Questioning the price of education

  Many times, professors require students to purchase books that they wrote.’ Some students have complained about this seemingly greedy and self-serving practice, arguing that there are better editions of the material. They see it as an abuse of power. However, it may not be as bad as it seems. Purchasing a book written by your teacher may be beneficial to the student as well as the professor. Not only do the professors make very little of the sale of their own textbooks, but there are legitimate reasons why it is better to for professors to teach with books they wrote. First, writing books furthers their knowledge and grasp of the subject matter. There is an enormous amount of time, effort and research that goes into writing a book, and the process enriches the professor’s understanding of the material. If we discourage professors from writing books by not purchasing them, we will ultimately be hurting ourselves. Textbooks written by professors are also just as expensive as other similar texts. However, unlike other textbooks, professors are more familiar with self-written material. There is no guessing what the author meant. A student can simply ask the professor what a passage means and get an answer instead of speculation. In the end, the tools and materials implemented by the professors to assist in teaching students are ultimately the professor’s decision, and we should trust it. To avoid the abuse of purchase power, professors should permit students to purchase other versions of the text, allowing the student to decide which edition, author or publication allows for the best interpretation of the material. Professors can still recommend their version, but also other equally reputable editions. The Cynic believes that the responsibility of academic honesty also applies to the professor.’ We should be able to trust him or her to use the best materials available, whether it is written by the professor or anyone else.