The fall semester ia few weeks old now, long enough for textbooks to collect their first layer of dust. All textbooks that is besides the one assigned by Ryan Lee Teten.
The assistant professor of political science at Northern Kentucky University assigned Jon Stewart’s “America the Book” to his introduction to political science courses.
Stewart hosts “The Daily Show,” a TV program that combines reporting, commentary, in-studio interviews and sketch comedy to deliver a half hour news show weeknights on Comedy Central. The show, which is meant to be an alternative to the 24-hour news networks and nightly network newscasts, is said to be the most popular news broadcast among young adults in the U.S.
Scott Jaschik of insidehighered.com explains that techniques such as using alternative textbooks, giving oral exams, and allowing students to help structure lectures are a few of the many ways that today’s professors are attempting to get students more involved (and interested) in their educations.
A pass through the stacks at University Bookstore uncovered a few unconventional texts being assigned this semester:
–Citizen Girl, assigned to History 2400. A novel about a twenty-four-year-old woman trying to make it in the working world. Written by the ‘chick-lit’ authors of the popular Nanny Diaries.
–What Every College Student Should Know, assigned to Bio-Chemistry 1090. A guide to optimizing the college experience. Includes advice on finding the best professors and courses on campus, how to collaborate with instructors, and other topics.
–Dave Barry Slept Here: A Sort of History of the United States, assigned to History 1200. A book about the history of the U.S. Claims that, “the Sixth Amendment states that if you are accused of a crime, you have the right to a trial before a jury of people too stupid to get out of jury duty.”
Custom publishing services are another route professors are taking in an effort to get students reading.
Mizzou Media, MU’s custom publishing service, has been working with professors since 1992 to create their very own course packets. Around 250 MU professors currently use Mizzou Media to compile these packets that can include their own lecture notes and homework assignments as well as piece together selected chapters from multiple textbooks. They can also create compilation CDs and DVDs to accompany the packets.