USG resolution provides academic materials, guidance to students

Undergraduate+Student+Government+will+offer+blue+books+free+of+charge+for+students+during+the+fall+%E2%80%9817+and+spring+%E2%80%9818+final+exam+periods.+
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USG resolution provides academic materials, guidance to students

Undergraduate Student Government will offer blue books free of charge for students during the fall ‘17 and spring ‘18 final exam periods.

Undergraduate Student Government will offer blue books free of charge for students during the fall ‘17 and spring ‘18 final exam periods.

Ella Helmuth

Undergraduate Student Government will offer blue books free of charge for students during the fall ‘17 and spring ‘18 final exam periods.

Ella Helmuth

Ella Helmuth

Undergraduate Student Government will offer blue books free of charge for students during the fall ‘17 and spring ‘18 final exam periods.

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Tulane Undergraduate Student Government recently passed new legislation to help students improve their academic performance. The legislation formed a task force for a new textbook library, created a resolution to begin work on a database of filmed lectures for certain classes and authorized the distribution of free blue books at various locations around campus during finals.

The textbook library will allow Tulane students and faculty to access a range of textbooks free of charge. It will be located near the learning commons on the first floor of Howard-Tilton Memorial Library. Students will not be allowed to check the books out of the library but will be able to make photocopies or read the textbooks in the library.

Michael Morton, USG vice president of academic affairs, believes the textbook library will help take financial strain off of students.

“The library textbook drive was started to give students more accessibility to textbooks without having to pay for some of them, especially since certain classes might only require one or two readings from a book that costs a significant amount of money,” Morton said.

USG senate members originally approved the textbook library two years ago. At the last senate meeting, the approved resolution created a task force consisting of faculty and staff and two USG senators who will organize the books and set up the textbook library. The textbook library is accepting textbook donations and will likely be opened later this semester.

The legislation lays the groundwork for the task force to begin creating a database of filmed lectures to showcase particular courses. Each video will consist of a 10-15 minute edited version of a lecture followed by a short Q & A with the professor about the class.

Shahmeer Hashmat, USG School of Science and Engineering senator, believes the video series will help students better plan their academic careers.

“It’s like sitting in on the first day of class to see whether you’d like it, but condensed and with an actual discussion with the professor on what the class is like so that students can get an idea of what they’re signing up for instead of just reading a short description on the registrar’s website,” Hashmat said.

According to Hashmat, the video series will also benefit prospective students.

“We want to make sure [prospective students] understand what the lecture environment is like at Tulane and that they know that this is what they want when they come here,” Hashmat said.

USG members are in the process of organizing a trial video, and the Academic Affairs Committee has already reached out to 10 professors about participating in the series. According to Hashmat, the videos will eventually be placed on a website attached to the Academic Affairs Committee page. Additionally, departments may want to use the videos on their own websites or YouTube channels for promotional purposes.

Involved members of USG also codified USG’s initiative to place free blue books around campus for students. Last year, USG facilitated the process of placing blue books at the library, Newcomb Hall and the PJ’s on Willow. The initiative was a success, and USG plans to offer free blue books to students during the fall 2017 and spring 2018 final exam periods.

Morton said he has high hopes for these initiatives.

“My hope is that these three initiatives can simplify the academic lives of our students,” Morton said. “Everyone is very busy and has several different responsibilities, so if USG can help by providing a blue book, helping someone save money on textbooks or making a decision to take a class a little easier, then [I] feel like we have accomplished something.”