Textbook and Academic Authors Share How They Use Generative AI

In a recent survey of Textbook & Academic Authors Association members about their use of Generative AI, several shared specific ways they use AI in authoring and promoting their textbooks, academic articles, and books.

Textbook Author Stephanie Lenox has used ChatGPT to write a first draft and an outline, to make the writing process more efficient, to improve the quality of her writing, and to create marketing pieces to promote her work. She has also used it for brainstorming, generating titles, summarizing, refining conference proposals, and editing.

“AI helps me take the emotion out of my writing process in order to overcome anxiety and just get started,” she says. “AI helps me move faster on functional writing, such as emails, so that I can concentrate my creative energy on writing that matters. I use AI like I use Wikipedia to get a sense of what is already out there. I’ve used it to generate learning objectives based on a chapter summary or to come up with 10 possible titles for a textbook based on a description I provided. I’ve also used it to identify grammatical issues or logical fallacies in texts and explain what’s wrong and how to fix it. I rarely use it for purely generative reasons because AI tends to be overly enthusiastic in its responses.”

More Archival Topics From TAA’s Print Newsletter with Commentary From Long-Time Member Phil Wankat

Long-time TAA Member Phil Wankat has dug back into his TAA print newsletter archive, this time into the black-and-white early issues published between 1994 and 2010, finding more gold to share with you along with his brief commentary of the value of each article.

We will be adding these articles to the web page, “Articles from TAA Report Archives (now The Academic Author) with Commentary,” along with the other articles he shared from the TAA Report, over the next few months. The articles are organized into 12 categories, including Authors Needed, Bios, Contracts and Legal Comments, Diversity, Managing and Planning, Money, Production, Publishing first book, Recognition and Rewards, Teaching, Textbook Scholarship and Textbooks in Promotion Cases, and Writing and Writer’s Block.
The first set of articles we are sharing, in the Authors Needed category, include:

“Co-authoring a book originally written by another,” by Frank Silverman. “Look for a book that has an author who is retired, or close to retirement or, well, deceased,” says Wankat.

“Authors uneasy over Pearson deal.” “Big mergers ‘reduce the opportunities for new authors and even close the door on experienced authors,'” says Wankat.

TAA Members Say They Want More How-tos, Strategies, Tools

On October 3, 2023, TAA sent 2,115 members the first in a series of survey questions the association will use in preparation for a meeting of the TAA Council and staff in January 2024. The responses to these questions will be used to determine how the association can best serve members over the next year.

Of the 101 members who responded to the question, “As a TAA member, what do you want more of?,” more than half (55%) said they wanted more how-tos, strategies, and tools. Fifteen percent said they wanted more educational offerings, and 13% said they wanted information that will help them negotiate better contracts. Eight percent want advocacy on issues they care about, and 4% said they wanted opportunities to connect with other members.

TAA Member Receives Research Grant From NSF for Wiki Education Project

TAA Member Dr. Brian R. Shmaefsky, Professor of Biology & Environmental Science at Lone Star College – Kingwood, received a research grant from the National Science Foundation (NSF) to engage students from a Hispanic-serving institution to write Wikipedia biographical entries of Hispanic scientists who are underrepresented in Wikipedia. The goal is to improve the visibility and reduce citation inequity of scientists from marginalized populations.

TAA Member Phil Wankat: Notable Cartoons from the ‘TAA Report’

The second installment of TAA Member Phil Wankat’s curation and commentary of the archival issues of the TAA Report (now The Academic Author), Cartoons, is now available.

Wankat selected articles that have information that is still valid today, and included commentary on each. We will be adding these articles to the web page, “Articles from TAA Report Archives (now The Academic Author) with Commentary,” over the next few months. The articles are organized into 10 categories, including Authors Needed, Cartoons, Contracts, Ethics, Money, Production, Recognition and Rewards, Software, Textbooks as Scholarship, and Writer’s Block. The first installment was Authors Needed.

Long-time TAA Member Phil Wankat Goes Back Into the TAA Newsletter Archives and Finds Gold

TAA Member Phil Wankat, who joined TAA in 1989, pored over his archival issues of the TAA Report (now The Academic Author), selected articles that have information that is still valid today, and included commentary on each. We will be adding these articles to the web page, “Articles from TAA Report Archives (now The Academic Author) with Commentary,” over the next few months. The articles are organized into 10 categories, including Authors Needed, Cartoons, Contracts, Ethics, Money, Production, Recognition and Rewards, Software, Textbooks as Scholarship, and Writer’s Block. The first installment is Authors Needed.