Friday, April 4, 2008

Scaming lecture notes to students

I am rarely upset by academics, but the post on Against Monopoly about University of Florida faculty making big bucks selling their notes and then supporting a suit against a note-taking service enrages me. Academics are working for the public good, they are vying to disseminate knowledge, they have ideals of public service. In the case related here, a professor is selling lecture note on a CD for US$80 a disk to large captive audiences. And it is required. Students have already paid tuition for the privilege to listen to him, they should not have to pay again. From what I can infer form linked articles, it is common practice on this campus. Disgusting.

4 comments:

Anonymous said...

I share your disgust. Tuition is supposed to cover the cost of learning. I may at the margin accept that external costs are not covered (textbooks, say), but the teacher should be providing any material for free. Or put it up on a system like WebCT that only students can access.

Vilfredo said...

In some countries, civil servants are so poorly paid that they resort to corruption to get an income comparable to the private sector. Are University of Florida professors so poorly paid they need such schemes? I doubt it.

Anonymous said...

How is this different that requiring students to buy a book written by the prof?

Economic Logician said...

Lecture notes are of lower quality than textbooks: no independent checking, less effort in layout and convenience, fewer ancillary products. Also, textbooks, while clearly too expensive, cannot be priced according to the location where the class is taught. The UF prof is clearly exploiting his monopoly position here, he has margins that must put to shame the best discriminators.

Usually, assigning your own textbook is regulated in that you are not allowed to get royalties. That does not seem to be the case here either.