What do modern students want in a textbook? Writers want to know.

tablet with ebook in front of stack of print booksI was intrigued by an article in Research Information, a newsletter for libraries and publishers. “The rise and rise of e-reading” discussed the growth in electronic textbooks and articles. As a writer I have been intrigued by the potential for embedding interactive components and live links in texts, but disappointed to find that such materials are more typically relegated to a companion website. In my previous faculty role, I noticed a gap between the university’s enthusiasm for adopting e-books, and my students’ preference for paper textbooks. As a reader, I prefer e-books when I read for enjoyment, but usually like paper when I am working with textbooks. I thought I’d dig a bit more, and share what I discover with you, my fellow writers.

What did publishers say in “The rise and rise of e-reading”? [Read more…]

3/13 TAA Webinar: “Show Me! The Art of Using Visual Elements to Enhance a Manuscript”

Eric SchmiederVisual elements, such as tables and figures, can improve the readability and overall quality of a manuscript when used properly. After all, a picture speaks a thousand words, right? But poorly developed images can be more distracting than helpful. Join us Wednesday, March 13 from 11 a.m. – 12 p.m. ET for the TAA webinar,  Show Me! The Art of Using Visual Elements to Enhance a Manuscript, where textbook author Eric Schmieder will highlight ways to effectively incorporate visual elements into your journal articles and textbooks. He’ll also share some important tips for maintaining accessibility guidelines in the process. [Read more…]

TAA announces 2019 Textbook Award winners

2019 TAA Textbook Award WinnersThirty-one textbooks have been awarded 2019 Textbook Awards by the Textbook & Academic Authors Association (TAA). Four textbooks received William Holmes McGuffey Longevity Awards, 17 textbooks received Textbook Excellence Awards, and ten textbooks received Most Promising New Textbook Awards.

The McGuffey Longevity Award recognizes textbooks and learning materials whose excellence has been demonstrated over time. The Textbook Excellence Award recognizes excellence in current textbooks and learning materials. The Most Promising New Textbook Award recognizes excellence in 1st edition textbooks and learning materials.

The awards will be presented during an awards reception at TAA’s 32nd Annual Textbook & Academic Authoring Conference in Philadelphia, PA, June 14, 2019. [Read more…]

Special features of TAA award-winning textbooks: From the awardees

Textbook Excellence Award WinnerAt the 31st Annual Textbook & Academic Authoring Conference in Santa Fe, NM, TAA members Al Trujillo and Dave Dillon hosted a panel of textbook award-winning authors to share features that they considered instrumental in the success of their books.

The panel consisted of Karen Morris, co-author of Hotel, Restaurant, and Travel Law: A Preventive Approach, 8th Edition, Kathleen P. King, author of Technology and Innovation in Adult Learning, and the authoring team for Calculus for the AP Course, 2nd Edition, Michael Sullivan and Kathleen Miranda. Below is a summary of the textbook features they felt were most significant in the achievement of their 2018 Textbook Excellence awards. [Read more…]

Can I help you in any way? Learning objectives

Can I help you in any way? Learning objectives“Hello, thank you for visiting. Can I help you in any way?” If you’ve browsed our TAA website, you’ve likely seen those words in the chat box that appears on the screen. We’re often asked by visitors if we’re “real” (as opposed to an automated bot). Then those who realize that we are, and that we are there to help, ask questions that you may have as well.

In this series of “Can I help you in any way?” posts, we’ll highlight some of the questions people have asked through the TAA Live Chat feature of our site and the responses we have for those questions.

In this post, we’re focused on a question about the importance of learning objectives when writing a textbook. [Read more…]

Leveraging our authoring experience in electronic media

new ideasThe publishing industry is quickly evolving, and with it, the role of an author is changing as well. Where once instructional and academic material was destined mainly for a printed book or journal article, today the landscape looks very different, with electronic media options continually growing. But while these changes can be disorienting for experienced and new authors alike, the new world of electronic media offers many new opportunities for people with specialized knowledge, strong communication skills, and the ability to meet deadlines. Whether you want to supplement existing written work or work in a new medium altogether, the opportunities are exciting – and perhaps the best part is that you don’t need an acquisitions editor to get started! [Read more…]

The stuff our books are made of – Part 1

dictionaryThere is terminological chaos in the education culture. Yes, this is about the words we use as authors. More specifically, it is about the language of instruction, not about cellulose and silicone.

As Aristotle put it,

“For as long as it is not clear in how many senses a term is used, it is possible that the answerer and the questioner are not directing their minds upon the same thing,… [and, therefore] It often happens that a difficulty is found in discussing or arguing a given position because the definition has not been correctly rendered.”

The stuff our books are made of is extremely important because classroom teachers rely instructionally on textbooks for engaging subject matter. [Read more…]

12/11 TAA Webinar: Video Creation for Textbook Authors and Instructors

Sasha VodnikVideos are increasingly integral to the learning process. As a textbook author, you can increase the value of your book for both students and instructors by creating and publishing videos linked to your content. As an instructor, videos you create to supplement your course can help students review and retain material outside the classroom. Join us Tuesday, December 11 from 1-2 p.m. ET for the TAA webinar, “Video Creation for Textbook Authors and Instructors,” where presenter Sasha Vodnik, a computer programming textbook author, will survey free tools for recording and production, as well as popular paid alternatives, and examine the tradeoffs. He’ll also walk through the steps to record video and audio, put it together, and publish it online.

Register today! [Read more…]

Textbook authors settle lawsuit over Cengage Unlimited

Choices in RelationshipsTextbook authors David Knox and Caroline Schacht have settled their lawsuit with Cengage over its Cengage Unlimited subscription service for an undisclosed sum. Under the terms of the agreement, the rights to the authors’ textbook, Choices in Relationships, will revert back to them, and Cengage will receive all rights to the authors’ remaining textbooks, Marriage and the Family, and Understanding Social Problems.

Cengage authors David Knox and Caroline Schacht filed a class action lawsuit against Cengage on May 14, claiming the company’s emphasis on digital distribution, including its new Cengage Unlimited model and expanded digital courseware offerings, violated their publishing agreements, and that the company was refusing to provide information that would allow them to audit their royalty payments. [Read more…]

Purdue global nondisclosure agreement runs roughshod over faculty rights

documentThe American Association of University Professors (AAUP) has released a copy of a four-page non-disclosure agreement that appears to be a condition of employment for Purdue Global employees, including instructional faculty, that states that any work product, including all course materials “or other intellectual property that arises in any part in the course of … employment at Purdue Global, is commissioned and owned by Purdue Global as a work-for-hire and may not be used, duplicated or distributed outside of Purdue Global.” [Read more…]