North Island College Teaching & Learning Supports
Teach Anywhere

Textbooks: Questions to Consider

PDF of this page: Handout

When considering a review of your existing textbook or choosing a new one, please consider the following:

  1. Was the textbook you’re using inherited from a previous instructor?
    • If so, have you considered an alternative that may be more appropriate?
  2. Is the author with appropriate education, experience and well-respected within their field?
  3. Does the textbook offer different perspectives other than your own, non-Western, Indigenous etc.?
    • Consider a textbook offering diverse perspectives.
  4. Is the current textbook at an appropriate reading level?
    • Many books for the post-secondary market are written at reading levels 3rd or 4th year post-secondary education.
    • Contact the Centre for Teaching and Learning Innovation to learn how to find a textbook’s reading level.
  5. Does the current edition include recent data or examples, references to updated legislation, current events, or technology?
  6. Are you using enough of this textbook to justify its purchase? (i.e., if you are using one or two chapters of a 15-chapter book, you may want to consider other learning materials or work with the publisher to create a custom version of the book with just the chapters you require).
  7. If you are teaching a course that relies on references to Canadian laws, research, geography, banking, health care systems, or culture, are you using a Canadian publication?
    • If not, is one available?
  8. Do you need a textbook?
    • Often, alternative resources are a great substitute for a textbook especially web-based interactive resources, open education resources (OERS) etc.
  9. Is there an open-source book available?
  10. Does the library have access to the book or related resources that may be more suitable for students to access freely as a NIC student?
  11. There are some books available only in e-book format.
    • Consider how long students have access to an e-book to decide if that is suitable for their learning (access to e-books is typically 6 months, 12 months, or lifetime).
  12. If you are using a book that is not available as an e-book, is there an alternative available in e-book format?
    1. Again, ask the library if there are resources in our database collections that might be more suitable and accessible.
  13. The bookstore may have preferential pricing agreements in place with commercial publishers.
    • Choosing an appropriate title in their inventory may provide savings for students.