Student leadership speaks in panel on university improvements

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At the "Affordable Learning $ucess" seminar, the student discussion panel (from left to right: Tyler Karp, Denise Belmontes, Cassidy Jimenez and Aaron Goldenberg) are asked questions by discussion leader Lindsay Brown in the Oviatt Library on Oct. 22. Photo credit: Hanna Von Matern

Zack Rome

An “Affordable Learning $uccess” seminar, which included professors and students engaging in a student panel discussion about ways to make the college experience easier, was hosted by the Oviatt Library in the Jack & Florence Ferman Presentation Room Monday morning.

The panel included four students. These students were Aaron Goldenberg, a senior political science major and the Attorney General for Associated Students, and Cassidy Jimenez, a sophomore and a senator for Associated Students.

Joining them was Denise Belmontes, who finished her undergraduate work at CSUN and is now in the graduate program, along with Tyler Karp, a deaf studies major.

The moderator of the event, Lindsay Brown, music and media librarian, had pre-written questions on cards that she shared with the participants over the course of the discussion.

The main topic of the discussion was textbooks and how they can serve as effective tools to better understand the course material. The first question asked by Brown was, “Imagine you can design a dream textbook, what would the ideal textbook look like?”

“Professors make us buy more than one textbook and a lot of the times we don’t use all of them, so a singular condensed book is probably the best option,” Jimenez said.

One of the other questions had to deal with the change in learning from online textbooks in classes versus buying a physical copy, and price factors as well.

“I’m taking a statistics class and the whole course is online, sometimes it is kind of hard to keep up with the material because it is online and there isn’t a set time and day,” said Belmontes. “People neglect their work.”

“All my readings are online through Canvas, and at first it was a bit challenging, but after a while it was very easy to access all the articles I needed,” Karp added.

Goldenberg thought that textbooks for each class depend on the situation.

“I think that each textbook teaches each student differently,” he said. “Price doesn’t matter as much as substance. The person that could teach me the most is a professor, the price of the textbook doesn’t determine your educational level. It is the quality of professor that determines your educational level.”

The discussion featured other talking points such as areas where the university can improve upon, as well as the buy-back program and reserves in the library.

Brown voiced her pleasure with the event as a whole.

“I think it went pretty well,” she said. “The students that we had on the panel were incredible, and we were really grateful that they participated. I think it was helpful for faculty and librarians to hear from real students and how they interact with textbooks and why we should keep the cost down.”

Goldenberg also enjoyed his interactions with the faculty outside of a classroom setting.

“The event was very helpful,” he said. “I think that professors should converse with students as much as they can, and this event allowed student leadership to come and voice what they had to say. Other professors and faculty members were understanding and open on how they can become better with us.”

Julian Torres, a freshman at CSUN who hasn’t declared a major yet, dropped in on the event not expecting anything, but came out with a different outlook on the campus.

“As a freshman I am a little shocked to see how much is actually going on in campus and to see that students and faculty are having an open discussion on things,” said Torres. “The event made me want to get involved on campus more than I am.”

Editor’s Note: Oct. 29, Tyler Karp’s major was corrected.