Saturday May, 31 2008
Are college textbooks still an important part of the higher education learning experience, or a waste of time and money?
Are college textbooks no longer necessary? Here's a recent article here at Campus Life by D. Chen that makes this argument: College Textbooks No Longer Necessary
As a former professor, I do agree with many of the points in this article. The college textbook industry is notorious for its exploitation of students who are required to purchase materials for their classes. Thanks to technology, there are so many other low cost ways for students to get much of the same information they might find in a textbook-- and in ways that are potentially much more interactive. In addition, today's Generation Y college students are accustomed to using technology to find information, and many young people learn better in an interactive format.
But obsolete? As a professor, I'm nervous about what we would lose if we cut out textbook reading completely from our classrooms. Reading requires discipline, and it's very much needed to develop strong writing skills. One problem with today's fast-paced technology is that students do not have as much patience and discipline for learning as they need to be successful in the working world. At work, students are going to have to sit down with material that is tedious and dry and make sense of it independently.
I'm a strong advocate for multiple modes of technology in the classroom, and I certainly think we're past the days where textbooks are used almost exclusively. But let's not get rid of them yet.
© Naomi Rockler-Gladen
10 Random Textbooks