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Required Readings, Require Faster Deliveries

As classes for the Spring began and books were ordered, students and faculty have been left without access to the textbooks they need, which has sparked much confusion, and little explanation.  


A year ago, Belmont announced the closure of the on-campus bookstore.  


Since this change, textbooks have been made digital by combining Bruin Books with Canvas, but many students who are required to order physical copies aren’t receiving them.  


“There have been issues at Belmont with the delivery of physical books through the third-party Missouri Book Service used by Bruin Books,” said Jonathan Thorndike, a professor in English.  


The English department has dealt with difficulties in the transition.  


“There remains the big question about the university's (and publishing industry's) emphasis on digital books and how the emphasis on everything digital affects pedagogy and teaching effectiveness,” said Thorndike.  


During the first week of school, in one of English professor Maggie Monteverde’s classes jumped from 16 to 21 students. The students previously enrolled knew what material to purchase in advance and when to have it. The new students who added class later during the add/drop week didn’t know about the book problems. 


“When extensive readings are required, it is challenging for students to comprehend and focus on the material online. I request that students get print copies so they can grasp the text better,” said Monteverde. 


 Due to the inability to receive the textbooks on time, not a single student in Monteverde’s class had  the textbook. She’s been making copies of her textbook to give out to students so they don’t get behind.  


The campus’s mission is to provide students with all the materials they need to succeed, whether digitally or physically. While Monteverde acknowledges the benefits of a digital shift, she says there is no easy way for students to find what texts to use.  


In some cases, the physical copies aren’t available.  


With the Bruin Books website difficult to navigate, Ashley Elliot, a junior majoring in fashion design said working at the Bruin Shop this semester she received several phone calls from students confused about where to get their books from. 


“The main problem is miscommunication. The Bruin Store can’t help with lost textbooks,” Elliot said.  


 Repeatedly, Elliot had to redirect phone calls to Bruin Books.  


Brooke Miller, a junior double majoring in music and corporate communications said she struggled to gain access to her online books as a last resort.  


“I didn’t get an email from my professor on what was needed for the class. By the time I realized what textbooks I had to get, I was too late,” Miller said. 


Though there is still much confusion among students and professors, Belmont is attempting to solve the issue and implement faster, more effective ways for students to get the books they need.  


“The bottom line is that faculty wants to uphold the university’s mission of offering an engaging and transformative education,”  said Thorndike. “The confusion and difficulties with digital books present some challenges, but we think we can do better in the future.” 

This article was written by Lily Koleas

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