September 22, 2014  

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Students, Instructors Encouraged to Participate in Textbook Survey

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The Provost’s Office is asking Southern Miss students and faculty to assist in the Fall 2012 Textbook Survey that is now available on SOAR. Faculty and students will find separate surveys, which must be completed before midnight on Friday, Nov. 16 to be included in the final results.

Members of the faculty are encouraged to make their students aware of the survey. As an incentive to students, they could win one of two $100 gift cards, redeemable anywhere a VISA debit card is accepted. These prizes will be awarded to two students randomly selected from those who complete the survey for all their courses by Nov. 16.

Dr. Patricia Biesiot, associate dean in the College of Science and Technology, is overseeing the textbook survey and points out that the results will assist in compliance with the Higher Education Opportunity Act, a federal law that went into effect on July 1, 2010. Its purpose is to ensure that students have access to affordable course materials by increasing transparency and disclosure about the “selection, purchase, sale and use of all course materials.”

“Basically, the intent of HEAO is to reduce textbook costs,” said Biesiot. “That’s why instructors are now required to report, through our university bookstore, the ISBN number of all textbooks and to identify other course materials. This must be done by the time that students register for their classes, to give students enough time to comparison shop for potentially lower cost options.”

Southern Miss administrators need faculty and student input about textbook costs and usage as part of an annual assessment report that is mandated by the IHL. In the past there were 3 questions about textbooks at the end of the Student Course Evaluations. However, more data is required and there is a need to separate student perceptions about their instructors from their perceptions about their textbooks.

Thus, from now on, there will be separate Student Textbook Surveys and Student Course Evaluations. There is an incentive for students this semester as they learn about the change in process.

 To complete the survey follow these instructions:

·         In SOAR click “Self Service” on the left menu

·         Click “USM Self Service” in the page

·         Click “Faculty Textbook Survey” or “Student Textbook Survey”

·         Take the survey for all your classes. It should take less than one minute per course to fill out the survey.