By Regis L. Roberts
A student buys textbooks for the semester, spending hundreds of dollars for books that will spend the entire semester under the student’s bed until it is time to sell them back.
Does this sound familiar?
Well, history Professor Paul Browning, who is teaching a telecourse section of HIST 1302, History of the United States 2, said that students who take advantage of the text succeed.
He said he uses material from the textbooks, which are required for his class, in every test he gives.
English Professor Mariano Aguilar, who also is on the college’s Textbook Committee, said some of his students will wait two weeks to buy their books, and when they do get around to purchasing them, the students will not use them to the fullest potential.
Aguilar said he encourages what
he calls “active reading,” or going through the text and asking questions about what it is they are reading, even writing questions in the margins of the book.
Browning said one of the considerations he puts into selecting books is readability and content.
Readability is a key to student success, and Browning makes sure that students are actually comprehending the material as opposed to going through the exercise of looking at words on paper.
The method of reading textbooks he prefers is the SQ3R method — survey the chapter by scanning through it; ask questions about what you are surveying; begin reading; recite the chapter; and review.
Browning said he also selects books based on the price, and the book he assigns to his class, “American Promise,” is $90.50 new and $68 used at the Follett bookstore on campus. If a book costs too much, Browning figured, students may not buy it.
While he does receive groans from students about the price of books, he said his colleagues are the ones who are most alarmed about the cost, which is something Aguilar gets, too.
Browning said his courses are reading intensive, and the textbooks offer a different perspective from what the instructor may cover in their lecture.
Aguilar said his students will focus on the lecture, thinking that what he says in class is all they need to know.
Students who do not use the books assigned are in for a tough semester because he selects only key points from each chapter to cover in his lecture.
Browning echoed this sentiment saying textbooks are able to fit more information than could possibly be covered in the span of the entire lecture time.