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Session 76: Tuesday Talkabout  - Holy Textbook Prices, Batman!

Page history last edited by mary.mcglasson@... 9 years, 4 months ago



Mary Beth Burgoyne, Library Faculty

Mary Beth has been teaching in the Maricopa District since ...(a long time). Fall of 2004 was her first log in as a course instructor, to a course management system, WebCT. Fell in love with it. When her course textbooks were not being revised with the frequency that she needed them, she decided to write and design her own curriculum content. She hasn't required or used a textbook since 2009. 

Mary Beth's disciplines, information literacy and libraries, are early adopters of  technology for digitized content and ensuring access to it. Taking what these disciplines do, into an online classroom, is natural.




Kim McGee, Health Education Faculty

In the field of health sciences there are many creditable organizations with well-developed websites that students can access for free to find current and relevant health information. Teaching students how to become educated consumers of health information by exposing them to leading health organizations and teaching them how to evaluate websites provides the students with tools that they can use long after their textbook would have expired.

PROS: Information is always current, easy to find, and free.

CONS: There is so much information available, it can be challenging to put limits on what to include and where to stop.


Mary McGlasson, Economics Faculty

Mary has taught Economics at Chandler-Gilbert since 1996, and has seen the typical price of a softcover text for her class hit $240 for a new textbook (about $180 used). Over the last few years, she has developed her own video materials for students to get the lecture content for her courses, and has integrated those video materials into the iBook format.





  • On the plus side, any student with an iPad or a Mac that has OS Mavericks or newer can download the books for FREE!
  • The iBooks contain interactive content including videos, slideshows, interactive images, and self-test review questions for students.



  • The iBooks format is ONLY compatible with iPads and Macs that have OS Mavericks or newer. For the other students, links to all of the video content, along with review questions, must be provided within Canvas.
  • Some students still do want a physical textbook. In such cases, students are encouraged to find an older version of a principles text that will have the basic concepts.
  • It is quite labor-intensive to create your own materials (although worth it once you are done with them).
  • Even searching for existing materials can be time-consuming, and in the case of Economics, the quality of what was available was disappointing.


Tricia Sindel-Arrington, Reading Faculty

Tricia has taught reading at CGCC since 2012, before that she was reading faculty at Estrella Mountain Community College. Reading textbooks, coupled with My Reading Lab average over $100.00. Because she believes in project based learning where the desired outcomes of a course are embedded into each project, Tricia has created her own curriculum using novels, library databases, and the Internet as her reading resources. 

Pros: Each student spends approximately $12.00 to purchase their novels from Amazon or other online retailers instead of buying boring textbooks. 

Cons: There are none. There is a plethora of resources on the web and in the library databases along with inexpensive novels, which serve as a springboard for learning. 


Greg Trone, Health Education Faculty

Greg began at CGCC in 2005 as the Employee Wellness Coordinator and transitioned into a faculty role as the Therapeutic Massage program coordinator. He also oversaw the Exercise Science programs for 3 years as part of the transition to Nursing & Health Sciences. Currently Greg teaches HES100 Healthful Living and exercise science courses, and is the Faculty Liaison for Service Learning.


Why not use a textbook for HES100? There are a few reasons:

  1. Textbook prices continued to rise while moving toward an unbound package that could not be sold back
  2. Health information is changing so rapidly today that some information is out of date by the time the edition is used for more than one semester
  3. An enormous amount of health related information exists from reliable sources online that is free and up to the minute, such as CDC.gov

Karen Wellner, Biology Faculty

Karen has taught microbiology and introductory biology at CG since 2012. Her classes are “textless,” saving microbiology students approximately $352 (text and lab manual) and her biology 100 students $242 (text and lab manual). Going textless, however, goes beyond saving money. Because Karen promotes that history and philosophy of science is a necessary part of any serious school effort to promote science literacy, she develops her own lecture and materials, posts them on Canvas, and weaves the nature of science throughout the entire semester of coursework—something that textbook publishers mostly ignore.




PROS: Biology is no longer textbook-driven, which often presents science as static and descriptive. I can change my lectures or lab instructions quickly. For example, last semester I included the topic of emerging diseases and Ebola, in response to the Ebola epidemic in Africa and the virus’ subsequent entry into the U.S. This type of information was not in microbiology texts. I supplement student readings with case studies from surgeon and journalist Atul Gawande’s creative nonfiction books, articles from Wired and The New Yorker magazines, and TED Talks.


CONS: With labs and lectures on Canvas and supplementary material easily accessed on the Web, my students have formally given the thumbs up to content notes and labs on Canvas rather than textbooks. I cannot think of a single con concerning going textless in my classes, although I do suggest to students to buy older editions of texts if they gain comfort from having a text in hand.





"Ditch That Textbook is [a blog] by Matt Miller, a high school Spanish teacher in West Central Indiana. After trying to do the traditional “teach by the textbook” for a few years, he launched into a textbook-less path where learning activities were often custom-produced for his students as well as infused with technology. He likes the results a lot, and his students do, too."


"Ditch That Textbook" eBook


Click here to complete the workshop evaluation!



What does Domo eat?

Domo eats any of Mary's baked goods,

and he also eats faculty members who don't give their feedback about the Technology Tuesdays series! ;-)

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