Let’s continue with our series to help people build awful digital learning resources. Today we’ll provide another powerful technique: the textbook!
Tip #2: Use a textbook. Refer to it all the time.
Remember, it’s important in awful digital design to totally ignore the potential of digital resources when building your course. This is one of most challenging things to do when building boring online content, because after all, you’re building your course on the Internet, which contains the wealth of human knowledge in digital form at your fingertips. Ignoring this takes out-of-the-box thinking.
But what better way to totally ignore the Internet than to base your entire course on an out-of-date textbook! This is sheer brilliance in Awful Digital Design, because you immediately take the user away from his computer for hours to go do something like “Read pages 345-427 in your textbook and answer the questions that follow.” Nothing is hyperlinked, there is no compelling digital content, and if you do things right, most of the information can be out of date shortly after you finish building the course! How cool is that!?! Even if students learn something, it’ll be totally useless information!
For you kinesthetic learnings struggling to wrap your head around how to do this, here’s a good example of how to build a course fully based on a textbook: MIT’s American History. For those of you old enough, you’ll notice a striking resemblance to correspondence course syllabi from the 1980’s. Great stuff!
Want to learn more on the topic? Well, here’s a recent article on the topic of textbook doldrums in The Atlantic. If you’d prefer a different way to learn more, you could go read this textbook, named “Overcoming Textbook Fatigue.” Oh, the irony here is succulent! Enjoy!
Whatever you do, however, avoid light references to textbooks and avoid using current web materials to structure your course, as that is likely to actually get students learning, and we certainly don’t want that!
Up next, Tip #3: The power of not hyperlinking anything!