Welcome to The CITE -- a blog on Course materials, Innovation, and Technology in Education, created by Mark Nelson and now part of the Publications Department of the National Association of College Stores. CITE is a pun with multiple meanings - referring to cite as in citation, something people reference; site as in location, website, or place people go to; and sight as in foresight or looking ahead to what is coming. Comments, discussion, feedback and ideas are welcome.

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Is It Time to Omit Textbooks?

There have been plenty of studies showing college students are not always running out to buy their assigned textbooks. At the same time, every collegiate retailer knows that collecting textbook adoption information in the first place can be like pulling teeth, so why not just drop them altogether?

“Banning textbooks is not capitulation to their misguided frugality. It’s recognition that students don’t view their textbooks the way we expect them to—and they may have a point,” The Good Enough Professor wrote in a recent blog post.

The problem with textbooks, according to the blogger, is students know they probably can find the same information online for free, making the assigned book redundant and expensive. Besides, students come to understand during their K-12 days that learning is more about locating the right information to pass a test than it is working through concepts and ideas.

“Students want to adroitly navigate the world of information—hence their zeal for finding workarounds,” she wrote. “By abandoning textbooks, we can better work with that grain rather than against it.”

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