A recent survey conducted by Akademos on college textbooks and bookstore services revealed a troubling trend — a large percentage of students wait until on or after the first day of class to order course materials.
Student unpreparedness is an issue with far-reaching consequences. Students who begin courses without the required materials invariably end up trying to play catch-up — and the longer they wait to get their books, the farther behind they’re likely to fall - and the worse they’re likely to perform.However, the survey results also uncovered that there’s an actionable way to address this issue — which is good news for colleges and universities.
The data reveals that the main reason students don’t have their course materials on the first day of class is insufficient communication. Most students wait to order course materials because they want to confirm what materials are absolutely necessary (83%) and because they’re just unaware of what’s required (44%).
On the other hand, 79% of these students stated they would purchase their course materials in advance if the professor clearly communicated what’s required and what materials they’re expected to have on the first day of class.
These data points clearly indicate that taking action to improve communication around required materials could have a huge positive impact on student preparedness and ultimately, academic success. Colleges and universities must take a close look at how, what and when they’re communicating course material requirements and take steps to address any shortfalls.
Steps to consider include:
- Implement a course materials communication plan: This plan should outline when and how course materials should be communicated to students as well as how compliance will be enforced.
- Set standards for course-related information: Institutions should consider setting standards for course descriptions, syllabi and other course-related information to ensure they clearly state what materials are required and what students must have on the first day of class.
To learn more about the role communication plays in student preparedness and review the full results of our 2016 College and University Student Survey on Course Material Purchasing and Bookstore Services.