Writing in tribute: Don’t wait for the eulogy!

Thank youRecently I received some professional praise and recognition. One was in public,  the TAA Mike Keedy Award and the other was in private, a few sentences in an other-wise business-as-usual email. At first, I felt simply flattered. How nice! But as I reflected on the comments, I realized they were more than just sweet talk. The remarks confirmed that I am making progress toward accomplishing what I have set out to do at this point in my career. They helped me confirm priorities and set steps for continued improvement. In the digital age, we can write, post, and give webinars. We can read site analytics, but we can’t read the audience. Are they paying attention or are eyelids drooping? Are they reading or just scrolling? In absence of visual cues, it helped me to hear that my messages are getting through. [Read more…]

Pedagogy of the book and chapter questions

teachDoes the organization of the textbook relate to pedagogical approaches used to teach with it? I considered this question in relation to chapter organization in a previous post. In this post I will explore another part of the typical textbook chapter: questions.

Flip to the end of a textbook chapter, and you will usually find a list of questions, exercises, or other suggested assignments. Sometimes you will find additional learning activity ideas and resources on the companion website. Do they serve a purpose, or do readers flip past to get to the next assigned reading? [Read more…]

Write with purpose, publish for impact

This post was originally published on SAGE MethodSpace and has been republished with permission.

SAGE MethodSpace logoWhen we put our thoughts into writing and publish them, we tell the world something about who we are. We move beyond circles of people who know us — colleagues and friends– to reach readers we will never meet. They learn about us from the choices reflected in our writing. What messages do you want to convey to your readers? [Read more…]

15 Tips for engaging conference presentations

Presenter illustrationConferences offer opportunities to develop professionally, build networks, find potential collaborators, and stay up-to-date with emerging research. As presenters, conferences offer us the opportunity to try out new ideas and get input from attendees. If we use our presentation time to talk at the audience, and don’t create an environment where attendees are invited to think and contribute, we haven’t made the best use of our time. When attendees are straining to read small print from the back of a conference ballroom or trying to stay awake while you talk fast to fit every detain in during the allotted time, the usefulness of the event is diminished. [Read more…]

Co-authoring & writing collaboration: Planning strategies for success

Writing a book or an article is a demanding process in the best of circumstances. We must balance a number of internal and external factors. We must figure out how to convey our insights and experiences, research and analysis, in writing. At the same time, we must interface with the external world: schedules and deadlines, editors and publishers, and ultimately with our readers. We add another set of factors when we work with co-authors. How can we navigate all of these dimensions in ways that allow us to collectively produce our best work? [Read more…]

Can writers be social online?

Can writers be social online?Social media or social web? I posed that question last year in a guest blog for the British site, Discover Society. Given recent scandals involving hacking and profile misuse on commercial social media sites, I’d like to revisit this question as it pertains to academic and textbook authors. To what extent should we post original writings on social media sites?

First, let’s distinguish between social media and social webSocial media can be defined as: “commercially-owned online platforms or applications that allow for interactions between users who can create, archive and retrieve user-generated content. [Read more…]

Pedagogy of book and chapter organization

knowledge typesDoes the organization of the textbook relate to pedagogical approaches used to teach with it? What pedagogical perspectives are represented by the organizational style we choose for a book and its chapters? These questions percolated through my work on a recently completed book manuscript. When thinking about the organization of the book, I reflected on ways people read books today and how they use them to learn. [Read more…]

Writing for readers

Writing for ReadersI am in that singular stage of insanity called finishing a book. My mind is full of details and questions such as, “did I already cover this in Chapter 1” or “do I have too many diagrams in this chapter”? At the same time, I can’t help but think about my reader.

I hope that my reader will hungrily devour the book from start to finish, stopping only to make notes about how she will put my ideas to use. I hope it will be dogeared, full of notes and highlights my reader will return to time and again. But seriously, how can we plan for the realities that will occur when masterpiece is in someone else’s hands? Here are some of my apprehensions, and the strategies I’m using to address them. [Read more…]

Academic writing: Counting words of meaning?

Academic WriterOur priorities are reflected in our sense of professional identity. Are you an academic or a writer? Are you an instructor/researcher/research supervisor/committee member/conference presentation planner (not to mention parent, community volunteer and…) who is compelled to write in order to get, keep, or advance in a desired career? Do you see yourself as a writer who uses what you learn from your life and work to inspire others? Or are you looking for the right balance? [Read more…]