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Course Adoptions

Bowdoin contracts with eCampus, which is an online retailer of new, used, and electronic textbooks for sale or rent. Given this arrangement, the College does not stock textbooks on campus. eCampus integrates with Bowdoin’s class schedule and course registration system to provide a virtual storefront for course materials sales. Students have the opportunity to order their course materials from eCampus at, and their purchases are shipped directly to them.

Two Bowdoin staff members serve as liaisons between Bowdoin and eCampus. Kate Wing, Course Materials and Collections Specialist at H-L Library, works with faculty on adopting materials into courses, and Andrea Sehestedt, Assistant Director of The Bowdoin Store, ensures smooth purchasing on the student side.

How do I adopt books into my courses?

Please use the Course Adoption Form.

I am going to ask my students to buy X directly from Y website. Do I need to submit it on a Course Adoption Form?

Yes, please fill out a Course Adoption Form for anything you are asking students to purchase. This ensures that students know the cost of the course materials before the course begins and gives us the opportunity to research how access could be provided if students cannot afford course materials.

When are adoptions due?

Adoptions must be visible to students when the public schedule is posted on Monday, April 3, so they are due on Monday, March 27, 2023.

Why is the course adoption deadline so early?

The course adoption deadline is guided by federal law. 

The Higher Education Opportunity Act (HEOA) was passed in 2008. It is an updated version of the Higher Education Act of 1965. Section 112, the “textbook provision,” requires institutions to provide students with the ISBN number and cost for all course materials at the time of Registration. At Bowdoin, registration occurs in the middle of the previous semester.

Why is it important for Bowdoin students to know what textbooks will cost?

Textbooks are grouped with other indirect costs like toiletries, laundry, and travel in the Cost of Attendance. In the context of financial aid packages at Bowdoin, these expenses are generally paid by a student and/or their family as part of their expected contribution. Students are expected to arrive on campus with a plan to pay for indirect expenses. This plan may include receiving money from family for school expenses, working a summer job, working on campus, or requesting additional assistance.

I am designing a new course, can I have an extension?

Yes, the HEOA accommodates the design of new courses. Any items you know you will be using can be adopted by the deadline, with additions later on. It is important to submit your adoptions as soon as possible so eCampus has time to source the books and students can see how much the materials will cost.

Our department will have visiting faculty and they won’t be hired until after the deadline, what do we do?

If the department knows what text will be used, the department can adopt the text into the course before the visiting faculty member arrives. If not, the visiting faculty member can adopt course materials as soon as possible after arriving on campus. Given the tight timeline, the new faculty member should post the first two weeks of readings on Canvas.

I am teaching a fall FYS and the students don’t register until they arrive on campus. Can I turn in my adoptions then?

Although first-year students do not register until they arrive on campus, they still have public access to Classfinder and can shop for courses over the summer. In addition, on-time adoption helps ensure that eCampus will have the books ready to ship as soon as students are ready to place their orders.

To support late enrollees and mitigate textbook sourcing issues, faculty are encouraged to post the first two weeks of readings on Canvas or through the Library’s e-reserve system.

When can I check to see if the correct books were adopted for my courses?

If you adopt by March 27, you will be able to see your books when the public schedule is posted to Classfinder on April 3. If you adopt after after that date, your books will not be visible until eCampus sources them. 

How can I see the books I adopted?

Visit Classfinder. Click on the class and then on “Order Books”.

How can I obtain desk/exam copies?

Email Kate Wing at to request a desk copy. Please request desk copies prior to June 1. Desk copies take 4-6 weeks and are sent at the discretion of the publisher.

Requesting a desk copy didn’t work and I need a physical copy of the book I’m going to use for my class. How can I get one?

Your ADC will purchase the book for you with department funds. Please contact them with the information about the book and ask that they order you a copy to teach with.

The library owns the book I’m going to teach with–can’t I just use that copy?

You are welcome to use the library’s collection to decide on materials for your course, but library copies of books that you ask students to purchase must be returned to the library before the semester begins. Library copies of course adoptions materials are placed on two hour reserve as an access point for students. If you need a copy to teach with, please request a desk copy or ask your ADC to order a copy with department funds.

Do I need to place my adopted books on Reserve at the Library?

No, you do not. The Library automatically pulls from the existing collection or purchases all books that are adopted for student purchase, whether required, recommended or optional, and places them on Reserve. In addition to a physical copy, ebook licenses are purchased when possible, though please be aware that ebooks often have restrictions on the number of users, printing, and downloading. If you have checked out the library’s copy, please be aware that it will be recalled for reserve before the semester begins.

If the Library owns an ebook of my course adoption, should I put the link on Canvas for my students to access?

It is important to know what kind of license the library has for the ebook before depending on it as the primary access point for your students. With 1-User and 3-User licenses, only that number of students can use the book simultaneously, and they must remember to close out of it to release it to another user. Please contact Kate Wing at, or your Research Liaison, to inquire about licenses for items you are interested in assigning as course adoptions or as readings.