E-Books for Teaching

The Division of Graduate Studies has developed a new resource for teaching assistants. We hope this program will support graduate students in their development as instructors.

The books below are being included in a pilot program developed by the Division of Graduate Studies, in a partnership with the UCSC Library. This program will enable instructors, including teaching assistants, on campus to read these books online[1] (for free). 

Many books have no limits on the number of simultaneous users, can be downloaded and read offline, and have chapters as PDFs that can be printed or saved. Some books have more restrictions on printing, saving, and simultaneous use. Here is the UCSC library guide on printing and accessing Ebooks. 

This list of books includes books used currently in some of the pedagogy classes for TAs on campus, those that are known as seminal works on teaching, and/or those recommended by Jody Greene, the founding director of the Center for Innovations in Teaching and Learning.

The books are listed alphabetically by author. A short summary is provided as well as a link to each book’s Table of Contents.

Learn to design interest-provoking writing and critical thinking activities and incorporate them into your courses in a way that encourages inquiry, exploration, discussion, and debate. This is a practical nuts-and-bolts guide for teachers from any discipline. Integrating critical thinking with writing-across-the-curriculum approaches, the book shows how teachers from any discipline can incorporate these activities into their courses.
The book is designed to help new graduate student teaching assistants navigate the challenges of teaching undergraduates. Both a quick reference tool and a fluid read, the book focuses on the “how tos,” such as setting up a lesson plan, running a discussion, and grading, as well as issues specific to the teaching assistant’s unique role as both student and teacher.
“It’s the most useful book I’ve seen on college teaching, one that can serve teaching assistants and beginning as well as more experienced professors” states a book review by the Center of Teaching Excellence at the University of Virginia. Included are chapters on lecturing, discussion, writing skills, testing, and instructional media. Each chapter provides practical, easily implemented hints. The review professes that “Ten minutes spent with this book while motivated by a teaching problem will pay off immediately.”
The book is a combination of philosophical, political, and educational theory. Freire outlines a theory of oppression and the source of liberation (the awakening of critical awareness and the thinking process in the individual). Liberation happens through a new type of education, one which creates a partnership between the teacher and the student, empowering the student to enter into a dialogue and begin the process of humanization through thought and its correlative, action.
Combining critical thinking about education with autobiographical narratives, hooks invites readers to extend the discourse of race, gender, class and nationality beyond the classroom into everyday situations of learning. bell hooks writes candidly about her own experiences.
For hooks, the teacher’s most important goal is teaching students to "transgress" against racial, sexual, and class boundaries in order to achieve the gift of freedom.  Hooks notes that in the book she hopes to convey the pleasure and joy she feels about teaching. She presses for changes in teaching that resist the boredom, disinterest, and apathy that often characterizes the way that teachers and students feel about teaching and learning and the classroom experience. Lang presents a strategy for improving student learning with a series of modest but powerful changes that make a big difference many of which can be put into practice in a single class period. These strategies are designed to bridge the chasm between primary research and the classroom environment in a way that can be implemented by any faculty in any discipline, and even integrated into pre-existing teaching techniques. Small teaching techniques include brief classroom or online learning activities, one-time interventions, and small modifications in course design or communication with students. 
The key premise of the book is that deepening student learning and increasing retention and graduation rates requires teaching from a strengths based perspective that recognizes the cultural assets that students bring to higher education, and to their own learning. Recognizing that each student learns in culturally influenced ways, and that each instructor’s teaching is equally influenced by her or his background and experiences, the authors offer an approach by which teachers can progressively learn about culture while they transform their teaching through reflection and the application of new practices that enrich student learning.
The book summarizes current best practices succinctly, providing entrée into the literature for further study. Chapters include: “Getting Started” deals with designing a course and meeting a class for the first time. “Basic Skills for Facilitating Student Learning” addresses lecturing, leading discussions, providing written feedback, testing, grading, and assessment. “Understanding Students” discusses teaching a culturally diverse population, motivating students, and dealing with problem students. “Adding to Your Repertoire of Skills…” considers the use of techniques such as case-based, problem-based, or group-based learning and using writing (and technology) effectively to promote learning. “Skills for Use in Other Teaching Situations” considers labs and large classes. “

[1] Some of the books are also available for checkout from the Library. However, since checkout is generally for one year, utilization is limited to the person checking it out. Ebooks can be accessed by many simultaneously.