Textbooks as scholarship and agents of change

Virtually all faculty in academia, regardless of discipline and institution, are aware of the ongoing debate concerning “what counts” when considering criteria for raises, tenure, and promotion. In more than a few cases, the debate centers on whether textbooks are “real scholarship.” Alred and Thelen, in their 1993 paper outlined some of the common anti-text arguments. In our article in Kinesiology Review (Corbin, Yu, & Gill, 2022), we discuss textbooks as scholarship and address some of the anti-textbook arguments. In addition, we argue that textbooks are agents of change that have influenced both disciplinary and professional studies in academia.

Have you opened a textbook lately?

Open access textbooks are becoming increasingly popular, with many universities now requiring that their students have access to open textbooks. There are a few different types of open textbooks, including those that are free to use, and those that are available for a fee. Open textbooks can be helpful for students who want to study without having to pay for books, and they can also be useful for teachers who want to create materials that are accessible to all students.

There are, however, some concerns about whether this trend is sustainable. Some believe that open access textbooks are fads that will eventually go away, while others some professors worry that the trend will not pay off for students.

How can AR technology enhance the reading experience?

This post will briefly illustrate what the future of textbooks may look like and explore the transformation of making reading an interactive and engaging learning experience using AR.

You might wonder: what is augmented reality (AR) and how is it related to regular textbooks? Since the global share of the mobile AR adaption is predicted to grow massively in the coming years, it seems it might be a meaningful space to increase your knowledge. By 2024 there will be an estimated 1.7 billion mobile AR user devices worldwide, a rise of 1.5 billion from the 200 million seen in 2015. Let’s look in more detail at what mobile AR is, how it can relate to learning and publishing, and what it takes to develop an augmented reality textbook.

Developing digital learning experiences

Over the past decade, digital textbooks have become the norm in many college classrooms. That may sound like progress, but there’s an issue: moving content onto a digital platform only solves the problem of the medium of delivery. It doesn’t inherently change the teaching or learning experience. Making something digital does not aloneserve the needs of today’s students and, in fact, challenges arise because there is no simple one-to-one correlation between the print and digital experience. In order to build content for digital delivery we need to be intentional about what we are building, why we are building it and how we are building it. Great digital learning experiences are intentional.

Don’t just rewrite an existing book

Coming to want to author a book is a slow process. There is likely ruminating, rethinking, internal debating, conflicting feelings, competing agendas, to say the least. Rarely, is it a moment of inspiration and then sudden action. Part of the decision process is thinking about what is already available on the market.

Many prospective authors will say, “there is nothing like this on the market. No competition.” This is very rarely true. There is usually some book, or more likely books, that your idea is standing on the shoulders of, wanting to reach higher. Also, the competition for some customer might be to buy nothing at all.

Laughing and learning: Cartoons as powerful textbook teaching tools

Dear Valuable Textbook Authors,

No, this isn’t spamming! I honestly think what you do is very valuable. Transmitting the hard-earned knowledge in your fields of study to a new generation is the only way that kind of knowledge will continue to be accumulated for a better smarter world.

Really, I’m absolutely blown away by the smarts and dedication of anyone who writes a textbook. Even the definition of a textbook is daunting:

“A book used as a standard work for the study of a particular subject”. Wow, that is a high standard, and kudos to you who strive to meet it especially now when getting published is more challenging than ever.