OPINION: Blue books are a waste of students’ money

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Tuition and fees are on the rise in most college campuses, Kansas State included. Students have to pay hundreds of dollars a year for textbooks on top of paying for housing and food. The biggest joke of an expense I have encountered so far in my three years of college is one thing: Blue Books.

Well, Blue Books and other exam-taking materials, like Scantron answer sheets.

At 45 cents per book at the Union Bookstore, one would think there was something special about Blue Books. There is not. It is 45 cents for four sheets of regular notebook paper that every student already has, except it comes with a pretty blue cover.

I fail to see how the cover of Blue Books makes them any more ideal when taking exams, though 45 cents is not a lot. There are lines where a student can write his or her name, class, instructor’s names, etc., all of which can be written on ordinary notebook paper. If an instructor has a preference to what should be included for the sake of uniformity and organization, tell the students.

Students already have notebooks full of paper. Just ask them to have a few pages stapled together with their name and other necessary information in a specific corner.

Or just issue the exams online through Canvas, as that seems to be the direction education is going anyways.

According to “Online tests to replace paper exams within a decade,” by Judith Burns, paper exams will soon be a thing of the past. Many professors have embraced technological advances in the classrooms. Online can make grading more efficient, especially with multiple choice exams, and easier to keep track of. I would imagine it would even solve the problem of deciphering some students’ handwriting.

The only downside to online exams is not every student has a laptop. According to Advanced Micro Devices Inc.’s back-to-school survey in 2014, 85 percent of college age people have laptops. Having online-only exams would make sense for them, but not for the other 15 percent who then have to find a computer. Good luck finding an open computer in Hale during midterms.

I am glad most classes I have taken haven’t depended on these fancy blue covers. The only thing Blue Books and Scantrons are good for is causing stress for students who may not have time to wait in line to buy them at the Union Bookstore.

Kelsey Kendall is a junior in journalism and cultural anthropology. The views and opinions expressed in this column are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of the Collegian. Please send comments to opinion@kstatecollegian.com.

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Kelsey Kendall
Hi everyone! I'm a junior in journalism and cultural anthropology. I'm pretty excited to be the Collegian feature editor this semester. I hope to someday take the skills I learn here to a major newspaper reporting on international issues.