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Class Overview/Textbooks - for Instructors & Staff

About Class Overview/Textbooks

 Federal law requires publication of information about required and recommended textbooks for each class in the Schedule of Classes. The purpose of the law is to help students better understand and manage this specific educational expense.

Read more about the federal law HEOA Textbook Provision (PDF).

UMass Amherst  uses Amazon CourseMaterials to adopt textbook and other course materials. Those who need to adopt course materials use a special Amazon account to list items students will need to purchase or rent for any given class. They can still use SPIRE's Class Overview/Textbooks page to provide special instructions, class overview, or a link to a syllabus.


  • Only Primary Instructors and designated department staff can use Amazon CourseMaterials and the Class Overview/Textbooks page in SPIRE. For classes with multiple Primary Instructors, any Primary Instructor for the class can enter information.
  • Instructors: If a class section for which you need to post course materials does not appear in your list of classes either in SPIRE or in Amazon, contact your department's Scheduling Representative. That person can clarify your instructor status for the section.
  • i>Clicker users: Be careful to adopt the correct model! Search 1429280476 on the Amazon CourseMaterials site.
  • You can enter information only for the graded section of a class. If you teach a class with both a lecture and a lab section, for example, only the lecture section is available to you in your class selection list. Include any additional items that students might need for associated section(s) in the information for the graded section.
  • You must enter your book and/or class materials information for each class each term. Book and other material information does not automatically carry over from one term to another. Tip: On Amazon CourseMaterials pages, look for a Select: Single button; you should be able to change it to Multiple. This option allows you - in a single transaction - to adopt an item for multiple sections of the same course.

List Books & Class Materials in Amazon CourseMaterials

Use your NetID and password to log in to the Amazon CourseMaterials site.  Note that the Class Overview/Textbooks page in SPIRE features a permanent link to the site. Access Class Overview/Textbooks using the navigation in Step 1:Select a Class below if you do not have a direct link to the site.

The Amazon CourseMaterials site provides you with self-help materials and with contact information for their technical support staff.

After you adopt course materials in Amazon, allow up to 24 hours for your entries to appear in SPIRE. You do not need to do anything special to ensure that your items will be displayed properly in SPIRE.

See About Amazon CourseMaterials for UMass for more information.

Enter Class Overview or Link to a Syllabus in SPIRE (optional):


Step 1: Select a Class

  1. For instructors, in the SPIRE Menu, go to Faculty Home > Class Overview/Textbooks. The Class Overview - Select Class page opens. Select the class you want. Make sure to check the term associated with the class, as both current and future term classes may appear in your selection list.

    For designated department staff, in the SPIRE Menu, go to Course Maintenance > Schedule of Classes > Class Overview/Textbooks. Search for the class you want. Make sure to include the term in your search criteria.

Step 2: Provide a Link to Your Syllabus, Outline Syllabus, or Class Overview

If you want a convenient and quick method to post information online, consider using Box. Learn more about using Box to publish information online.

Note: Do not post URLs to information posted in Moodle or Blackboard Learn. Information posted in Moodle and Blackboard Learn becomes available to students only after they enroll in the class and only at the start of the term.

  1. Enter the Web address (URL) for an online syllabus, outline syllabus, or class overview you wish to publish. Enter the URL without the leading "http://" or "https://", e.g., the entry for a Physics 101 syllabus might be:
  2. If you enter a URL, specify what Type of syllabus or class overview students can expect to find online. Select from the drop-down list either Full Syllabus or Outline (use for either outline syllabus or class overview), as appropriate.

Step 3: Save Your Information

Avoid potential problems with SPIRE timing out and losing your work. We recommend that you save at least every 10-15 minutes while entering information on the Class Overview/Textbooks page. Save as often as you like, but always save before exiting or you will lose your work. Find the yellow Save button at the bottom of the page.

Audit Entry of Books/Class Materials Information

Designated department staff who can enter books/materials data can use the Textbook Queries that are available in SPIRE. The queries provide a quick way to monitor the status of textbook data-entry for a department's entire list of class offerings.