Author Mark Ciampa Reflects on Cengage Unlimited

PIcture of a student who is uncertain
Cengage Unlimited
Reading Time: 2 minutes

As a long-time author for Cengage for over 20 years and an instructor in higher education for over 35 years, I am very excited about Cengage Unlimited. In fact, it is perhaps one of the most dramatic steps in education in recent memory.  I believe that it can significantly increase learning and relieve frustration in both students and faculty.

Delaying Textbook Purchases

For several years virtually all textbook authors and instructors, across all disciplines and all publishers, have seen the same phenomena: fewer students are purchasing textbooks and related materials for their classes. The reason usually given is that of the high cost of books and materials. This has resulted in students struggling through classes without what they need to be successful.

I have often witnessed students who sacrifice earning a good grade in a class because they are not able to purchase a required textbook. And many students who do purchase textbooks, often will delay the process until several weeks into the semester just to be certain that the materials are actually needed and will be used. Adding on the additional time it takes for the student to find the lowest priced book, order it and have it shipped can result in several weeks before the majority of students have their materials in hand. And this is often despite pleas by instructors to secure these materials as soon as the class starts.

If students lack these materials it is extremely difficult for an instructor to gain the necessary speed quickly enough to cover all the course material. It then becomes a frustrating learning experience overall for both students and instructors.

Affordable Materials—When Students Need Them

Cengage Unlimited directly addresses these problems. First, it makes it more affordable for students to have the materials that they need at a very reasonable cost. Second, instruction can begin at the start of the semester by giving students access to digital content immediately instead of waiting for books to be ordered and shipped.

From a strictly authoring perspective, all authors with whom I have spoken have witnessed a decline—sometimes a sharp decline—in royalties over the past several years. Once again, the cause is students not purchasing the required books and materials for a class. Cengage Unlimited addresses this issue in an affordable way for students that will produce a more consistent royalty stream for authors, which in turn gives authors a better opportunity to continue their work in authoring.

Cengage Unlimited is just what students and authors need!

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