Monday, February 1, 2016

What's Different in the New Edition?

When I pick up the new edition of a textbook with which I'm familiar, I usually flip through it to see how different it is from the previous edition.  And nearly always, I think "hmm...looks pretty much the same except for a new cover and a few tweaks to the page design."  And then as I delve into it, I start realizing that there are a substantial number of changes that didn't pop out at me at first glance.

When I'm teaching with that textbook, such changes are critical.  If I'm not aware of them, my students could get very confused on several points. Which begs the question, "How do you know where the changes are when your anatomy textbook is revised?"

How many times have you flipped through a chapter in a new edition and thought, "this looks pretty much the same as in the last edition"—only to have a student later point out that a term has changed, an image revised, or a section added?

Yeah, me too!

So that's why I've started keeping a log of all the changes I make globally and as I revise each chapter for a new edition.  This log—called a Changes to the 15th Edition—is available to instructors.  In the new edition of Structure & Function of the Bodyteachers can log into the Instructor Resources at Evolve to access this handy guide.

When you start using the new edition of Structure & Function of the Body, you may wonder how histology content was split out (chunked) from the larger Cells and Tissues chapter in the previous edition and exactly what changes were made. That is, you want to know what specifically will impact your teaching.

With the new update guide, you'll be able to see what changes were made and you can then easily determine which, if any, have a practical impact on your course.  Perhaps you need to change a chapter number, or maybe provide an alternate term, or possibly add a new image to your PowerPoint presentation.

I always wanted to have something like this when I was teaching other courses and a new edition of the textbook came out.  Even when I found the changes on my own (or more likely, when a student pointed out a conflict between what I told them was in the book and what was actually in the book), I didn't always understand why those changes were made.

So I created the update guide so you can not only see what revisions were made, but also a brief note about the rationale for the changes.

My plan is to also share some additional background and rationales for specific updates and textbook features here in this blog, where I have a bit more space to fully explain them.

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Cartoon:adapted from Raúl Ruano Ruiz
Photo: K Patton

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