I don’t use commercial textbooks for my courses and neither should you! Textbooks are expensive and, worse, hamstring faculty in deciding what material students should read. If we ask students to buy a textbook, we feel we have to justify the expense by using a reasonable amount of it, even it it’s largely stuff that we don’t particularly like, and even if we have to supplement it with additional readings on library reserve or online.
There is a better, easier, cheaper way! Most readings for most humanities courses are available online, either out in the open for free or in journals which students can access through databases available to them through their colleges. Faculty can easily create websites that include online textbooks, created from links to material available on the internet, with no hassle for the end user. Where ever the material is, to students it’s all at the website and all they need to do is click the links to get the reading as well as syllabi, handouts, powerpoints and other course materials.
I will give a tour of my class websites (linked to my professional homepage at home.sandiego.edu/~baber/ and explain how to set up structured, user-friendly websites for classes.
I have served on the Philosophy and Computers Committee of my professional society and given talks to members of my profession on open access and going textbook free.