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…]

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…]

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…]

The most useful textbook & academic posts of the week: October 5, 2018

"Don't let your fears overwhelm your desire." ~Sheryl SandbergThis week’s collection of posts from around the web begins with three “part two” editions of some useful blog series on dissertation writing, turning your PhD into a book, and ethical principles for independent researchers. We then include articles with insight on how the individual author is part of a larger authoring system and how to develop effective visualizations that say something solid. We close out the list with some industry news and advice on the single project awarded $4.9M in federal funding, research for social good, and the ongoing publisher battle against ResearchGate.

When facing big issues like those addressed in this week’s collection, fear can sometimes undermine success, so as you head forth this week, remember the words of Sheryl Sandberg who said, “Don’t let your fears overwhelm your desire.” Happy writing! [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…]

Welcome new members to TAA: September 2018

Welcome to TAAWith membership in TAA, you are not alone. You become part of a diverse community of textbook and academic authors with similar interests and goals. We are pleased to announce the addition of 52 new TAA members who joined us in September 2018.  [Read more…]

The most useful textbook & academic posts of the week: September 28, 2018

"It is perfectly okay to write garbage--as long as you edit brilliantly." ~C.J. CherryhAs the seasons change and the academic year starts to settle into more of a routine, for some, the writing gets easier and the schedule is set up for success. For others, the daily schedule has begun to feel more overwhelming and the ability to focus or maintain momentum may be challenging.

This week’s collection of articles from around the web includes ways to generate ideas, create a super focused workday, balance family and academic life, be ready for a change in scenery to maintain a productive writing practice, successfully build a research network, and deal with the administrative grief of academic environments. We’ve also found great insight into the rise of peer review, research ethics, read and publish models, critical thinking, and the dissemination of scientific facts.

Wherever your writing takes you this week, we hope it moves you in the direction of your goals. As C. J. Cherryh reminds us, “It is perfectly okay to write garbage–as long as you edit brilliantly.” Happy writing! [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…]

The most useful textbook & academic posts of the week: September 21, 2018

"Writing enlarges the landscape of the mind." ~V.S. PritchettIt’s hard to find a common theme among this week’s collection of articles and posts from around the web, but serendipity seems to call upon a relevance to each week’s “Monday motivation” quote (shared across TAA’s social media channels) on the collection of articles that follow in the coming days, and this week the theme that emerges seems to be on expanding ideas. Enlarge your mindset. Think bigger!

As perhaps the exception in our list, one of the articles focuses on reduction of content, however the larger goal of the post seems to be on expanding opportunity through successful funding applications as a result of the space saving tips it shares. Also making the list this week are ways to expand our thoughts about writing and revision; to expand our identity through self-identification of our roles and critical and creative thinking; to expand our reach through textbook authoring, open access, and conversion of doctoral work into books; and even a call for contributors to expand their impact through a meta-project focused on the UN’s sustainable development goals. Wherever your writing projects lead you this week, keep in mind the words of V.S. Pritchett who said, “Writing enlarges the landscape of the mind.” Happy writing! [Read more…]