Teaching Policies & Resources — Textbooks and Materials

Textbook ordering
Textbook royalties
Course packs
Copyright law
Prohibition on direct sale of classroom materials
Purchased lecture notes

Textbook Ordering

Instructors must order textbooks well in advance of the approaching semester. The University Book Store has a helpful site where faculty can order books and arrange for course packs.

Federal legislation requires all institutions of higher education to list ISBN numbers and prices for required and recommended texts and supplemental materials for each offered course whenever feasible.

Compliance is tied to students’ access to federal financial aid and thus is crucial. Course books must be selected and added to MyUI at least six weeks before the semester begins and if possible before early registration for the next semester. For more information, please discuss this matter with a departmental administrator.

A timely decision about what book and materials to use in a course has many benefits. For example, prompt ordering of texts ensures that students with disabilities can obtain their textbooks in time to arrange accommodations; it enables students to sell textbooks at the end of the semester and thus helps ensure a supply of used textbooks at lower prices; and it allows time for changes to be made if a book is out of print.

Textbook Royalties

Faculty members who assign books or other materials which they have written, edited, or published and from which they receive royalties or other remuneration may not profit financially from the purchase of these materials by their students (Operations Manual, III-17.17(3)). The faculty member must either refund the money to the students who purchased these materials or make other arrangements to avoid profiting from the students' use of the materials. Faculty may, for example, transfer the remuneration to the University, one of its units, or The University of Iowa Foundation (e.g., for a student scholarship fund).

In the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, when a colleague requires or recommends another faculty member’s textbook the policy extends to use of the materials in courses within the Department. Royalties from these sales must be handled as described in the UI policy above, just as are royalties from sales to students in the faculty member’s own courses.

The College asks that sales information on which the transfer of royalties is based come from the publisher and not from local bookstores.

Course Packs

The University Book Store will help instructors obtain copyright permissions for course packs prepared by the store. Materials should be prepared as early as possible to allow time for permissions to be obtained (a process which may take up to two months) and to make arrangements for substitute materials if permission is not granted.

The University Printing and Mailing Services can also help with the creation of course packs and other materials.

Copyright Law

When preparing course materials, instructors must take precautions to prevent a violation of an author's or publisher's copyright. Both published and unpublished works, whether printed or distributed by electronic means (e.g., over the internet or by e-mail), are protected under the Copyright Act of 1976. Instructors developing course materials to be distributed via a course web site or other electronic medium (e.g., CD-ROM or other storage medium) must also comply with copyright provisions. Copyright registration is not required for a work to be protected, nor is it necessary to sell the material in order to commit copyright infringement.

The University Libraries has a useful page with information and links on copyright and fair use. Exceptions for fair use of copyright materials are set forth in the Copyright Act of 1976. In all other cases, instructors must obtain permission from the owner of the copyright before copying or distributing materials.

Educational use by itself does not protect the user from copyright infringement. When in doubt, instructors should request permission from the owner of the copyright by contacting the publisher. Requests should be made as early as possible to allow time to make arrangements for substitute materials if permission is not granted.

Questions about copyright law should be directed to the Office of the Vice President for Research & Economic Development (2660 University Capitol Center, 335-2742).

Prohibition on Direct Sale of Classroom Materials

University policy prohibits "the sale of any classroom educational materials to students by faculty, staff, or departments" (Operations Manual, VI-19). This policy is not intended to restrict course development or to impede course instruction. However, it does preclude faculty and staff from selling course packs or other course materials directly to students or collecting fees or other course fees directly from students. All course fees must be approved by the College and University and collected through the University billing system (see Course Fees and Field Trips for more information).

Purchased Lecture Notes

The College's Undergraduate Educational Policy and Curriculum Committee has adopted the following statement on the educational value of using lecture notes purchased from private services:

"It is educationally unsound for students to use purchased lecture notes as a substitute for regular attendance at lectures, discussion sections, and laboratories or as a substitute for the experience of learning to take complete and accurate notes. Moreover, purchased lecture notes cannot capture an instructor's emphasis and enthusiasm, nor can they portray the full value of visual materials."

"The completeness and accuracy of purchased lecture notes are not guaranteed. Students who rely on these notes run the risk of working with incomplete and incorrect information. Students also should be aware that lecture notes purchased from private note-taking services are not authorized by the professor teaching the course."

Any non-registered individuals in the classroom should be asked to leave, including those taking notes for private services. University policy states that only those registered for a course may be in attendance (with the exception of one-time visitors whose visits have been authorized by the instructor). Instructors may also inform registered students that they prefer not to have notes on their lectures sold. Questions regarding the unauthorized taking of notes by non-registered individuals may be directed to the Office of the Vice President for Research & Economic Development (2660 University Capitol Center, 335-2742)