Most useful textbook and academic posts of the week: March 5, 2021

“We learn more by looking for the answer to a question and not finding it than we do from learning the answer itself.” ~Lloyd AlexanderAs academics, we seek to gain and share knowledge, we look for answers and question the ones we know, and we encourage students and colleagues to continue learning and expanding their breadth of knowledge. But what happens when we don’t find an answer or, worse yet, don’t feel like we have the answer to give to someone else?

As academic and textbook authors, we are the authority – the knowledge source – in our discipline, so how could we possibly not have an answer to give, and if we don’t, then maybe we need to question whether we belong in that position of responsibility as a writer after all, don’t we? Lloyd Alexander once said, “We learn more by looking for the answer to a question and not finding it than we do from learning the answer itself.” In other words, the pursuit of knowledge (and the efforts we make to help others pursue knowledge) are actually of greater benefit than the knowledge itself.

This week’s collection of articles begins with some limiting beliefs of many writers, includes suggestions for developing your academic writing through process and practice, and ends with a modern suggestion for overcoming writer’s block. As you write this week, spend time looking (and helping others look) for answers rather than feeling as though you need to already have or provide the answers themselves. Happy writing! [Read more…]

Most useful textbook and academic posts of the week: July 24, 2020

“Without continual growth and progress, such words as improvement, achievement, and success have no meaning.” ~Benjamin FranklinHow do you define improvement, achievement, and success? Benjamin Franklin said that “without continual growth and progress, such words as improvement, achievement, and success have no meaning.” So, how do you maintain continual growth and progress to gain improvement, achievement, and success in your academic writing?

Our collection of articles from around the web this week may offer some ideas for consideration. First, find the time to write, share what you know, and be open to the value of discussion. Second, look at ways to increase impact, use the right tools for conducting and disseminating research, and remain optimistic in the face of uncertainty. Finally, consider video as a way to promote yourself as an author, promote your work, and deliver better presentations online.

Whatever your writing goals and definition of improvement, achievement, and success, I challenge you to focus on growth and progress this week to meet those goals in the future. Happy writing! [Read more…]

Most useful textbook and academic posts of the week: March 6, 2020

“Let me never fall into the vulgar mistake of dreaming that I am persecuted whenever I am contradicted.” ~Ralph Waldo EmersonIn this week’s collection of articles from around the web, we are presented with contradictions to norms and new thoughts on old processes in academic writing. “Let me never fall into the vulgar mistake of dreaming that I am persecuted whenever I am contradicted.” These words from Ralph Waldo Emerson remind us to be open-minded, to face challenges, contradictions, and reviewer comments with receptiveness rather than defensiveness.

Consider the benefits (rather than the distastefulness) of book blurbs, discussion on the discussion section of your papers, and ways to detect the crap in your research process. Examine what research looks like without a “publish or perish” mentality, for indigenous students, and when reflecting your work in your lifestyle choices – even the clothes that you wear. Finally, open up to the possibilities of open peer review and returning to academia from industry.

Academic environments are deeply rooted in tradition but are facing dramatic changes in process and perception. New ideas can bring with them resistance and opportunities. When faced with contradiction to your beliefs or work this week, consider the opportunity and resist the urge to feel persecuted. Happy writing! [Read more…]

Textbook and academic discussions – keep them going

Roundtable Sessions 2018If you were at the 31st Annual Textbook & Academic Authoring Conference in Santa Fe, NM last weekend, you know the excitement and passion this group of authors shared throughout each session and networking opportunity. For the nearly 100 participants in the roundtable discussions held Saturday afternoon, there was much to talk about and some incredible ideas shared in the groups. Many participants expressed an interest in continuing these conversations beyond the conference. To this end, we have used the roundtable discussion topics to start eight threads in our LinkedIn group for just that reason.

If you were in attendance, we’d love for you to get the conversation started by sharing notes from the session with our LinkedIn group. If you weren’t able to attend (or were participating in another roundtable at the time), please share your insight, ideas, and questions in any or all of the discussions linked below. The roundtables just got bigger! Welcome to the table! [Read more…]