The Student Government Association furthered their efforts to tackle textbook policies Wednesday when they passed new legislation.
One bill and one resolution were passed to mandate that professors have all required class materials on campus. Specifically, the legislation, which must be approved by administration, was to encourage professors to use an electronic medium "to assign homework, essay questions, quizzes and tests" that is included in student fees.
"Our student fees are already paying for WebCT. We believe that professors should be able to utilize it more," At-Large Graduate Sen. Van Hua said.
SGA Honors College Sen. Jonas Chin said the main focus of the University bill is to alleviate concerns students have regarding required course materials.
By using online portals such as WebCT and CASA, students won’t have to pay for third-party Web sites, Hua said. This fall, UH has 1,380 sections using 1,097 WebCT course shells, Hua said, citing information from WebCT figures.
Hua said that some professors don’t use the site because they question its capabilities, but that WebCT might be able to handle the same load as other third-party Web sites.
"The main difference between these programs is that WebCT does not provide content for a particular discipline," Hua said, meaning that WebCT cannot focus in on one particular aspect of a subject.
The University bill also mandates that professors must have all required class materials "available in at least one on campus location."
The resolution also encourages professors to refrain from using "shrink-wrapped, customized" books and to work with the UH Bookstore to keep track of book-order deadlines.
"Once textbook orders are turned in late or not on time, the buy-back value of the book depreciates," College of Natural Science and Mathematics Sen. Mary Elhardt said. "On-time, book-order adoptions allow the UH Bookstore to prepare to buy more books back, giving the student up to 50 percent of what the book is worth."
The textbook bill and resolution are now being passed onto the administration.
"I’m sure there are a lot of questions still," Chin said, "and I hope to answer those questions soon, but let me tell you right now the answer is going to be ‘yes we can.’
After some discussion, SGA members decided to reinstate Former At-Large Undergraduate Sen. Kurt Schoeffler even though he missed two consecutive meetings.
SGA Director of Finance Kelli Harper did not attend the meeting. Senators Stephen Quezada, Dona Suttajit, Zadia Murphy, Rey Rodriguez, Bethany Johns and Vanessa Hall also did not attend.