Summer 2020 TAA Writing Gym receives high marks, praise

Writing GymEighty authors participated in TAA’s six-week Summer 2020 Writing Gym, which was held July 20-August 31. The gym included templates for tracking writing time and developing a six-week workout plan, a TAA Writing Gym-branded writing journal, weekly inspirational emails, 6 on-demand writing classes, several writing stations that allowed participants to target specific writing areas, and a Facebook Group for networking with other gym members.

In a survey sent out after the close of the summer gym, the majority of respondents gave the gym 5 stars, and rated features like the Facebook Group and Writing Classes as Very High Quality or Quality. “I loved the writing gym. It helped me get on track with my writing. The videos and short articles helped me with goal setting, organization, writing tips, etc. I highly recommend participating in the writing gym,” said Leslie Koberna. Most respondents said they averaged 2-4 days per week of writing while participating in the gym. Said Koberna: “Most of the time, I averaged 4 days a week, but the last two weeks I worked 6 days a week on my writing:).” [Read more…]

Reflecting diversity, equity, and inclusion in our publications

library bookshelfI’ll never forget that encounter I had with Kathy a number of years ago. Kathy and I are friends now, but I’d never met her before that moment when she introduced herself at our annual anatomy and physiology (A&P) teaching conference. She asked if I had a moment to chat about how illustrations are chosen for textbooks. As you can imagine, I love talking about the process of creating textbooks, so we stepped aside for a quick chat.

It turns out that she was chatting up as many A&P textbook authors as she could, including a few other TAA members, with a question that stemmed from her interest in diversity issues. Kathy wanted to know about the illustration process because she wanted to know why women and other groups were underrepresented. [Read more…]

Most useful textbook and academic posts of the week: September 4, 2020

“The greatest part of a writer’s time is spent in reading, in order to write; a man will turn over half a library to make one book.” ~Samuel JohnsonSamuel Johnson once said, “The greatest part of a writer’s time is spent in reading, in order to write; a man will turn over half a library to make one book.” Our collection of articles from around the web are ones worth reading, beginning with a typology of books you may want to read to improve your writing craft.

Next, we have content on FAIR data principles for promoting open research data, ways to deal with writing tasks in college, and methods of addressing life’s challenges that may be affecting your writing practice. Finally, we explore qualitative research in a digital world, dealing with rejection, defeating self-doubt, and the function of academic book publishers.

This week, balance your writing with reading, with growing, and with becoming a stronger writer in your discipline. Happy writing! [Read more…]

5 Tips for strengthening your qualitative research and writing

Qualitative research methods allow investigators to go beyond merely counting how often something occurs or with how many individuals. Rather, they provide insights in to how or why certain actions are taken or the ways in which people interact with or interpret their lived experiences. This added richness can be critical to forming effective interventions to create behavior change, which is common in not just health and medicine but educational practice as well. Yet, many researchers are hesitant to journey into qualitative research beyond a few open-ended survey questions, due to concerns about qualitative research lacking the rigor and validity of quantitative studies. Although there are many approaches to qualitative research and the accepted norms for conducting and writing up this type of research can vary according to your academic discipline, the following five tips can help provide a solid foundation for starting your qualitative journey. [Read more…]

Jumpstart your writing productivity this fall: Join the TAA Writing Gym

Writing GymFlex your writing muscles in the TAA Writing Gym! This 6-week work-out-on-your-own gym time will serve as your writing accountability partner as you work to achieve your writing goals. The gym is open to those writing textbooks, scholarly journal articles, and dissertations.

Here’s what previous Writing Gym participants have had to say:

“The presentations are very inspiring. Over the last two weeks, I managed to complete and submit a manuscript that I stopped working on for 3 months now and to start the outline for my textbook.” – Andrea McDonald, Ph.D., Assistant Professor, Prairie View A&M University, Department of Health and Kinesiology [Read more…]

What can Learning Science teach textbook authors?

At a 2019 national sales meeting, my publisher Macmillan Learning, hosted a luncheon for textbook authors with our Learning Science team. This was my first opportunity to learn about what learning science does – their research and how findings might guide textbook organization, content and revisions as well as pedagogical approaches and application. For example, through analytics the learning science team can track where students spend their time in digital formats reflecting potential confusion, but also interest.  Their research can help determine what might be most effective for student engagement and assessment.

Here I am pleased to ask a few questions of Erin Scully, Senior Director, Learning Design & Ed Research with Macmillan Learning, to provide insights into ways learning science can augment textbook quality and influence our pedagogical approach. [Read more…]

The new academic year – Virtually the same as any other

virtual learningBy now the academic term is in effect at schools across the country. And it’s business as usual – well virtually, at least. There’s no doubt that amid the strange circumstances of this pandemic year, a lot has changed in the way academia is operating. Socially distanced classrooms, masked faces throughout the hallways, limited gatherings on campus, and new methods of course delivery to support faculty and learners who remain off campus are just a few of the changes seen as we start the new academic year.

Despite all this change, the new academic year is still an academic year and we still have the business of teaching, learning, and scholarly writing to attend to along the way. So, here are five suggestions to maintain a virtually successful academic practice. [Read more…]

Welcomed addition to my professional library: Review of ‘Guide to Making Time to Write’

Guide to Making Time to WriteThe new self-help book, Guide to Making Time to Write: 100 + Time & Productivity Management Tips for Textbooks and Academic Authors, is a welcomed addition to my professional library. My only negative comment is that I needed it thirty years ago!

Authors often have two major issues when developing a manuscript: 1) how to make it professional quality, and 2) how they will ever have time to write it. There is a myth that every author wants to write the great American novel. That is not true. What we really want is to have written the great American novel. It is hard work and takes hours of time to develop a professional quality manuscript. This is where the guide becomes my Bible. [Read more…]

Manuscript matchmaking: Finding a home for your article 

With so many options, finding the right home for your manuscript can seem daunting. However, with a few useful tools, you can quickly and confidently locate publication venues appropriate for your work. In this article, you’ll be introduced to two such tools: Scopus Sources and the Web of Science Master Journal List.

Free to use, Scopus Sources allows authors to search for publications indexed in Scopus, an abstract and citation database from Elsevier. Scopus Sources is easy to search. Once you’ve performed a simple keyword search at the top of the page, you can refine your result list further by utilizing the limiters on the sidebar. For instance, you can limit by the open-access status of a publication, minimum number of citations, minimum number of documents, and by specific types of publications (such as journals, conference proceedings, etc.). [Read more…]

Write a syllabus for yourself

write a syllabus for yourselfIt’s that time of year when faculty are revising syllabi for the classes they teach and students are reviewing those documents in an effort to understand the expectations for the semester ahead. Academia is fueled by the course syllabus that serves to establish intended outcomes, the path by which they will be met, and the consequences of not meeting them.

Unfortunately, the syllabi that we engage with do little (beyond assigned projects) to guide and encourage our academic writing practice. So, if you have academic writing goals that are not tied to a particular course – whether finishing a thesis or dissertation or continuing your academic publishing career – consider writing a syllabus for yourself this semester.

Here are seven things you may want to include to keep yourself motivated throughout the semester ahead. [Read more…]