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Lecturer criticized for making students purchase his book, follow him on social media for extra credit

Last Updated Jan 15, 2020 at 10:42 pm EST

Mitchell Huynh, a University of Toronto Mississauga sessional lecturer has come under fire for making students purchase his book and follow him on LinkedIn. TWITTER/@MitchellHuynh

A lecturer at University of Toronto Mississauga is being criticized for asking students to buy his book and connect with him on social media in order to earn participation credits in his class.

Sessional lecturer Mitchell Huynh is offering students an extra five per cent on their final grade if they purchase his book, “Dumb Money: From a working person to the wealthy person,” get it signed by him and follow him on LinkedIn.

Huynh has been teaching the course “Introduction to Personal Finance” for the last three years and has been asking students to follow him on social media for the last two. This year is the first that they have had to purchase his book.

His book is actually the only required reading for the course. He told 680 NEWS he has considered giving it away for free, however he said “when we receive something for free, it doesn’t impart any value to the people receiving it.”

“Student need to engage and to get used to the course material and have that on hand for whenever they need it. So they have access to myself, my network through social media … as well as my teachings through my content,” said Huynh. “The book is to provide them with a resource, just in case I’m not there to mentor and guide them.”

He said his book is much cheaper compared to a regular textbook that students purchase for courses. It’s available on Amazon to purchase for up to $28.

Not many people were happy with the requirement, but Huynh said none of the critics of this policy are his students, past or present. “I don’t really take them to much into account because I’m really here to teach and provide value to my students.”

However, the news has garnered enough attention that Huynh said the school contacted him about exploring different options for students to receive participation marks.

As for the money he’s made from his book sales from this semester, Huynh said he will be donating the money to wildfire relief efforts in Australia.

When asked for comment, U of T said they couldn’t discuss any specific case because of personal privacy, but reiterated the university’s grading policy which states “grades are a measure of the performance of a student. They are an indication of the student’s command of the content of the components of the academic program.”