11/5 TAA Webinar: Seven Time Management Strategies to Begin, Keep Working On, and Complete Your Projects

Most of us have had the experience of finishing a project at the last minute or late, and not being proud of what we have accomplished. Maybe we just couldn’t seem to find the time to devote to the project or we were frequently interrupted. Procrastination is a term applied to putting things off until later, but what can we do about it? Join us Thursday, November 5, from 1-2 p.m. ET for the TAA webinar, “Seven Time Management Strategies to Begin, Keep Working On, and Complete Your Projects” by academic author and coach Mary Beth Averill, who will explore 7 proven strategies for getting started, keeping at it, and finishing our projects.

Authors’ suit against Cengage hits snags

In October 2019, six authors, intending to form a class action together with other Cengage authors, filed a lawsuit against Cengage alleging that Cengage’s royalty accounting for proceeds from distribution of their products through the MindTap and Cengage Unlimited business models breached the publisher’s royalty arrangements with authors. In addition to the breach of contract claim, the authors alleged that Cengage acted in bad faith towards authors regarding the two products. Before a trial could get underway, Cengage responded by asking for all counts to be dismissed, and that the attempt to form a class action be denied.

Most useful textbook and academic posts of the week: October 16, 2020

Andre Gide once said, “The most beautiful things are those that madness prompts and reason writes.” As academic authors we balance the creative process of writing (and ideas that may be perceived as madness) with the need to express those ideas through reason and logic. Along the writing journey we have to, therefore, be willing to prompt progress with madness and continue writing with reason. In this week’s collection of articles from around the web, we find advice on both.

Included are mental models for writers, unusual essay writing tips, and completely maddening ideas like planning to rest. These are balanced with practical advice on things like style, tone and grammar, launching a book during a pandemic, and building a credible web presence.

Building content dexterity into your textbook

Recently my mentor, Paul Martinelli, was talking about creating and delivering content for various audiences and in a variety of ways. As part of his lesson, he said, “Content dexterity is key. You need to be able to speak on your subject for 3 seconds, 3 minutes, 3 hours, or 3 days”. Having taught many 3-hour class sessions in more than 20 years of teaching experience, that time period certainly is comfortable for me, but what about the others?

As textbook authors, we often write the book around the expectation of class sessions. We envision the classroom audience, the common structure of classroom time where our book will be used, and the depth and breadth of coverage of concepts necessary to meet the curriculum standards of the course. We then have a tendency to structure chapters and units around those constraints.

But I question whether that approach is effective in our current educational environment. Below I offer some ways that you might want to consider building content dexterity into your next textbook.

Most useful textbook and academic posts of the week: October 9, 2020

If you’re like most academic authors I know, you have an abundance of ideas that either keep you up at night or wake you up early in the morning. Ray Bradbury once said, “I don’t need an alarm clock. My ideas wake me.” These ideas matter. Not all of them will become published manuscripts, but they all matter. They move you forward and it’s important that you get them out through your writing.

There will be periods of time when the ideas flow more readily and others where you may spend more time searching (or researching) for them, but wherever you are in that cycle, let them awaken you to the possibilities of what you have to contribute through your work. Happy writing!

Are you good enough?

We all have a little voice inside our head. Sometimes it is a coach, or a bully, or a nag, or a guide. The voice can be the driving force behind some of our decisions, fortunately or unfortunately. It can guide relationships, career choices, and inevitably, our writing.

Writing, editing, and researching are solitary pursuits by nature. They can be driven forward by passion and curiosity, or promoted by achieving greater heights. But they can also be way laid by self-doubt.