by Julie Dodd
An important part of your success as an instructor is based on the books and other materials you select for students to use as part of your course.
Good textbooks and online readings can help students be both better prepared for class and provide some of the instruction.
Selecting a weak textbook or requiring too many textbooks can lead to students being overwhelmed which can be reflected in the students’ participation in class, academic performance, and the evaluations they give you at the end of the semester.
Let me offer ten tips for selecting textbooks and other course materials (i.e., online readings, textbook online resources).
Tip #1 – Determine the purpose of the textbook
Remember that the book is not the creator of the course – you are. The book (or other materials) should support your approach to the course. Finding a textbook that will include everything you’d want – and in the way you’d want it presented — probably will be impossible, unless you write the textbook yourself. Look for materials that support what you are doing that provide a good background, examples and illustrations. Consider the following questions when considering a textbook:
- Does the book provide foundation information for the course?
- Will the book provide assignments, exercises, labs, or case studies for student practice or assessment?
- Does the book provide a point of view or different points of view that contribute to a broader understanding of issues involved in the course?