The college student tradition of sharing or selling used textbooks could come to a screeching halt based on a professor's new patent. That patent would require students to buy access codes with their textbooks to join in mandatory online discussion boards — and failure to participate would mean lower grades.More from Slate:
On June 5, Joseph Henry Vogel, an economics professor at the University of Puerto Rico-Rio Piedras, was granted U.S. Patent No. 8195571, which proposes a Web-based system to make it easier for publishers to make students pay. The system is based around an online discussion board—one that students would be required to participate in. To get access to the board, you would need to use a code provided in the course’s associated textbook. The budget-conscious could still take advantage of used-books stores—but they’d also have to purchase a (discounted) code.So in addition to being teachers, graders, service workhorses, entertainers, inspirers, and straw men with supposedly fabulous salaries for politicians to beat up, professors have to become unpaid enforcers for the big textbook companies? Are you ready to say"No code? No grade for you!"?