The most useful textbook & academic posts of the week: October 19, 2018

Writing workspaceThis week’s collection of posts from around the Web begins with a couple approaches to collaboration – first in purpose, second in process. We then found some posts on improving existing work – revising drafts, converting a PhD into a book, and the art of book design. Finally, we brought together some industry interests – the value of peer review, innovative & inclusive teaching, and content syndication.

Whatever writing projects you are working on this week, 1) know that you are not alone – TAA is here to support you with our community of authors and collection of resources; 2) know that your work is not finished – writing is more than a single task and whether revising a first draft or reworking a thesis, your continued contributions are needed; and finally, 3) know that these solitary efforts contribute to a bigger picture and have value beyond the immediacy of your project. Happy writing! [Read More…]

Querying literary agents

Panda hiding in bambooLiterary agents, to many, are elusive creatures; difficult to find and communicate with in their native habitat.  Maybe like a panda or a snow leopard. Last month I wrote about whether you needed a literary agent. The majority of academic authors likely do not need one. Some, however, will need or benefit from one.

Briefly, an agent represents writers and their written works to publishers. They assist in the sale and negotiation between the writer and the publisher.

Let’s say you do want to try to secure one: how do you proceed? [Read More…]

Getting ready for #AcWriMo 2018

#AcWriMo 2018In a little over two weeks, we will begin our annual celebration of Academic Writing Month (#AcWriMo) for the month of November. When Charlotte Frost at the University of Wisconsin–Milwaukee (UWM) started the first #AcWriMo event in 2011, she “aimed to develop an event that would push her and her colleagues to work on their respective academic writing projects and create a writing ‘team’ among them and the wider global academic community.” (Source: Wikipedia)

During #AcWriMo 2018, TAA plans to continue this tradition of motivation and collaboration with a focus on the 5 W’s of Academic Writing. [Read More…]

The most useful textbook & academic posts of the week: October 12, 2018

"Start with Why" ~Simon SinekThis week’s collection of posts from around the web have a common theme of clarity and transparency in scholarly writing efforts. Beginning with a look at personal clarity in our revision processes or where we focus our time and energy as researchers to matters of impact and public trust, we have also found opportunities to improve transparency in textbook revisions and scholarly communications.

Wherever your writing efforts take you this week, as Simon Sinek says, “start with why” and be clear in your personal and professional purpose and intent. That clarity will produce results. Happy writing! [Read More…]

Academic writers tackle social issues

Social IssuesWhether the discussion is about changes to our global climate or our cultural climate, the dominance of uninformed opinions can aggravate those of us who want to see the need for evidence derived from empirical research.

Academic writing for social good supports efforts for change to improve the well-being of people in our communities or around the world. While we might hope that all academic writing has potential to benefit society, the kinds of writing we are considering here have an intentional purpose. In a TAA webinar offered last year, Lynn Wilson and I discussed four ways that scholars and researchers can frame their writing. (View the recording here.) Let’s look at each one. [Read More…]

How to actually complete your writing projects: One bite at a time

elephantIn her 2018 TAA Conference presentation, “Hunks, Chunks, & Bites: Plan Writing Projects So You Actually Complete Them!”, Meggin McIntosh shared some practical advice on tackling projects in a way that gets them done.

According to McIntosh, academics have between 20 and 50+ writing projects at any given time, but “people don’t do projects.” Projects can be broken into hunks, but you don’t do hunks. Hunks can be broken into chunks, but you don’t do chunks. Chunks can be broken into bites. You do bites! Here’s how. [Read More…]

Three unmistakable signs you need to revise

revisionBetween bouts of hating what we write, we may secretly admire our creations. And we’re entitled to. But there’s a difference between these feelings and excessive love of our own words. Such love blinds us to editorial blunders, judicious cutting, and revision, and reduces the possibilities of publication. [Read More…]

The top 9 myths about OER publishing

Questions and answersIn a recent blog post, we explored some of the questions authors are asking about open textbooks. In this post we have continued the discussion with several leaders in the open textbook movement to identify some of the common misconceptions associated with open educational resources (OER) publishing.

Below, Barbara Illowsky (co-author of one of the first open textbooks, Introductory Statistics), Amy Hofer (Open Oregon Educational Resources), Apurva Ashok and Zoe Wake Hyde (Rebus Foundation), and Nicole Finkbeiner (OpenStax, Rice University), share the top nine myths they have identified, and the facts related to each. [Read More…]

Dear dissertation advisers: Make sure student has defined the research purpose and question

Disseration adviceDefining a good research question is crucial to developing a successful research project, and it is no easy task. For some, defining a good question comes easily, but for many, especially doctoral candidates who may have never developed their own research project before, it is a great hurdle. And, as I suggested in the previous post, if the research purpose and question aren’t defined, then there’s no point in your looking at other stuff: if your student hasn’t defined the research purpose clearly, they’ll have trouble making progress.

A good definition of research question or purpose is not only crucial, it’s usually really easy for a reader to find in skimming through a paper. Most drafts have several sentences that say things like “the purpose of this research is…” and “the research question is…”. These sentences need to be clear, and they need to agree with each other (multiple conflicting statements of purpose can often be found in early drafts of research). [Read More…]

Is open access publishing where you want to see your work? Questions to ask yourself and best practices

During their 2018 Textbook & Academic Authoring Conference presentation, “A New Publishing Landscape: Open Access,” Kristen Cvancara, Laura Jacobi, and Heidi Southworth shared curiosities, opportunities, and pitfalls of open access publishing. For those curious about how their work may fit in the open access publishing landscape, the panel encouraged conducting a self-assessment and getting feedback from others first. For when you’re ready to explore open access publishing, they shared best practices as well. [Read More…]

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