Coursepacks v. Electronic Reserves

As the summer session closes and the fall semester gears up, I have a minor dilemma to solve. For the grad course I’m teaching, I’m trying to decide between a coursepack and the electronic reserve system through the EMU library.

A bit about each (at least how it works at EMU), with advantages and disadvantages:

Advantages of the coursepack:

* I drop off what I want included in the coursepack with one of the various companies in town that do this, and boom!, I’m done. In other words, I have virtually no leg-work on my part.

* Students show up to class with a “hard copy” of the reading.

Disadvantages of the coursepack:

* They cost too much money for students who are already (in general) paying too much money for things across the board.

* I have to have my “act” together in order to put together the coursepack– in other words, if I don’t have something ready well before the semester starts, it can’t be included.

Advantages of Electronic Reserve:

* It’s free to students– all they have to do is access the web site.

* I can do it on the “fly,” meaning that I don’t have to have all of the readings decided in advance (and this could be the “make or break” deal for the class I’m teaching this fall, I might add…).

Disadvantage of Electronic Reserve:

* I have to do more work by converting files into PDFs to be accessed by students (kind of a time-consuming pain).

* Students won’t automatically print the documents off, which lowers the chance that they will actually read the articles.

I don’t know which I’m going to pick. Any thoughts, especially from students (past or present) at EMU?

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