Wednesday, August 09, 2006

New textbook, new class

You wouldn't think it would be such a big deal. But changing textbooks is a pain in the [insert body part here].

Publishers send us free copies of new textbooks in hopes that we'll adopt them for our classes. There's something about a new book that just gets to me--all the examples are updated, there's no writing in the margins, it represents a change of pace from whatever book I was using before. So here I am, prepping for two classes and using new books in each.

It's a domino effect. I go through old syllabi and realize the order of course content will have to change because the new books organize the material differently. My old PR writing text had a chapter on photos and captions, which was a great topic, but it's not in the new one. And the new one has a section on design that was lacking in the old. So I need new lectures to handle each of those areas in different ways than before. Then I'll need lab assignments. Next thing I know, it's not a new book but a redesigned class.

So, is it the publishers' conspiracy to get us to force students to spend more money? Or a sneaky way to improve teaching?

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"More important than the curriculum is the question of the methods of teaching and the spirit in which the teaching is given" --Bertrand Russell

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