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Reading : We're only going with free resources

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Dan Garcia
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Reading : We're only going with free resources

We had a CS10 team meeting on monday, and decided we'd only assign reading assignments that are free for students.  Thoughts?
Dan

jody
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Intention good; execution problematic
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I think the intention is great.

The policy that I adopt is similar, but one of preference for no-cost resources, not a prohibition against any resource that involves cost.

The problem I see with adopting this more strict and overriding policy is that it prohibits the use of any reading, no matter how valuable it may be, if there is any fee associated with it... regardless of how small or the relationship between the cost and the value.

My question to an adopter of such a policy is:
How can you a priori guarantee that there is no work whose value warrants violating this prohibition?

I support the concept as part of the desiderata.
I think the principle should be followed to the greatest extent not when it results in detriment to the students it is intended to benefit.
I find it too blind to consequences to support it as a policy requirement.

--Jody

astrachan
Free as in beer
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You say "all student readings". If this means textbooks, that's possibly problematic, though doable.

If it means articles, can you provide an example of something that will cost the student money to read? In my experience, most articles I want for students are available via electronic library journal archives that Duke subscribes to. In fact, these come up automagically when using Google Scholar: get it @ duke the links say, and our library provides the articles. Whenever this is the case, which has been almost always in my experience, I'm covered in terms of copyright in asking students to read the article --- and I can put the article on a course-access-only site by link as well.

The only times I've come up against a pay-for-reading article is stuff archived in the Wall Street Journal. If I can't read without paying, I don't assign it to the students either, but often via a web search the content can be "found". Then I can provide google-instructions to get at it, or I can archive the "found" object, put it behind a course-only website, and live with the face-to-face copyright exception. I wouldn't do that if the article is clearly pay-only, e.g., I wouldn't put up a link to Avatar that I downloaded via BitTorrent or Rapidshare.

Can you provide an example of something worthwhile that's not free as in beer?

owen

Dan Garcia
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It was mostly referring to books
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But also, we discussed reading from e-journals that our Cal students can read but Suzie High Schooler can't.  Given the wealth of free resources out there, we decided to strive to deliver a course that could be copied and legally delivered anywhere in the world for free, yes as in beer.

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