E-Texts Spice up Higher Ed
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  • Anthony

    “Education is on the brink of the biggest revolution since the invention of writing” – how are we anticipating impending educational change? Nevertheless, if online textbooks engage students through quality content and demonstrate outcomes (as measured) reflecting comprehension, then instrument complements educational aims/purposes – and there is no false choice between what is read and what is learned.

  • LarryD

    Sorry, but when I went to collage, $49 was not a cheap price for a textbook, even used.

    And students won’t have the option buying used or selling the book back to the bookstore after the semester.

    And if the server giving access to the book ever crashes, or the company goes bust, well, then we’ll see how “permanent” that access really is.

    And research has shown that even modern collage students retain material better when reading from paper than from a screen.

  • Marshall

    > Students will pay not for a printed edition at a bookstore, > but for permanent access on the Internet ($49). […]

    This is problematic; I wonder what “permanent” really means here:
    * Until the end of the semester?
    * As long as they are students at the university?
    * 5 years?
    * 20 years?
    * For the rest of their life?
    * Until the end of time?

    Will it work on the machines of 2020? 2050?

  • peter38a

    So ordinary texts aren’t exciting enough and unless they get more “fun”, well darn it you just can’t expect much out of students. Gag!

    What are these “interactive” texts teaching is the question not how they’re teaching. Pap and dependency are debilitating no matter what the format. The revolution would be that during at least half of school time the students would be creating knowledge independently.

    I know some examples are in order. So back in the day when I taught a 7th, 8th combo…

    I was given a thick stack of 5X8s by the school system with mini projects. One that I recall was, “Go outside and find indirect evidence of something.” One student came back and said he had found indirect evidence of a law having been broken… across the street in the park, although there was a sign forbidding bicycles, he had found bicycle tracks on the path.

    They went out and interviewed people and found that if they interviewed at 8AM they got different answers from those going to work compared to afternoon people. They made grafts, they argued, they wondered “what if”, they learned.

    Ours was one of the first schools to get the new PC history texts that were coming out. They were so filled with half truths and lies that they were the finest texts I’ve ever had. Students that had always found books to be sacrosanct found themselves reading parallel information and discussing such questions as, why would a school system put out such material? Who was supposed to profit from this and what effect would it have on students and the country at large. What is the purpose of a text book, who should decide? And a lot more. The most “educational” text I ever had in the classroom.

    Since so much of school is nothing much more than “for the teacher” my class prepared math text books for other lower classes and enjoyed the praise or suffered the complaints for their materials. But when the texts were returned, the feedback was pounced upon by my students and discussions were hot as to improvements to be made. The discussions were pure music.

    We did orienteering… planning and action.

    And yeah, I’ll tell you this too. More than a decade later I visited one of my exstudents, a model in New York, and although I had a very good position she was making exactly ten times what I was making and while in her apartment she brought out a shoebox with a lot of our old lessons in them.

    Please don’t even bother to hector me about why this can’t be done, we’re Americans, we solve problems. You want “education” to my mind this was education and it was all done with paper and pencil.

  • peter38a

    A friend of mine teaches individuals who either have their doctorate in education or earning same. In the class coming up I suggested jettisoning the text and building the class around the question, “What’s worth knowing?” If at this late date they don’t know the answer or haven’t addressed the question what in God’s name is going on in their classes?
    WRM, sir, you’re more erudite than most, please, “What’s worth knowing?”
    Here are three good questions every “teacher” should ask themselves each morning.
    1. What am I going to teach today.
    2. What’s it good for?
    3. How do I know”
    …from “Teaching As A Subversive Activity” by Neil Postman.

    A last question…

    What is the difference between training and education?

  • peter38a

    I was remiss in not crediting the “training/education” question to Carse, “Finite and Infinite Games”. Another thought in that book that I always found charming is: “I’d rather take a single journey with a thousand set of eyes than a thousand journeys with a single set of eyes.”

    Sigh, unfortunately, my eyes are all too often confined to those of Hugh Heffer, but then as a London taxi driver said to me profoundly one day, “We can’t all be bloody bishops all the time and have any fun now can we?”

  • Jim.


    Permanent, until you forget your old college passwords. o_O

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