the book.
  • You will not be able to download the whole book, although you can download individual pages. You are mainly able to read it online in an active session while using HathiTrust. This is to protect the author’s rights.
  • You will be able to search within the full text of the book.

If you have questions about using this temporary service, please contact help@northeastern.libanswers.com.

Expanding Services to Supporting Online Learning

In the past few months, the Online Learning team has been hard at work to expand library services to our global community. We’ve worked with various departments across the university and the library to offer robust and dynamic online programs. Here are a few of the ways we've expanded over the year. We are constantly looking for new ways to innovate, improve our services and offer even more programs and online opportunities for our students, faculty and staff. We welcome comments, questions, or ideas for new online initiatives. Please feel free to reach out to Lindley (l.homol@northeastern.edu) or Dina (d.meky@northeastern.edu) at any time.

—Lindley Homol and Dina Meky

Recording Studios Launches Post-Production Workspace

Recording Studios Launches Post-Production Workspace

A state-of-the-art audio and video post-production workspace in the Recording Studios is now open to the Northeastern community. You may use a variety of equipment to create audio, such as the mastering and mixing of  final vocal/music tracks, and integrate video and audio files into your final edited piece.

The workspace includes a PC workstation with Adobe Creative Cloud Suite for audio and video editing, Pro Tools, an 88-key weighted MIDI controller, Genelec and Avantone Monitors, as well as a range of plug-ins:

  • EastWest Composer Cloud X VST
  • Spitfire Albion One VST
  • Serum Xfer Wavetable Synth
  • Arturia Jup 8 Synthesizer
  • Soundtoys 5 Complete Bundle
  • iZotope Ozone Mastering Software Suite
  • Slate Digital All Access Pass Bundle
Izotope Ozone Mastering Software

Izotope Ozone 8 Audio Mastering Software

KOTAKT Virtual Instrument Player

KONTAKT Virtual Instrument Player

Users can also bring their own computer to connect to monitors or a 49-inch display.  You must store project files either on a cloud-based or external drive.

Request post-production workspace time through LibCal.  Staff will follow up to confirm your reservation and help with set-up or training.

For more questions, contact Jon Reed at jo.reed@northeastern.edu or 617-373-2821.