Friday, January 30, 2004

Boxes and bookstores ...

Our house is still completely filled with boxes, but now we've got both of our computers set up so it's at least livable. It's probably a good sign you're a geek when your computer is the last large item you pack (we packed it after the bed, dining room table, and entertainment center) and the first item you set up in your new house (we still don't have our TV plugged in or our bed frame assembled). I'll be spending much of my spare time for the next few weeks unpacking ... whee.

Oh, and to prove what a wild and crazy life we lead, we spent our first Friday night together in CA out shopping for floor lamps at IKEA. We found some good cheap ones ($8 each!) and now can actually see at night in our house :)

Our semester starts next week and so I've spent much of today preparing. I'm using a new response system in lecture this semester (more on this at a later date) that requires the students to buy a little transmitter; they'll use these to answer questions in class and get participation points. In order to get a discount on the transmitter I had the publisher bundle the transmitter and textbook, cutting the cost of the transmitter by >50%, but only after getting confirmation that the bookstore could sell the transmitters separately so students could buy used books (or share books, etc.). Considering that the whole point of the publisher doing the bundle is to encourage new book sales, I was happy that they were willing to sell them separately. I wrote multiple memos to the bookstore explaining the details of this setup, and what did I find upon checking the bookstore yesterday? The nice new book/transmitter bundles were in-stock, but there were no individual transmitters or used books.

I talked with the bookstore ordering manager and he said that they didn't want to stock the transmitters because it would encourage students to not buy the new books from the bookstore. I agree with that reasoning somewhat, but they're forgetting that many students share books (e.g. siblings taking the same course), and that other students get hand-me-down books, but every student must have an individual transmitter. And what's wrong with letting students save money by buying used books online? I finally got him to agree that students could come by and special order the transmitter, but he wouldn't even give me a price. Then, today, I got a call saying that for some reason they can't special order the transmitters. I've given them the publisher's information (and e-mailed the publisher), but haven't heard anything back yet. Hopefully we'll get this figured out ... and at least it should be better than the semester they ran out of dissection kits just before our first dissection lab :)

1 comment:

Radagast said...

Importing comments from Haloscan:

The system I'm using is manufactured by EduCue; their website is I'll be posting a summary of the system as I'll be using it soon ... I apologize for not including a link in my last post!
February 1, 2004, 12:11:00 AM PST

PZ Myers
Transmitters? What kind of receiver do you need, and what kind of info do they send?

I'm teaching a big class this term without a lab, and I usually rely on the smaller lab sections to be able to get to know the students. Something to help manage this mob would be useful!

Do you have a link?
January 31, 2004, 6:48:09 AM PST