UX Cookbook recipe
Code for visualizations
GitHub - rileykzuckert/uarizona-materials-costs-talkbackboard: Visualizations of how much UArizona students spent on course materials for Fall 2021
Universities are notorious for charging students large amounts of money to purchase necessary supplies for school, such as textbooks and homework access codes, on top of the already monumental costs students owe for their enrollment. Student success is the vision for colleges, but does the sheer amount of money students must pay to obtain an education and associated materials hinder their ability to flourish? With so many of those enrolled already facing financial constraints, it is a possibility that by reducing the dependency for student achievement on expensive materials, students will prosper at higher rates. To understand the root of the problem, we analyzed the amount of money University of Arizona students pay to acquire their textbooks and homework codes in a semester through a talk back board.
Posing with the set up talk back board.
Checking in on the talk back board progress.
We created both a physical and a virtual talk back board in Main Library and on Google Forms, respectively.
Riley set up the physical board on September 13, 2021, and monitored the board daily, removing it after two weeks. A Tiny Café was also hosted on September 17 to chat with students about costs per their majors and to reintroduce Tiny Café's to the Main Library after the hiatus during COVID-19 lockdown.
Meanwhile, Lauren created the virtual board and emailed it out to the UX@UA participant pool, as well as messaging it to the UX@UA and UX Team Slack channels on September 13, 2021. It was monitored by both her and Riley for the duration of two weeks.
Talking with a participant during Tiny Café.
Helping a participant fill out the talk back board during Tiny Café.
The prompts were: "How much did you spend on textbooks this semester?" and "How much did you spend on homework access codes this semester?"
The board was replicated from a fellow university library, modifying their template to feature the prices of materials on a shared y-axis, where students then added their vote to each of the price range categories on the associated x-axis. This design differed from the prototype due to board size constraints and concerns on accessibility for students writing on the board.
Cheryl Casey, UArizona's Open Education Librarian who is responsible for open educational resources for students also estimated the price range categories for UArizona students, ranging from $0 to over $800.
Low-fidelity prototype of the talk back board using Canva.
The virtual board was conducted through Google Forms and was titled, "How much did you spend on textbooks this semester?"
The survey asked participants five main questions: 1) What best describes you?, 2) How much did you spend on textbooks this Fall 2021 semester?, 3) Anything else you want to share about textbooks?, 4) How much did you spend on homework access codes this Fall 2021 semester?, 5) Anything else you want to share about access codes?
This survey imitated the virtual board as the y-axis was broken down by material (textbooks and homework access codes) and allowed participants to select the price category they fell in. The ability to write on the sticky notes was mimicked by requesting that participants share their additional feelings on each of the materials.
A preview of the survey questions.
The concluded physical board with 308 dots and 22 sticky notes with 2 up-votes.
Posts from participants displaying their disdain for textbook and homework access costs.
Data collected from 20 virtual talk back board responses
N = 190
Homework access code costs:
N = 158
N = 308
Homework access codes costs:
N = 20
Homework access code costs:
The collected data was presented to Cheryl Casey, UArizona's Open Education Librarian, a stakeholder in the talk back board looking to promote open educational resources to instructors and students.
Cheryl Casey will also be sharing the data collected with the UArizona Bookstore as part of our ongoing efforts to reduce costs to students.
It is of interest to dive deeper into this prompt, discovering which majors or colleges at UArizona contribute to the highest required textbook and homework materials costs. From preliminary interviews during the Tiny Café, it appears that physics is an extremely costly major, as well as courses for students who remain undecided, which is a typical feature of lower year students.
An interesting prediction may be that students in lower years (freshmen and sophomores) pay higher amounts for textbook and homework costs than students in upper years (juniors and seniors) of the undergraduate degree program.
To continue researching some of the lasting questions, along with new in-depth questions about specific student textbook buying experiences, student interviews will be conducted Oct. 25 - Oct. 29. 15-minute interview sessions will be virtually hosted by Riley and Lauren.