Physical to Digital

Students weigh in on the use of Canvas versus traditional textbooks

With online tools such as Canvas, students are opting out of not purchasing textbooks.

Christopher Lazaro , Staff Reporter

College textbooks can get pretty expensive. Students spend hundreds of dollars on textbooks with little return on buyback. 

According to a 2018 – 2019 survey from, students in public colleges spend on average $1,240 on textbooks and supplies.

With students trying to find a cost effective alternative to buying textbooks, most have turned to finding a PDF version online, buying used books from other students or renting. 

Professors are also searching for ways to aid their students. As of May 2019,  professors were forced to switch to using Canvas, rather than Moodle or Blackboard. Some utilize Canvas to post books and reading material in PDF form for their students to access with ease, and more importantly, to access for free.

Emily Aguilar, a fourth-year TVF student, thinks that it’s a better alternative. “I think professors should use Canvas for reading through your phone or computer because you are saving money. It’s not like every class you have to read the entire book,” said Aguilar.

She claims her spending on textbooks has lessened as she said she only spends “approximately $300 per year” on her class textbooks.

Melanie Calamonici, a fifth-year biology student, also liked the turn to Canvas. “I think professors should use Canvas for reading material. It sure saves a lot of money and also the stress of looking for that book if it’s sold out at the bookstore or online.” 

Even though students love the idea of professors using Canvas to post reading material, some students think its only good if it benefits the class. 

Daniel Madrigal, a Computer Information Science major, thinks that it is only good in certain situations. 

“It depends. If the reading material on Canvas aids in effectively teaching a course, then, they should,” he said.  

Madrigal added that his purchasing of books has lessened because of better alternatives. “Definitely most of the time it’s a PDF. The professor just provides it or I utilize the school’s database to find it.”

With professors coming to realize that students are finding other ways of obtaining reading material, they are giving another choice in the matter.