The University of Calgary will be reintroducing course packs this September after they were discontinued in September 2011 when the university opted out of Access Copyright’s model plan.
Course packs are collections of selected readings and texts from different authors that were printed through Bound and Copied and the U of C Bookstore. They are designed to work with and without textbooks for classes.
This is good news for many students at the U of C, as course packs are easier to obtain and are less expensive than textbooks.
Many professors used course packs for their classes in the past, but due to copyright laws, they were unable to be printed last year.
In light of the current copyright negotiations between the university and Access Copyright, the university will be handling the copyright for course packs under existing licenses with publishers and authors.
U of C provost and vice-president academic Dru Marshall and the university administration are in the consultation process before making a decision about whether to sign on to the new agreement on the September 30 deadline.
The U of C’s copyright officer Wendy Stephens will be working in conjunction with Bound and Copied to ensure publishers and authors receive credit for the texts printed in course packs.
According to Students’ Union vice-president academic Kenya-Jade Pinto, course packs are generally printed for classes in the departments of law, English, French, Spanish, German, philosophy and religion. They range from $12–60 each at Bound and Copied, cheaper than the packs are at the U of C Bookstore.
Another benefit of course packs is that all proceeds go right back into student services, said Pinto.
“I think that going forward, having Bound and Copied print course packs is nothing but a huge win. Choosing to have course packs as an option, whether it be for a professor or a student, makes sense,” said Pinto. “This service really is for students by students.”
Pinto said student issues were voiced to the copyright committee concerning course packs, and the university then agreed to bring them back. She also said many of the U of C’s peer universities do not have such a strong student voice in the decision making process.
“It’s unique to have a student voice on the copyright committee, and it’s exciting and beneficial to students that undergraduate concerns were considered,” said Pinto. “We’re really happy to be included in these discussions, and to have the provost hear our concerns, especially when access to materials for our classes and affordability for those materials is being considered.”
The university administration will continue to consult students about copyright negotiations to ensure that beneficial resources are available in the future.