Faculty need course materials that are seamlessly integrated into their courses, and students hope for materials that are affordable and available when class begins. The University of Delaware Library, Museums and Press is here to help, and provides these recommendations for those teaching this winter.
Reach out to your subject librarian by December 1 if you are hoping to integrate streaming media, e-books or open educational materials into your course this winter, or if you hope to put materials on electronic course reserves. Physical course reserves will not be available for the 2021 winter semester.
Reaching out early will help librarians configure needed e-books so that, if possible, they can be made simultaneously available to groups of students. If you are using Perusall to license and provide online textbooks, the costs are passed onto students through the Perusall interface. Subject librarians can work with faculty to identify viable textbook alternatives. There are many academic e-books that are already in the Library’s collections or available to purchase that might be used as textbooks. However, there are several considerations that librarians can help you to work through if considering an e-book for course readings:
Many standard textbooks publishers do not provide electronic purchasing options for libraries. These include Pearson, Cengage, Houghton, McGraw-Hill, Oxford University Press and others. This is also true of many popular fiction/nonfiction publishers, such as Penguin Random House.
While some e-book publishers provide libraries with the ability to arrange multi-user access to titles, others, such as the HathiTrust emergency access service, require single user access. Librarians can help determine what access options are available for desired titles.
If you are interested in exploring no-cost, open textbooks, such as those available from OpenStax or the Open Textbook Library, this process takes some time. Librarians will compile available resources for your review. Other ways that we are available to help is through negotiating licenses to ensure that materials are available on the first day of your course. The sooner faculty are in touch, the better we can support your online course this Winter.
If you are hoping to make textbooks or excerpts of material available via e-reserves, especially because you anticipate your students having financial difficulties, there may be copyright issues that you need to consider. It may be possible to make a fair use argument, or it may be possible for the Library to license the excerpts for use. In some cases, it may be possible to place materials on e-reserve if you can provide scanned PDFs. Creating an e-reserves request, or contacting your subject librarian or the digital publishing and copyright librarian early can help you make plans so that your texts will be ready by the start of the semester.