I am taking a course in a may-not-be-top-but-still-decent university located in North America. The course lecturer forces us to pay for an online learning kit from Pearson by adopting all the graded quizzes provided in that learning kit.
That is, if one refuses to pay for the learning kit, he or she will have no access to all the quizzes, which in total constitute 20% of the final grade of that course. Moreover, all the text completion questions are basically exactly the same sentences copied from the eBook. Therefore, if you simply pay for the learning kit (~$50), then you will have a hard time doing the quiz as compared of those who buy the combo including the eBook (~$90).
In summary, if
- you pay ~$90, during every quiz, simply do CTRL+F, you can always find the exact sentence in the eBook, and hence you can get nearly full marks.
- you pay ~$50, you can access the quizzes, but you may have to search somewhere else and spend more time on the quizzes.
- If you pay nothing, the 20% marks are gone.
I, as a victim who unwillingly paid $90, find it irritating and unethical, as I feel this is some sort of a coalition between the lecturer and the publisher. I understand that some lecturers do have recommended textbooks as well, but they are not mandatory! That is, if I can learn that course well by other books, I am free to do that. If I didn't buy the book and hence screwed the course up, that is my own responsibility. I cannot blame any one for that. But this lecturer's deed actually bans the students who do not pay for the learning kit from the quizzes.
Is this ethical? Wait, is it even legal? How may I fight for our rights as students on this issue?