UTC Students Speak Out About Online Access Codes

By: Megan Montgomery

CHATTANOOGA, Tenn (UTC/The Loop) — The times of technology are advancing and so are the prices of online websites used in the classroom. In addition to the price of textbooks, students are now asked to buy online access codes for some classes in order to do homework and other activities.

PasswordThe biggest problem facing students is the hefty price of an access code in addition to a textbook. Forty-two percent of students in a class requiring online access are asked to purchase a textbook as well, according to a survey recently conducted.

One professor at UTC says that she was unaware of the initial price of the online access code when it was first required for her students. She has seen more effective learning with the additional practice outside of the classroom and considers the online work a necessity.

Sophomore Alexis Scott says she likes online work because it shows you the correct answer right away, unlike having to wait on a test to see what you need to work on.

Freshman, Jenna Stewart uses a website to complete work for her Spanish class. She says, “The answers are really obscure and way too specific so I end up missing the questions.”

Stewart doesn’t believe the material is worth her money because she learns more from the lecture and the book.

This isn’t a problem faced only by students at UTC. University of Maine student Luke Thomas took to the internet when he and his fiance at the time were both forced to buy a $150 bundle for an English class. They attempted to share a book and access code, but the code, which could only be purchased in addition to the textbook, was essential to participation in the class discussion.

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UTC offers direct access to buying textbooks online through the Barnes and Noble campus bookstore

The situation presented by textbook providers is that access codes are very rarely offered separately from a textbook, forcing students to spend the extra buck. This process makes the value of textbooks near to nothing because bookstores are unwilling to buy back a book that can only be sold with an access code.

This extra investment in online access only lasts a limited amount of time. In the survey conducted, only six percent of students have been able to use an access code for longer than two semesters.

College is stressful time without extensive financial burdens. One student suggests that online access only be mandatory if it is used extensively in the classroom not just for additional exercises. Another student suggests that the purchase of students’ online access be included in the technology fee of tuition.

Online codes and website access are a fairly new concept in the classroom. One way to help prepare for the price is to make sure you are getting a good deal on the other textbooks you purchase.

One blogger took the time to analyze the prices of the average price of textbooks at leading bookstores and compare their prices as well as include tips on how to buy smart on ExtraBux.com.

Textbook average prices from store to store according to ExtraBux.com


For more information about buying textbooks cheaper and more efficiently, check out some other students’ research:

1. “UTC student are going broke due to textbook prices” by Taylor Ellis

2. “How Do Teachers Choose Textbooks: A Guide for UTC Students” by Rose Street

3. “Bookstore Buybacks: Things You Need To Know About The UTC Bookstore” by Arielle Henson

4. “Students pay for textbooks they don’t use” by Kami Rowe

Click Here to Take the Survey!

Heavy Problems for Chattanooga’s Young and Old

By: Sid Sadler

CHATTANOOGA, Tenn (UTC/The Loop) – There’s a heavier problem on students nowadays when it comes to textbooks, and it’s not necessarily the cost.

It’s no secret that the high cost of textbooks, has been hampering students from all over the country. Currently, students are scrambling to find a website or place to buy back their textbooks. A problem that hasn’t really been addressed though, is the health problems that can occur carrying all those textbooks around.

Currently there is not a lot of academic literature on the effects of heavy backpacks on college students. However there have been numerous studies on children, and the health effects heavy backpacks have on them.

A New York Times Article on heavy backpack usage, found that, ” The federal Consumer Product Safety Commission calculated that carrying a 12-pound backpack to and from school and lifting it 10 times a day for an entire school year puts a cumulative load on youngsters’ bodies of 21,600 pounds — the equivalent of six mid-sized cars.”

Dr. Horne, Professor of Political Science at UTC said, ” I had to give my 5th grader my backpack to fit all their textbooks in.”

Other studies have found that teens carry, “10-15%” their body weight. Junior Emily Andrews, who is an exercise science major said, ” While cost is always important, it’s also important to look at the overall health effects that heavy books have on the body.”

Possible eBooks could ease the burden of heavy textbooks.

Possible eBooks could ease the burden of heavy textbooks.

These findings are obviously a little troublesome, but with any type of electronic book, there must be a way of getting the book in the first place. This can lead to another trouble, which is being able to afford a device that can display an electronic textbook in the first place.

Mitchell Frame sophomore at UTC said, ” Forcing students to get an iPad or a Kindle could be costly for students, if the teacher went the route of going all electronic for books.”

Another issue that arises is what happens if the book disappears from the online data base. Dr. Horne also said, “Professors really have no incentive to go online, because books could disappear.”

If for some reason a book disappears online, or is discontinued, then the professor will have definite issues when it comes to conducting class. The professor would have to either find another book, or simply adjust their teaching style. This could ultimately effect not only the professor, but the students in the class as well.

Another issue that could come up by using online textbooks, is the problem of online piracy. Online piracy is a big problem with the internet currently, and it would be hard to walk the line between pirated material and non-pirated material.


  • Easier to carry
  • Less overall cost
  • Searching through content is made easier on student
  • It’s a ‘green’ investment


  • Online Piracy
  • Screen glares
  • Risk of power outages

Either way you weigh it, there is much to be said about the topic of textbooks. There are various arguments out there supporting lowering costs for textbooks. However, health reasons might ultimately bring the downfall of the textbook as we know it today.

For other coverage about textbooks go to:



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