Erika Arnone, Adjunct, Department of Psychology, John Jay College.
Many students cannot afford to purchase numerous textbooks that may cost hundreds of dollars each academic year. Also, the writing and presentation of ideas found in textbooks may not be ideally structured and presented for many students. Instructors have an empirical foundation of generalized and effective pedagogy to invoke; i.e., they know of better and less expensive ways to reach their students. The potential reservoir of course materials available electronically through the library or otherwise made available in the public domain or trough agreement is a means from which course designers may create and student may learn holistically how the conceptual frameworks of so many academic courses are used in the professional world. The strategy presented in this workshop is to focus backwards: 1) discover reports summarizing relevant sets of concepts; 2) Deconstruct the reports and segregate the concepts into fundamental, intermediate, and advanced categories; 3) Direct the students to other reports (simpler or more complex, depending on their level of achievement) that clarify and deepen their understanding of the conceptual framework. Through computer and Internet-based echnologies, instructors can cost-effectively empower students to access explanatory virtual documentation and manipulate digitally the materials in academic and professional problem-solving. Technological tools can inexpensively leverage their imaginations in a way that, while not entirely customized, allows them to demonstrate their understanding in their own way yet consistent with instructor expectations.