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Providing Textbook Information

Students need as much information as possible in order to plan their course selections, to assess the potential workload of their upcoming semester and to plan for the costs associated with each course.

Therefore, instructors are asked to provide clear information regarding the texts that are required for their courses in the following ways:

  • All required texts should be listed for each course before early registration for courses begins in November or April. Faculty can make this list of texts public by inputting individual ISBNs into the “Textbooks” section of the course’s Courseworks site.

    • Please note that this information is required by Federal law.

    • This information will also feed into Vergil, so that students have multiple ways to access the information as they make their course selections.

  • It is also an expectation of the Committee on Instruction that the syllabus for any course should clearly note all texts and other materials that are required for the course.

Guidance from the Office of the Provost

“It is important that you enter textbook information into CourseWorks for every course you teach, in time to help students choose the courses for which they will register. Please submit textbook information for your Spring semester courses as soon as possible. ...

As you will recall, Federal law requires that the University provide students with information on the textbooks their instructors expect or recommend that they purchase. The information must be posted online in time to help students choose the courses for which they will register. You should use the tool that has been created within CourseWorks to meet these requirements. To access that tool, simply log into CourseWorks at: http://courseworks.columbia.edu. The “Textbooks” tool can be seen as a tab on the left-hand panel within each course website.

It is important that you enter textbook information into CourseWorks for every course you teach. One of the features of the tool is a box you can check off if you do not require or recommend that students purchase any textbooks for a course. Using that feature fulfills our obligation to inform students of the books expected or recommended for purchase if they do enroll in the course.”

Read more from the Office of the Provost

Applicable Federal Law

The Higher Education Opportunity Act (PUBLIC LAW 110–315—AUG. 14, 2008, Section 133, subsection (d)) requires the following:

“(d) PROVISION OF ISBN COLLEGE TEXTBOOK INFORMATION IN COURSE SCHEDULES.—To the maximum extent practicable, each institution of higher education receiving Federal financial assistance shall—

(1) disclose, on the institution’s Internet course schedule and in a manner of the institution’s choosing, the International Standard Book Number and retail price information of required and recommended college textbooks and supplemental materials for each course listed in the institution’s course schedule used for preregistration and registration purposes, except that—

(A) if the International Standard Book Number is not available for such college textbook or supplemental material, then the institution shall include in the Internet course schedule the author, title, publisher, and copyright date for such college textbook or supplemental material; and

(B) if the institution determines that the disclosure of the information described in this subsection is not practicable for a college textbook or supplemental material, then the institution shall so indicate by placing the designation ‘To Be Determined’ in lieu of the information required under this subsection; and

(2) if applicable, include on the institution’s written course schedule a notice that textbook information is available on the institution’s Internet course schedule, and the Internet address for such schedule.”