Textbooks?

This is more of a question than a post, I guess. I am wondering if you all continue to have students buy textbooks or if you’ve started to move away from that. For art history they are so expensive, and have, in the past, been used mostly for memorization of the images. There are so many other ways to now have access to images, I am wondering if the expense of a book makes sense. The introductory textbooks don’t say much that I don’t cover in the class.

Has anyone else been pondering giving up on the traditional text book in favor of some other kinds of reading?

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5 Responses to Textbooks?

  1. Louise says:

    I continue to use a textbook for the majors’ freshman class because it is one they will use again. Many Genetics students buy them online and/or buy online editions, but I need them to do text problems. Senior Seminar has no text. If I were teaching Bioethics again I would not use a text.

  2. gretchenmckay says:

    Just curious, Louise: why no text in Bioethics, were you teaching it? What types of things would they read? Is it because there is no text *on* that subject, or it’s not as effective at meeting course goals? Just curious as I wrestle with this idea often and we get book requests seemingly so early for each semester….

  3. Pam Regis says:

    Rhetoric textbooks (for comp on all levels) are often dispensed with. This semester (ENG 1002) I’m using one, and am using it a fair amount. The next time I teach ENG 1101, the argument, I probably won’t use one.

    Upper level English classes require that students have the primary texts–the literature itself.

  4. Bob Trader says:

    For me, it depends on the course content and the availability of a good book (or books). For example, I don’t use a textbook for a course I teach about new technologies. I figure if they are in a book, then they can’t be all that new. We do watch videos (especially from researchchannel.org) and there are selected readings of standard theories. But, much of the course content is a “lived” experience.

    For several classes I use handbooks or meta-analysis books that sum up research in a given area. I want students to get the big picture, and to understand the research upon which the big picture is based (and why often the big picture is rather flimsy and easily malleable since the research support is rather flimsy and easily malleable).

    I’d almost say for an art history class to keep the textbook if for no other reason than it is convenient to have everything together in one portable location. The other thing to do, perhaps, is to have your students help you create a virtual book each time you teach the class (use technology to find and assemble paintings of a certain time period or style). There are certain books that I will keep forever. There are certain websites I will update forever. I know I’m not terribly helpful, huh? LOL

  5. gretchenmckay says:

    Bob, I LOVE the idea of creating our own text book. Peter Bradley has been talking about that for some time as well. Have you done that before? Can you share some how to’s if you have?

    I’m still on the fence about a textbook for Roman Art. The best is $120 smackeroos. Not sure it’s worth it for the TEXT part and the images can be found online.

    Maybe I’ll ask my students about it, too.

    But I love the thought of collaboratively creating our own text…thanks!

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