#OpenEd18: Redefining, Not Just Rewriting, the Textbook

#OpenEd18: Redefining, Not Just Rewriting, the Textbook

Wyl McCully, Assistant Professor of Communications, Lansing Community College, asked a great question,

“Would you gift the textbook you are using because it is amazing?”

McCully is on a crusade to abolish textbooks. As he noted, we can create tools no one likes OR we can create amazing resources.

He discussed the challenges of textbooks. They are of varying quality and they contain more information than often needed. Instructors must decide what they will use in a class and most textbooks are overkill.

Instructors need to create something that others will actually use and read. We need to first decide what will be taught in a course and then select the texts that help students learn the content. Build the units, chapters, and lectures. To achieve better learning, we need to eliminate extraneous content from the course. If it doesn’t help learning, it hinders learning.

His approach resonated with me. We need to start course development by selecting appropriate student learning objectives, building criterion objectives, and then selecting appropriate content to meet those objectives. We should not be forcing an expensive textbook on students that poorly matches the objectives.

Additional Reading

Stan Skrabut, Ed.D.

Stan is Director of Technology-Enhanced Instruction. He has over 20 years experience working as an instructional technologist and trainer. He has a master’s degree in computing technology in education and a doctorate in education specializing in instructional technology.

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