From Faculty Focus

October 25, 2021
Stephen Buckles, PhD


Like most faculty, printed textbooks have been a mainstay throughout my career. I could adopt them off the shelf and nobody questioned my decision. After all, this is how I and so many of my peers have been taught, and it seems to have worked out well enough for us.

The issue, though, is traditional textbooks, and many so-called digital textbooks (large numbers of which, to be frank, are just electrified PDFs) don’t often invite interaction or challenge students to think for themselves. Most importantly, they offer few opportunities for students to receive the feedback they need to assess and build upon their own progress. Instead, like their printed cousins, they serve as a one-way delivery system that turns learners into passive recipients of information.

If creating meaningful learning experiences is our goal, we need to fix this.


About the author:  Stephen Buckles is a principal senior lecturer and former professor of economics at Vanderbilt University, where he also received his PhD. Buckles has been the recipient of numerous awards, including the Madison Sarratt Prize for Excellence in Undergraduate Teaching (Vanderbilt, 2008), the Kenneth G. Elzinga Distinguished Teaching Award (Southern Economic Association, 2006), and the Dean’s Award for Excellence in Teaching (Vanderbilt, 2007). He is the lead author of three textbooks: Principles of EconomicsPrinciples of Macroeconomics and Principles of Microeconomics.

Last Modified: October 25, 2021