Wednesday, August 17, 2016

A Top Ten With Beaker Ben.

My colleagues and I are going through the painful process of reevaluating textbooks. (I must have been an awful person in a previous life.) They’re all the same. (I mean the books. Well, the colleagues too but that’s another story.) Books differ only in the ancillary materials available. Quite a variety. In fact, there’s enough that I was able to construct this...

Top 10 List of Add-Ons for Your Next Textbook

10. A solutions manual with enough mistakes that you wonder if your students wrote it.
9. A picture of a bug that is now extinct because they cut down a square mile of rain forest so your students could buy hard copies.
8. Images of internet memes that are based on the book’s content.
7. PowerPoint slides prepared by somebody who doesn’t know how to use PowerPoint.
6. The Blue Ray extended director’s cut of the textbook with author’s commentary.
5. An app which allows students to not read the book on their phone, just like they don’t read the tablet, computer, or paper versions of the book.
4. Marketing materials which ask you to “Like us Facebook” in a way that seems a little desperate.
3. A note that says, “If you sell your instructor’s copy, the puppy gets it.”
2. A system for clicker questions which requires a 300-page user guide and five hours of online training to use.
1. The book is a bunch of blank pages but, when you wear these augmented reality goggles, you see words on the page.


  1. Don't forget the website that requires you to remember an arcane code and password to get it and is styled to be unusable on a mobile device and that uses color or sound cues so students with disabilities are SOL.

    1. Do you mean the login info that I only use once a semester, which is long enough that I always forget it? Yeah, that too.

  2. The book—for a one-semester, gen-ed course—is 800 pages long, and every one if them is a color glossy so the tab runs to $200+ dollars per volume and even the rental price exceeds fifty dollars.

    1. Speaking of glossy pages, does anyone else loathe trying to actually read glossy pages? Or is it just me?

    2. Ugh, I can't stand reading glossy pages. you are not alone.

  3. When have to compare texts, authors can't seem to use consistent terminology. Unfortunately, there is not a consistent naming convention. The most expensive text has a color insert in the middle of the book, but mostly black and white images to refer to concepts that depend on color. Given that student rarely read these materials any way, I'm not sure it matters.

  4. Thank you.
    This made me laugh out loud for the first time today.

    Now I think I'll get drunk and cry.

    1. My pleasure. That's a good slogan for us.


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