A textbook starts with some thoughts about content. What is it we want to teach? This part of CAP is obviously critical - but it is the least important to discuss in general for a few reasons:
- Each course within each discipline is different;
- each professor will want to cover different things in different levels of depth; and
- it is mostly the same as what you would find in a traditional hardcopy textbook.
Notice that in Figure 1, many people have studied how to approach content within the context of Architecture and Content, but the area in the Venn diagram that is completely blank is that which is only Pedagogy, as that is inherently an interaction between other areas. The only thing in the Content area is whether or not the content is authentic, and whether or not multiple representations are used.
- Content in the bookshelves is largely unchanged from a hardcopy textbook, and is thus left to the author.
- Content should never be thought of as independent from how it is taught or organized.
- How it is taught is the Pedagogy.
- How it is organized within an online textbook is the Architecture.
The biggest thing to think about is how to teach this content. How to teach is usually the definition of pedagogy. However, here we break it into two parts: Architecture and Pedagogy. Architecture is the static structure of the course materials: where are things found, how are they linked, what is the organization in general. Pedagogy, here, is how you expect people to interact with your content and what approaches, models, samples, and images within your content will be included.
Questions to Ask Yourself
- What are your learning objectives for the course?
- How many are you teaching in a given lecture? In a given exam period?
- What conceptual links between material are important for your students to understand?
- What depth does a concept need to be covered?
- How are you going to assess your content?
- How many sample problems should be included?