One of the main reasons one enters academia is to play a role in disseminating knowledge. My career as an academic coincided with revolutionary developments in technology culminating in the development (with my colleague Kevin Wayne) of a new model for disseminating knowledge. We have created an extensive amount of content (see my COURSES page for access to it) and have been using it to reach millions of people worldwide.
A 21ST-CENTURY MODEL FOR DISSEMINATING KNOWLEDGE
Textbooks. A central focus of my career since 1975 has been creating textbooks. People in my generation had the unique challenge of teaching without the benefit of the time-tested textbooks that our peers in other fields throughout the university were depending on. This turned into a unique opportunity—many of us were able to define the field by writing textbooks.
- Serves as a guiding force and “ground truth” for students learning a core subject.
- Distills a lifetime of faculty experience for future
- Provides a reference point for courses later in the
These features still have substantial value, and textbooks are here to stay. Some people might prefer electronic versions, but a substantial fraction prefer physical textbooks (or both). One possible reason: Printed books enjoy the benefit of 500 years of development since Gutenberg while online content has only been around for several decades.