Recently 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.
Does 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?
This post was originally published on SAGE MethodSpace and has been republished with permission.
When 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?
Conferences 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.
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?
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?