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Archive | 9:32 am

Are textbooks still relevant?

16 Nov

Can you remember your favourite university textbook? Or rather, can you name one of your favourite books?

For me, To Kill A Mockingbird possibly, Harry Potter (not sure which one is my preferred though), but I still remember fondly my grade 1 books, (wrong of rightly so), the Dick and Dora series. It may be because I read them so many times, they were old, had been read a million times by many grade oners before me. I also had a love for the Peanuts series and collected them for years. I may still have them in an old trunk downstairs. University days it would have been a Kotler Marketing textbook, and possibly a Tourism book. This was when I fell in love with marketing, and also had a strong desire to travel!

My new Integrated Marketing Communications textbook has just been published with my amazing co-authors Bill Chitty, Nigel Barker and Anne-Marie Sassenberg. Needless to say I am pretty excited! A lot of hard work goes into a textbook, especially as it takes such a long time sitting in production after actually writing it. It is very important to stay current, relevant with student learning a key focus for all authors.

This is the 3rd edition that I have been involved and now lead Australian author and I think it is pretty cool. I have been teaching within advertising, marketing and promotions in undergraduate and postgraduate classes for over 16 years at QUT, and for ten years before that. What do you think of the cover? I think she looks pretty!

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So often I have heard students say, “Oh I don’t buy the textbook”, which I respond, well how do you pass? You’re missing out on so much ‘awesome’!

I have been reading on various blogs and news sites about books and textbooks not being relevant anymore. And many people don’t read any books. While we do live in a digital age, texts are reliable sources that provide credible information. Textbooks can support understanding as concepts discussed in class can be viewed over and over, and at any time – much like online resources. But don’t just take my word for it.

Professor Rebekah Russell-Bennett, from QUT’s Business School in the School of Advertising, Marketing and Public Relations and lead Australian author of Consumer Behaviour which is in it’s 3rd edition (Solomon, Russell-Bennett & Previte) tells us,

“Textbooks give structure to the learning experience, they are like a road map with interesting stops along the way to a destination. The reader can see where they are going, where they have been and the connection between the content. Without a textbook, students need to be able to figure this out for themselves by reading a collection of articles, watching videos and attending class. Textbooks do not have to just hard copy, they can also be in digital format which allows students to interact with content but still maintains the comfort of structure.”

Our minds are malleable and grow with the things we feed it.  I love when my ex students say to me that they still have their IMC textbook. It warms my heart. These books are not just sitting idle, collecting dust.

Students today still need scaffolding, support and guidance as they engage with textbooks as well as digital learning resources. It can be so easy to become absorbed in the fast-paced world we live in.

Books are a great platform where you can lose yourself for a few minutes or a few hours. They can be a sensory experience from the colour pictures and case studies that brings a subject to life. The pages are silky and the smell of a new textbook is something else. Even buying a second hand textbook means that there are pages that have highlighter and notes on them. You can almost picture the old owner sitting in a lecture hall, or studying late at night for an exam, hoping to glean a little inside information from those scrawls.

Professor Gayle Kerr, also from QUTs School of Advertising, Marketing and Public Relations and lead Australian author of her textbook Advertising: An Integrated Marketing Communication Perspective (Belch, Belch, Kerr & Powell). Gayle says, “Like everything these days, including IMC and advertising, I think textbooks are also in need of a definition. The inherent value is not in the text or the book, but as a repository for knowledge. A place where ideas are stored, compared, debated, updated and ultimately applied to our crazy, changing, digital world.”

Books have the potential to change your life. Textbooks have the potential for better grades, opening up a secret world and bringing colour to your study. Share with me your favourites.

Further reading:

Bard for Life, Shakespeare is still relevant to schools (2001), https://www.theguardian.com/books/2001/feb/09/classics.schools

Knight, Bruce (2015), Teachers’ use of textbook sin the digital age, Cogent Learning, https://www.cogentoa.com/article/10.1080/2331186X.2015.1015812

Paton, Graham (2014), Schools told: reintroduce traditional textbooks in lessons, http://www.telegraph.co.uk/education/educationnews/11241014/Schools-told-reintroduce-traditional-textbooks-in-lessons.html

Leon, Barnaby (2015), Textbooks have a huge impact on eduction, http://www.telegraph.co.uk/education/educationopinion/11739310/Textbooks-have-a-huge-impact-on-education.html

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