Archive for March 2010

Recently, the Higher Education Opportunity Act was passed into law.  We at ProCopy® have received several questions regarding the application of this law to our CourseWorks™ custom text and coursepack services for the Fall ‘10 semester.  We prepared this summary based on our reading of the law.

The Higher Education Opportunity Act requires publishers of college textbooks to provide instructors with information about the textbooks they adopt, and requires institutions of higher education make pricing and ISBN information available to their students when course registration information is published.

Specifically, publishers of college textbooks are required to provide instructors,”to the maximum extent practicable”, with the following information about an adopted textbook:  the price to the bookstore; the price to the public (if available);  the description of the substantial content revisions between the current edition and the previous edition, if any;  any other formats the textbook or supplemental material may be available, and the prices of the other formats.

The institutions of higher education are required to “the maximum extent practicable” to post this information with the course schedule for the upcoming semester.

Custom textbooks’s are addressed in this law and are treated differently in the law from college textbooks.

First, by definition in the law, a custom text is a college textbook complied at the direction of the instructor, and “may include, alone or in combination, items such as selections from original instructor materials, previously copyrighted publisher materials, copyrighted third-party works, and elemets unique to a specific institution, such as commemorative editions.”  This definition can be applied to what we at ProCopy® CourseWorks™ also refer to as a coursepack.

Second, if you are using a custom textbook (or coursepack), there is no requirement in the law for the institution of higher learning to provide ISBN or pricing information with course schedule listings for any custom textbooks, as custom textbooks are omitted from this part of the law.  This part of the law only applies to regular textbooks (“College Textbooks” as defined in the law) and supplemental materials.

So if you are an instructor using a custom textbook (or coursepack) for an upcoming course, and your institution is requesting a list of your textbooks for the course, you can simply write-in “Custom Textbook” or “Custom Text from ProCopy”.

Also, since custom textbooks are omitted from the institutional requirements for posting of pricing and ISBN information, you are also able to decide to use a custom textbook (or coursepack) at any time.

For your reference, here’s a link to to a pdf file of the law. The references to textbooks, custom textbooks, and institutional requirements can be found on pages 31-34 of the pdf.

We hope this clears up any questions regarding the application this law to custom textbooks and coursepacks.  If you have any questions or comment, please get in touch with us.  Thanks!

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