Tuesdays I have a morning class and an afternoon lab; sandwiched in between was a discipline meeting. I think I’m plum wore out today.
Just to make it more awful, the first genetics assignment is due tomorrow, and I made an awful hash of it, trying to juggle multiple textbook editions, so the students are all confused. So I made an announcement that the assignment is basically cancelled, ignore everything I said, and I’ll come in tomorrow with a whole new problem set that we’ll work on together. What a mess. I’m exhausted just thinking of sorting it all out.
You probably have already seen this but just in case https://www.discovermagazine.com/planet-earth/researchers-discover-15-new-parasitic-wasps-that-mind-control-spiders.
Not much use in the middle of a semester, I’m afraid, but I’m a big fan of open textbooks and have successfully adapted one and created another from scratch for my own courses. Depending on whether your institution funds time release for adaptation/creation, and whether you can hire students or pros for copy editing and graphic design/creation, it may take a few years to get one into the sort of shape you’d be happy with, but IMO well worth the effort in the end. You do need to be prepared to adapt or be disappointed, but it looks like there are folks at UM you could ask for info and assistance. E.g.:
Bruce Fuentes says
While on the subject of college textbooks. Though I was a humanities student, I remember my History professors telling us to ignore whole sections of the text books because of errors or biases.
I have a friend that is a Physics professor in WI. As a side job he proofs and edits physics textbooks. He comes across some real doozies. I would not be surprised if sometimes the corrections don’t make it into the final publication.
Bill Buckner says
I’ve seen a bigger mess. I was once proctoring a “physics for poets” exam for a colleague. It had 50 multiple choice questions and the students were using scantron sheets for their answers. Keep in mind that students do such problems in any order. About three quarters of the way through the test a student came up and pointed out to me that the exam sheet contained two consecutive (and different) “number 23” problems creating a horrible “off by one” nightmare.
There was no good solution to the dilemma. Especially given that some students had already turned in their exams.