Friday, December 05, 2008

This test for rent 

I somehow had missed this story, but one of my colleagues sent it to me today.
Tom Farber gives a lot of tests. He's a calculus teacher, after all.

So when administrators at Rancho Bernardo, his suburban San Diego high school, announced the district was cutting spending on supplies by nearly a third, Farber had a problem. At 3 cents a page, his tests would cost more than $500 a year. His copying budget: $316. But he wanted to give students enough practice for the big tests they'll face in the spring, such as the Advanced Placement exam.

"Tough times call for tough actions," he says. So he started selling ads on his test papers: $10 for a quiz, $20 for a chapter test, $30 for a semester final.

San Diego magazine and The San Diego Union-Tribune featured his plan just before Thanksgiving, and Farber came home from a few days out of town to 75 e-mail requests for ads. So far, he has collected $350. His semester final is sold out.

I have been working up some short podcast tutorials for my students in forecasting (getting these ready for spring semester.) Right now, I have to do my recording at home on equipment I own. The university has some equipment, but you might have heard we have budget cutbacks coming down the pipe (more on this in another post later today.) I play lots of radio podcasts, and one model is for media outlets to tag those podcasts with ads (I am renaming Hugh's advertiser, because I'm learning to barf rather than do math -- four reads for them in a 35 minutes cast is too much.) Should universities use educational podcasts to raise revenue? Who gets the money -- the university, the department, or the faculty member?