I just read a couple of interesting studies exploring the relationship between the content in texts and the content covered by the teacher. The analysis was of introductory psychology courses and the conclusion not terribly surprising. The lecture and textbook material corresponded closely. If the chapter was long and the coverage extensive, a larger amount of lecture time was devoted to the topic as well.
Taking aim at the high cost of commercial textbooks, Rice University-based publisher OpenStax College today announced a partnership with open-education pioneer Lumen Learning that is projected to save students $10 million over the next two years by facilitating the adoption of free, online textbooks by colleges and universities.
The July 2013 issue of Teaching of Psychology (40, 3) includes an “objective analysis” of the specifications and content coverage of 13 full-length introductory psychology textbooks. In six pages, teachers get a well-organized overview of introductory texts and a good feel for what those in the field consider important introductory course content. Scholarship like this makes a valuable contribution to the discipline.
As you plan a new course or revise an existing one, when do you decide on a text? I worry that many of us make that decision early on and then use the text to anchor our course design decisions. What gets included in the course as well as how it’s presented are often strongly influenced by what’s in the text and how it’s presented there. As the authors below point out, that’s not the role the text should be assuming in course planning.