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At Some Universities Textbooks are Getting an e-Makeover
At Temple University and UMass Amherst, faculty are experimenting with creating their own “homemade” textbooks using materials found for free or reduced cost online, as well as resources available through their university libraries. At both schools, faculty are reinventing the textbook by compiling everything from their own writing, to videos or articles in online databases, to primary source materials found in digital archives. In fact, it sounds as though many of the “alt-texts” don’t even resemble textbooks at all. Some faculty even have students helping to build the “textbooks” as they learn their course material, thus expanding the role of required resources and creating a more engaged class.
For example, at Temple:
“For Vanessa Yingling, digital alternatives to textbooks are a necessity. The kinesiology professor needs technology to keep her students up to date on the latest research, to stay on top of her own busy schedule and to make all of the course material more meaningful and accessible. Her alt-textbook, which she combines with alt-lecture, has taken the form of a website through which she uses a wide range of technologies — Jing, Diigo, Twitter and Xtranormal. For difficult-to-grasp concepts, she creates special modules comprised of a voiced-over Powerpoint for students to review on their own time” (Jelesiewicz, 2012).
At CityU Library, we have noticed that more faculty are pointing students to resources available in the online databases. Librarians have worked to encourage faculty to adopt free or low-cost e-resources, whether text-based or audio/visual, for their courses. We have also tried to keep faculty informed whenever we purchase resources or find resources that might be appropriate for their programs.
In what new ways are you using digital content in your courses? Have you moved away from a traditional textbook in favor of e-resources? Tell us about it by commenting on this post.
- UMass Amherst Libraries. (2011, December 1). Taking a bite out of textbook costs.
- Jelesiewicz, E. (2012, January 27). Temple faculty experiment with alt-textbooks.
- DeSantis, N. (2012, February 7). Temple U. project ditches textbooks for homemade digital alternatives.
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