The Worst Purchase: Non-mandatory online access code

Photo by Chris Ho/The Peak

Written by: Sakina Nazarali, SFU Student

Right after one of my business lectures, I knew I needed my textbook fast. To help with costs, the professor mentioned we could buy an earlier edition of the book if needed, and that a copy with an online access code was not required.

To go the extra mile, though, I paid an extra $40 to obtain the online access code anyway. These codes are usually advertised to assess your progress on material within the textbook. What I expected was several quizzes, tests and resources for doing better on your exams and to help you better understand the content.

At the time, I thought this would be a worthwhile tool to have. But I can confidently tell you not to bother with buying books and tools that your professor doesn’t require you to read.

The other thing I didn’t realize was that this online resource is usually meant more as a tool for the teacher, rather than the student. To use this access code, my professor needed to make a class for that course through which you will be able to access the material. In my case, I had to request that the professor make a class, since so few other students bought or wanted to use this online code. If your professor is unwilling to create the class online, your purchase has gone down the drain.

But even after going that extra mile to get the online tools working, it was clear how unnecessary online resources like this are. Practicing multiple-choice questions online that are nothing like the ones that are on your exam (which, by the way, is quantitative) is a poor use of your time when you already have reading and assignments to help you learn with. Plus, because of the lengthiness of the online assignments, it’s also difficult to justify that extra study time for something that may not be helpful.

My advice: only purchase it if you are asked to, because your professor probably knows exactly what they are doing when they list something as non-required.