difference among editions of Writing Analytically?


I'm an adjunct teaching Freshman Composition in a large program that distributes all content online and does not use coursepacks or textbooks of any kind. In the past, I've used a number of handouts from Rosenwasser and Stephen's Writing Analytically. This semester, I'm thinking of encouraging or even requiring the students to buy a copy of the book online. I found that new copies were literally ten times as much as used copies of past editions: a used copy of an early edition can be had for less than $10, easy. I'd prefer to help students keep their costs down, especially since students in most other sections wouldn't have to buy a book at all. So I got to wondering: does anyone know how much of a difference there is among editions of this book?

More generally, oh ye more experienced composition instructors: is it a good idea to go a little rogue and assign an actual textbook? Am I wrong to think that having a hard copy of a text might help these kids stay organized? I think that I, myself, would feel more settled walking into the classroom knowing that everybody including me had a copy of the relevant reading, and I find that my students are prone to misplace handouts from class to class.  (Another option would be to ask students to print out all of their handouts in advance and have them bound at the copy shop down the street, a kind of DIY coursepack, which some of my colleagues do.) On the other hand, I'm not sure how the director would respond to finding out that I had asked my students to buy a book.

The only time I've ever been told I could not assign a textbook was in a program responsible for making all materials available to students. The program collected a program/course fee from students for providing materials. The fee was supposed to cover the cost of the school purchasing the materials on behalf of students. In reality, the fee did not cover material costs. In addition, instructors were responsible for purchasing, ordering, and passing out materials. Just be warned...


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