Saturday, February 13, 2010

Searching Textbook Catalogs

I have been digging through textbook catalogs for Learning Lynx to index the textbook companion websites (which sometimes have great stuff available that is not indexed by search engines), and I've had some interesting observations:

Philosophy textbooks have very few-to-no companion websites.

Business textbook covers and websites all look like they were designed by the SAME PERSON. They are so alike that I have to go by the ISBN number to know if I've already catalogued a site or not.

Psychology and Business texts have an inordinate number of "hits"--companion websites.

ESL textbooks almost NEVER have companion websites--a resource they really should be taking advantage of!

Science textbook websites have AWESOME links and interactive activities--more than any others. In fact, the college textbooks have more engaging online stuff than the K-12 textbook websites do. Hmmmm.....maybe because college textbooks and courses have to compete for students (instead of have them forced in), they have better education available? College is more of a free-market education system (vs K-12's overwhelmingly dictatorship model--even toward the teachers), and it shows in the sciences.

I found the education textbooks (ALL of them) to be inherently untrustworthy to me. It's like they're teaching stage makeup in a course on beauty--they observe talented teachers and then try to teach other people how to do it, but, while everyone knows that musicians can be taught the skills but can't be taught that "touch" that makes them great, nobody seems to realize that education and teaching are the same way.

I found the English texts (still, almost 15 years later) to be so distasteful that I could hardly force myself to search through the catalog. Guess I wasn't born to study literary fiction (even though I WAS born to do so much that ought to be included in English--they have rejected popular writing, popular fiction, genre fiction, and all but the most useless narrative nonfiction. Even the "classics" they study are only classics because they said so, not because those books have any inherent value....enough with my soap box, though. I'll stop).

I suppose Education professors must be dumb because theirs is the only section that is included twice in the catalog. Perhaps they couldn't find it where it belonged?

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