Following the conclusion of the first round of midterms at UCSD, university administrators were reportedly surprised to learn that Professor Rico Goldwater’s ECON 180 class no longer held the worst midterm grades at the university. In an official memo, Goldwater credited the improvement solely to the adoption of a new eBook system for the class. The eBook in question reportedly costs $999.99 and is only accessible through an online service for which students must purchase a $249.99 four-month subscription. According to students, Goldwater apologized for the steep costs but insisted that “this is the price of education.”
Goldwater’s memo outlines the impetus for the book change, starting with a realization of the “burden” which textbooks represented. Goldwater decided to “relieve” this burden by switching from a physical textbook to an eBook of the same textbook. In order to “make the most of the eBook,” Goldwater decided to employ a subscription-based application called GiveMeTheGreen by ORO, which the developer claims is named after the green marks a student will receive in the grade book when they use the application correctly.
When asked why he prefers using GiveMeTheGreen, Goldwater explained that it is “all for the students’ benefit,” and it encourages students to learn the information the first time around. While reading the eBook, the application gives one-chance questions interspersed in the text, so that students cannot skim through the readings. Once a question appears, the screen is locked and Control+F is disabled so that the students’ integrity can be ensured. If there are more than two questions wrong out of the 100 given in a chapter, a fee is charged. The exact amount grows exponentially with each question they get wrong.
Along with quizzes in the homework, questions are asked during the class period for participation points. These in-class quizzes are not a part of the default subscription, but require an extra fee of $49.99 per month. Goldwater clarified that these quizzes are “optional practice for those who want it, since participation is only 15 percent of the grade.”
Sixth-year student Rebecca Groe commented, “I don’t get why he doesn’t just use iClickers. I’ve had one since my first quarter here and never experienced a problem. I have to take this class to be able to graduate this year and it is only offered this quarter. I am trying to avoid having to change my major a seventh time.”
After receiving many emails from students asking about iClickers, Goldwater responded on Monday with an email to the whole class. “What is gonna set my class apart from others if I just used the same system as everyone else? Are you really getting quality education from something that only costs you $52.99? Is it really sending your answer and recording that you did? I don’t think so. Too many people put blind trust in it. The company ORO is family to me and so I know the students can put their trust in us. $1399.95 is a small price to pay to be able to get the ‘A’ you want from me.”
Sophia is a Design Editor at The MQ and yes she goes by her middle name. She has been a part of The MQ since the 2016-17 school year and an editor since 2017. She is a psychology major at UCSD and in her free time she plays french horn in an orchestra and wind ensemble.