You are seated at a table covered with a thousand scrambled puzzle pieces. Your task is to assemble the pieces. But there is a catch. You are not shown a picture of the assembled puzzle. You are not given any instructions that might help you to assemble the pieces into a critically understandable coherent whole. How would you proceed?
Does the organization of the textbook relate to pedagogical approaches used to teach with it? I considered this question in relation to chapter organization in a previous post. In this post I will explore another part of the typical textbook chapter: questions.
Flip to the end of a textbook chapter, and you will usually find a list of questions, exercises, or other suggested assignments. Sometimes you will find additional learning activity ideas and resources on the companion website. Do they serve a purpose, or do readers flip past to get to the next assigned reading?
Does the organization of the textbook relate to pedagogical approaches used to teach with it? What pedagogical perspectives are represented by the organizational style we choose for a book and its chapters? These questions percolated through my work on a recently completed book manuscript. When thinking about the organization of the book, I reflected on ways people read books today and how they use them to learn.
The audience for this book about the design of collaborative learning will include instructors or instructional designers across disciplines, as well as students in education courses. In other words, some might be reading it for their own professional purposes, while others might be reading it as assigned for a course. How might they use the book, and what can I do as a writer to facilitate meaningful learning?
Al Trujillo is a Distinguished Teaching Professor of Earth Sciences at Palomar College in San Marcos, California. He has worked with his co-author, Hal Thurman, on Essentials of Oceanography (Trujillo and Thurman, Pearson Education) since the 6th edition, and they have also co-authored Introductory Oceanography, which is now in its 10th edition.
Here Trujillo discusses the value and functionality of embedding QR code technology into textbooks: