A “Debate” (kinda) at DLA2010

I’m attending the Distance Learning Administrators conference at the Jekyll Island Hotel Club. You can tell from the pics that this is a lousy destination. 😉

Tomorrow morning I will join Myk Garn for a quasi-debate based on the following proposition:

Resolved: Faculty must be required to actively consider, and explicitly justify, cost when selecting textbooks and instructional materials students will be required, or advised, to purchase.

I don’t know yet which side of the argument I will be taking. The moderator, Micheal Crafton, will flip a coin and we’ll choose sides based on that twist of fate. So, I might be arguing for the affirmative and I might be on the negative. Quite frankly, I don’t know which side I prefer – and I’m woefully under-prepared to speak for either side.

So, feel free to help me out in the comments section. Your input will be added to the crowd-sourcing that we are planning to do as part of the “debate.” We will be asking the audience (if there is one) to provide ideas for the constructs on each side before we actually give our opening arguments. This is basically an experiment, so we’ll see how it goes.

2 Responses

  1. In accounting they have the fraud triangle (opportunity, justification and incentive) to focus on risk and abuse. The text book argument seems to be completely captured inside this triangle. The perception of abuse seems to be the biggest issue here. A process of book selection that seems more transparent and open to students (and other stake holders) might be best way to navigate this sticky issue. Why all text books aren’t digital by now seems like an indictment of the current structure of book selection.

  2. Ok let’s do aff first (I’m imagining more like l-d than policy debate here)

    Student access ought to be valued above instructor convenience. Costs,including textbook costs, are a significant impediment to student access, ergo the requirement to justify costs will increase access. You can also argue that piecing together a course using oer’s and stuff off the web forces the instructor to design the class rather than abdicate that responsibility to publishers.

    Neg is harder. I would try to split definitional hairs (must,required , justify) and go with either

    1) requiring these things impinges on academic freedom


    2 One should actively consider cost, but explicit justification of those costs require a framework for quantifying textbook value that doesn’t exist, making any such justification an exercise in creative writing.

    Here endeth the five minute analysis.

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