As community college Math professors and Cengage authors, Mark Clark and Cindy Anfinson see firsthand the impact expensive course materials can have on a student’s learning experience. With a shared commitment to helping students access and achieve higher education, Mark and Cindy share their reactions and excitement around Cengage Unlimited, which can help students save money without sacrificing the quality of their education. 


1. As community college Math instructors, what are the biggest challenges that your students face?

The two biggest challenges our students face are time and money. Many students are working one or more jobs, as well as trying to take several classes a semester. They have families that they take care of, as well as many other responsibilities competing for both their time and money. Often, at least one of their classes must be sacrificed in order to survive.


2. Do many students in your courses forgo materials due to cost? If so, what impact does that have on learning outcomes?

Students sometimes have to decide between materials for a course and rent, or other expenses. When they choose to not purchase materials for a course, it puts them behind from the start. Not having complete course materials typically causes them to have to work harder rather than smarter and puts them at a disadvantage. Many students who do not purchase all the materials for a course end up earning a lower grade or have to drop the class altogether.


3. What kind of an impact do you think the transition to digital is having in higher education, and specifically in Mathematics?

The use of courseware, such as WebAssign and MindTap, is giving students access to the materials they need for the class, as well as interactive support when working at home that they cannot get from a textbook alone. Having more feedback on homework and additional resources that support the concepts covered helps students get more out of their time spent outside of class. Students also appreciate the two-week grace period that comes with digital access, so they can get working in the course right away while they are getting their finances together to pay for their materials.


4. As instructors and co-authors for Math textbooks, what was your initial reaction to Cengage Unlimited?

Our first reaction to Cengage Unlimited was that this is a great opportunity for some students to save money. This is a good deal for any student who takes advantage of using Cengage digital products in multiple classes a semester or over the course of a year.


5. What excites you about Cengage Unlimited?

The opportunity it gives our students to save money but still have access to all the materials that they need to be successful in their classes.