Most useful textbook and academic posts of the week: May 7, 2021

Academia serves a purpose of feeding the future, of taking minds with a limited set of knowledge and helping them realize that while they may have a perspective of vast understanding, the potential for growth and development of their understanding exists in a limitless amount of barren space. It is from this mindset that I believe C.S. Lewis claimed, “The task of the modern educator is not to cut down jungles, but to irrigate deserts.”

I have read that quote numerous times, and as an educator and author myself, taught and thought from the perspective that in a world of information overload, we are in a different era than Lewis and have a new responsibility of cutting down jungles to help our students see clearly.

For dissertation writers: When your partner wails, ‘I never see you anymore!’

You’re knee-deep or, more accurately, file/notecard/article/laptop-deep in your dissertation. You don’t hear anything around you—refrigerator opening, kids tussling, clothes washer whirring. You don’t even hear your name called for dinner. When you come up for air, you realize that your partner hasn’t spoken to you for days. When they do, it’s only to wail, I never see you anymore!”

The most useful textbook & academic writing posts of the week: July 17, 2015

No piece of writing is perfect when first written—that’s why they call it a first draft and why editing exists. Pat Thomson offers a bit of comfort in her piece this week in that all academic writers (or any writer for that matter) face the same struggles. She focuses on being ‘stuck’ with a writing piece and how to move thru it. Today, just focus on getting started and let the rest fall into place. The rest will either fall into place or, if nothing else, give you direction for where to go on the page next time you sit to write. Either way, just start and know that you can (and will) edit later.

When writing, focus on your strengths

There’s a world of knowledge out there and it all intertwines. The study of any one subject begins to touch on the boundaries of others, motivating study into the new subject. When reading and when writing, we learn new things, which could lead to feelings of treading on unfamiliar ground.

I’ve met some brilliant and hard-working people in my life in academia. I’ve met people who read articles by the bushel and books by the shelf, but I’ve never met one who had read everything worth reading. There’s too much knowledge out there for any one person to know everything there is to know and to read everything that has been written. And, of course, we recognize this; it is the motivation behind the specialization all around us. Nonetheless, it is not unusual to become paralyzed by the sense that we don’t know enough.