How to produce a customised textbook for a first year undergraduate module

Business School image - Gillian Bishop

Image source: University of Huddersfield

This is a guest post by Gillian Bishop, lecturer in Leadership and Management in the Business School at University of Huddersfield, who writes about producing a customised text book for the first year undergraduate module, Organisational Behaviour, Management and the Sociology of Work.

The idea of a customised text is to take chapters from a range of text books to cover the key areas for the module. This approach reduces the number of texts a student has to find and potentially purchase. In this case the cost of the customised textbook was £49.

Each chapter in the text book relates to one or more teaching sessions so all chapters of the book are relevant to the programme. The publisher deals with any copyright issues associated with using the authors’ materials as well as any financial risks if students decide against the purchase. This opportunity had been something I had been discussing with the publisher’s,  Cengage,  for some time but in the Summer of 2012 I decided the time was right to go ahead with the text. The new module, introduced in September 2011, had run successfully in its first year and developing a customised textbook to support delivery of the module seemed a suitable next step.

From the student perspective at a cost of £49 every chapter of the text is used and is relevant to the students programme, in addition to which, the purchase of the text gives access to the on line activities, tests, multiple choices questions, case studies, interactive activities from the chosen texts.

The process and the involvement of the publishers

The process involved sampling a range of books to decide on the relevant texts and chapters for inclusion in the customised textbook. Once these were decided upon a contents page was developed to follow a delivery pattern in line with the module delivery plan. All tutors on the team are provided with a free copy and access to the on line instructor resources for all five texts.

The publishers Cengage were brilliant, I finalised the requirements for the book by the end of August and the text was ready for induction week and available for the students by September.  Karen, the representative from Cengage, encouraged and supported effectively the process, helping, guiding and liaising at all stages.  Karen and I delivered a joint presentation to the students at induction, providing the students with details of how to purchase the book on line. At no stage was there any pressure from the publishers to promote the textbook to students who did not wish to make the purchase.

Reflecting on the process, there are learning points for next year. We will seek to make the book available at induction for students to purchase and to take away on the day. This year all purchases were made on line. Feedback from the international students have suggested that it would be useful to have the text in an e-book format, particularly for the students who wish to take the book home over the Christmas break. The book is quite a weighty document.  As an alternative to purchasing the complete text,  students can elect to purchase selective chapters on line as e-chapters.

All in all this has been a well received book which has currency in the second and final year of the BA Business Management programme. At £49 students only require the one text and all chapters are used as part of the delivery process.


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