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What is the process that gets a textbook into the course schedule? To what extent is the degree program considered, rather than just the individual course? What part does each party play, from administration to professor to publisher/author? Further, how is it done for alternative media such as videos or video courses and software?


A bit of context: I have a business that sells videos of CME conferences and would like to explore how I may provide access to that content to the students (and faculty), whether part of a curriculum or not. With this in mind, I'm looking where my business might fit in and make a deal with a school.

For example, I'd be happy to offer access to individual lectures to augment a course, entire courses to augment a program, or just exposure that might convince students to purchase the videos for their own interest (e.g. a link on their website, a place in the book store, email list, professor's "extra reading", etc.)

  • To clarify, by "school" here you mean a university? Primary and secondary schools have very different processes, and are outside the scope of this site. – Nate Eldredge May 20 '17 at 20:48
  • @Nate Yes, I mean post-secondary institutions. College, university, grad-school, etc. – user23776 May 20 '17 at 20:50
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(This applies to US universities; not sure if the rest of the world is similar.)

Textbook decisions are, by default, made by the individual professor teaching the course, based on what they feel is most suitable for the course. They would of course consider how the course fits into the degree program(s) that require it, but there usually isn't a concerted effort to have consistent textbooks across all courses in a degree program.

For "standard" courses that are taught regularly by many different professors, the department may choose to adopt a standard textbook. This decision would typically be made at the department level, led by the professors who teach the course most frequently, with input from others in the department, other departments whose students often take the course, etc. For courses in which a particular piece of software is central, the choice of software might be similarly standardized.

Higher administration usually has little or no direct role in such decisions.

Supplemental materials (additional software tools, videos, extra reading, etc) are usually selected by individual professors, and are not usually "standardized" like the main textbook can be.

Bookstores will by default stock all books and other materials that are listed as "required" or "optional" for the course. Everything beyond that is at the discretion of the bookstore manager, based on whether they feel it makes business sense.

  • So for my specific context, I'd need to talk to professors. – user23776 May 20 '17 at 21:00
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    @fredsbend: Yes. Be advised that professors get lots of advertising materials for textbooks, etc, and usually throw most of it away without reading. I certainly do. – Nate Eldredge May 20 '17 at 21:01
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    I'm not really interested in being a marketing research subject for you - but I pretty much ignore all unsolicited advertising for instructional materials, regardless of its content. Recommendations from trusted colleagues are a much more important source for me. – Nate Eldredge May 20 '17 at 21:07
  • Sorry, the question was more or less "how do you decide then", which you answered. I guess I imagine professors eventually favor certain publishers and authors, so they look for those first. Is that true? – user23776 May 20 '17 at 21:52

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