Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Textbook woes

I foolishly thought that ordering textbooks for my classes would be easy this time around. I'm only changing one text, so how hard could it be?

Well. I forgot that in one class I have two required texts. The last time I taught this particular class, the second required text was a bit out of date in parts, but easy enough to work around. This time, it's very much outdated. But I figured hey, there has to be a new edition of it!

Yes, there is. But it's not being published until next spring.


So now I have to decide if I want to:
(a) go with the outdated text. The concepts are still all good (very good, in fact---I really love this book), but the examples are not---and without going into a ton of detail, the examples are rather important to the course in this case. So if I went with this, I think I'd have to do *a lot* more in-class work "fixing" the outdated examples.

(b) go without this text altogether, and figure out some sort of course-packet-esque thing to throw together.

(c) find another text to fill the void. I've been looking, but so far have come up empty-handed on this. The problem is that the book I was using really was a perfect fit, and I'm having a hard time finding something even remotely equivalent.

The old text is unfortunately in my office at school, so any decisions will have to wait until I can get there and get the book and see just how outdated it is.

Not exactly what I want to be stressing about this week!


Alfred Thompson said...

I always hated having to pick out textbooks. I finally wrote a textbook for one course but by the time it was published I had to give the course up to someone else and never got to teach from it. I like to think it was the ideal book for that course though. :-)

Of course it is completely out of date now. :-(

Good luck with your text selection process.

Claire said...

Sounds like Plan A would be more work on the front end, but also more rewarding in that the new examples are going to keep your (and the students) head in the game. Just mulling it over in my head trying to put myself in your position.

Unbalanced Reaction said...

Sounds like c is the best option for you. From a student's point of view, I think b is best....although that would be a lot more work on your end.

Kudos for actually caring about the texts you are using!

Jane said...

thanks, everyone! I'm still mulling over what to do, since I still haven't found another comparable text. claire, you are right about option (a), but I just don't know if I have the time to spend on it right now (but it may be a moot point if I can't find another text). unbalanced reaction, since texts are sooo expensive these days, I feel almost like I'm obligated to choose wisely. If my students are going to fork over $100+ for a book, it better be worth the money!

Scooter said...

What about teaching from the book you love...AND writing a note to its author praising it but raising the datedness issue. Make a request that he/she share an advance copy so you can pick more up-to-date examples from it. This has several benefits, you are teaching from the "good" text, your students get the good text (and can work from the updated one), AND it may put you on this prof's radar screen, both as a caring instructor and someone who believes in him/her. The result may be a good collegial relationship and good learning for your students.