Bringing textbooks to life: Strategies for improving student engagement

Educator, editor and author Michael Greer, of Development by Design, shares his philosophy behind, and strategies for, developing textbooks that enhance student engagement and learning.

TAA: As an educator, editor, and author, you are passionate about bringing textbooks to life to provide more effective and engaging student learning experiences. What inspired you to analyze and rethink content delivery for textbooks and other course materials? [Read more…]

Tip of the trade: The role writing environment plays in productivity

Q: What roles do the writing work space and environment play in productivity?

writingA: Noelle Sterne, author, editor and writing consultant:

“As an academic and mainstream writer and editor, I firmly believe that one’s writing work space and work environment tremendously influence productivity. To discover your best writing environment requires self-analysis and candid (if uncomfortable) answers to several important questions:

1) What is your optimal time for a work session? An hour, three, fifteen minutes? My optimal session is about an hour and a half. But sometimes my brain bubbles like a hot spring, and I can work for three hours straight without hearing my stomach growl. [Read more…]

Join us 1/25 for the TAA webinar, ‘Six Strategies for Using Social Media to Promote Your Writing’

Janet SalmonsYou can spend (and waste!) a lot of time on blogs and social media. Be strategic and use these tools to complement your academic writing, textbook authoring, and related consulting services.

Join us  p.m. ET for the TAA webinar, “Six Strategies for Using Social Media to Promote Your Writing,” when writer and blogger Janet Salmons will share six ways you can use blogs and social media, including: developing credibility, building a network, reaching new readers, sharing resources, encouraging textbook adoption, and disseminating findings outside of academia. She will help you evaluate whether you should start your own blog, page, or group, or contribute as a guest.
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How to get your boss’s support for your dissertation

writingIt’s not easy working full-time and writing a dissertation. A few fortunate doctoral students can quit work and devote themselves completely to the dissertation. But if you cannot quit, you can still make time for it—by meeting with your employer or supervisor.

Employers often encourage higher degrees, and some pay for them in whole or part. Your boss may be supportive of your academic pursuit and willing to give you released time and preferential schedules to meet the demands of graduate work. To gain what you need, you need a plan and rehearsal for the talk. [Read more…]

Two more types of university friends you may have never thought of (part 2)

Don't be reticent in contacting fellow students and former professors.If you’re a graduate student struggling with your dissertation, you probably crave at least a few people who really understand and can help you get through the long and torturous journey. Many dissertation writers have confided to me as their editor and coach that their chairs and committee members, unfortunately, may not be the most supportive or nurturing. In Part 1 of this series, I recommended two types of individuals you may not have thought of who can be immense help: librarians and secretaries. Here I’ll suggest two more. [Read more…]

9 Ways to improve your academic writing style

writingWhen it comes to academia, the quality of your writing has a lot riding on it. Whether you are in university or are employed as a teacher and/or researcher, the work you produce can make or break your academic career.

Strong writing (and empirical content, of course) is a major factor in whether a paper you write will be published in a reputable journal. So before you begin drafting your next article, consider these 9 ways to improve your academic writing. [Read more…]

Join us 11/18 for the TAA webinar ‘Becoming a Productive Writer: Strategies for Success’

Rachael CayleyWhy does it seem like there’s never enough time to write? One of the key challenges of academic life is balancing the many demands on our time; while writing is generally key to professional success, finding time to write is consistently challenging. Most academics realize that they need to protect their writing time but still struggle to do so. Rather than seeing not-writing as a simple failure, it can be helpful to see it as a reflection of the inherent difficulties of writing and time management.

Join us Friday, November 18 from 12-1 p.m. ET for the TAA webinar, “Becoming a Productive Writer: Strategies for Success,” where presenter Rachael Cayley, who blogs at Explorations of Style and tweets at @explorstyle, will discuss how and why academic writing is so hard and look at some strategies for establishing a productive writing practice.
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Two types of university friends you may have never thought of (part 1)

librarianGraduate students on the road to doctoral Oz often feel more isolated than a vegetarian at a barbecue. Especially if you have a laissez faire chair and committee, you may believe you’re abandoned and unloved. You’re not. In my work as editor and coach for struggling dissertation-writing students, I know well that many other people in the university community can comfort, calm, and care for you. Here I’ll remind you of two types who can help ease your dissertation traumas. (Next post: two more.)

Librarians Love You  

Even in this age of access to many online databases, librarians can help you greatly as you plow through the dissertation. Once you recognize the immense resources at their keypads, you can enlist their aid to save yourself time, effort, and digital runarounds. [Read more…]

Join us 11/3 for the TAA webinar, ‘Plan, Propose & Publish an Edited Book’

Janet SalmonsWant to publish a book, but lack the content for a full manuscript? Consider creating an edited book! You can include your own material, as well as chapters by other scholars.

Join us Thursday, November 3 from 3-4 p.m. ET for this one-hour webinar, “Plan, Propose & Publish an Edited Book”. Writer and editor Janet Salmons will share strategies she learned by creating edited books, contributing chapters to numerous edited books, and serving on editorial review boards. She will provide an overview of the entire process, from proposal through final review.
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Three new writing templates added to TAA’s Templates & Samples Resource Library

Templates and SamplesThree new templates have been added to TAA’s Templates & Samples Resource Library – a grant requirements matrix template and writing collaboration planning and progress templates.

The grant requirements matrix template was contributed by Erin Comeaux, a grants coordinator with Pasadena ISD, and Jennifer Travis, a professor of mathematics at Lone Star College-North Harris, who use it to keep track of each grant requirement, as well as the solicition/RFP page number or URL, paragraph number or URL, and who is responsible for drafting each requirement, to make sure all the grant’s instructions are being followed. [Read more…]