Outside in and inside out! A place to store ideas about education.

Thursday, December 01, 2005

Study Guides

I'm handling a class on CHEM C6, Biochemistry, this semester. Instead of a module, the UPOU supplied a Study Guide for a foreign textbook, Introduction to Biochemistry Second Edition, by McKee and McKee. Problem was, the publishers of McKee and McKee have come up with a very much revised third edition some two years ago. This new McKee is much more molecular and high tech than the second ed, and, mark this, they have removed the second edition from the market!!! So what is an FIC to do?

First off, I had to let out a silent scream. Yaaaaargh!

Then, I asked the department to look for it in bookstores.

As a last recourse, we had to ask the UPOU library to let the students borrow a copy for the whole sem. This was cheaper by the long haul, but the students had no textbook of their own to keep.

Although it is not hard to understand why the UPOU had to prepare a study guide instead of our own textbooks (it's been said in a better way, with more interesting diagrams and pictures!), this practice of relying on just one textbook for a course for a whole sem is not a good idea. What's worse is that if we lose the textbook (which is exactly what happened), we're left with a study guide, filled with annotations to a certain figure in a certain page that we have no access to (and no means to access, ever!). So Study Guides for OU is really not the best way to go, ever!

Kind of like our own experience in life outside of Chem C6 Biochemistry. We content ourselves with Study Guides to the great Book when we should be reading the Book itself. "Oh, I'm not really an expert in this. The study guide should be alright". NO!!! How would you know if what you have in your hands is not a real study guide but a Bluffer's Guide?!? Bluffers guides made with wow, intensely spiritual language that fill you with really deep thoughts. What hogwash! The fact that you end up reading bluffer's guide after bluffer's guide and never get any deeper should be warning enough. Bluffer's guides are made by those who think they've gone anywhere when they've only gone around in circles, gone in circles around themselves!

Bluffers and their guides end up making a killing, fostering a following of really deep thinkers. Nyehehe. I laugh at my own bluff :). Knowing this, I better get back to my Book :)