Why aren’t you making your own textbooks?

You should be. Let’s examine the advantages:

  1. Updated as often as you’d like
  2. Much less expensive than purchased
  3. Contain only the content you want
  4. A sense of pride for having created the thing

That last point is not to be overlooked, mind you. The pride a teacher feels for having created the very book they are teaching from is a powerful motivator. There’s a certain kind of passion that comes through an educator directly responsible for the creation of the materials they teach.

There are, I can admit, a few disadvantages:

  1. A large up-front investment in man-hours
  2. Understanding the many formats, conventions, and design decisions applicable to creating a textbook
  3. A willingness to be responsible for the text you teach

These are all surmountable, but doing so requires that the educators involved be willing to learn these things. If you are pushing staff into doing this, you will find they only encounter problems, each of which will become an excuse to kill the project. If the educators themselves are motivated to do this, you will hear only about the freedom and power it afforded them.

I’ve been using the word “textbook” a lot here- and I want to be clear: I mean everything from an analog textbook to a digital textbook to a “textbook analog (aka a conglomeration of materials that approximate the scope of a textbook). I don’t think it much matters what format the thing is eventually published in (though, again, there are some very distinct advantages to going digital here), as much as the thing existing in the first place.