As higher education evolves, one instructional tool, the classic textbook, is undergoing various transformations. Textbooks, once viewed as the cornerstone to instruction in higher education, are now often seen as outdated. Some instructors are opting out of published textbooks and instead designing content for their courses on an as-needed basis by creating electronic class readings from an array of digital resources. While the limitations of textbooks are not new, today's technologic advances afford many alternatives to print-based books. Furthermore, certain fields, by their very nature, dictate the need for timely, current resources and the course described in this paper is one such course for it covers alternative energy sources. This upper-level course in the emerging field of energy engineering focuses upon conceptual analysis and inter-related science, engineering, and economic aspects. Teaching any class with a strong component of theory, abstract thinking, and real-world applications, requires making tradeoffs. The new professor teaching this class is juggling not only experimenting with new pedagogies to empower students to be responsible for their own learning and to encourage their ability to synthesize information, but he is also adapting to the considerable effort needed to create a course reference from a diverse range of sources. This paper takes a closer look at his efforts to create a non-traditional textbook and the myriad of instructional issues that arise when a standard textbook isn't employed.