Thursday, June 18, 2009

The New Edition Blues, part the second

I emailed a colleague I respect a lot to ask her why she wants to change editions. Is it, I asked, mostly the MLA changes, or have you seen the new edition and it's way better? (Because the last time we changed, it wasn't tons better.)

And she said it was mostly MLA.

We emailed a bit more, and then she said that she's also bored with the old edition.

And that struck me as important. I can't think of a time I've been bored by the material I'm teaching. I get bored grading plenty. But bored by the text(s)?

I think I don't get bored by using the same comp text because so much of my teaching changes constantly and is totally in my power to change. I can't imagine being bored by Shakespeare, or early modern culture.

But if I had to teach intro X out of a textbook, or methods in underwater basketweaving out of a textbook, then I can see that any problems or boring parts of the book could be really irritating after a while.

So, I'm thinking of going comp textbook free next semester; I'd order a handbook for students to purchase (a good idea in any case), and Graff and Birkenstein, and then the common text many of us are planning to use. I have to think about what I'd really miss from the comp textbook.

I'm sort of feeling liberated.


  1. Your last paragraph describes what we all do here at WSU (except those who don't want to do the common reading). It's SO liberating.

  2. That IS liberating! Woohoo!

    Have you thought about one of those Make Your Own Textbook places? I had one done for a comp class and loved it! (Think it was done by Primis but I believe that there are a number of publishers who do that now.)