The most useful textbook & academic posts of the week: September 7, 2018

"The only thing I was fit for was to be a writer, and this notion rested solely on my suspicion that I would never be fit for real work, and that writing didn't require any." ~Russell BakerRussell Baker once said, “The only thing I was fit for was to be a writer, and this notion rested solely on my suspicion that I would never be fit for real work, and that writing didn’t require any.” As writers, we can certainly acknowledge the work such a craft requires, and in the genres of academic and textbook authoring the wide range of additional concerns for balance, accuracy, research integrity, and innovation in our writing efforts.

This week our collection of posts from around the web begins with a question, “Are there only four kinds of writers?” inspired by Gretchen Rubin’s book, The four tendencies. This evaluation of a writer is paired with authoring benefits, ways to improve academic output, time and energy management, research methods, diversity in peer review, critical and creative thinking, and privacy in user research – all factors of consideration for the academic author, regardless the type. Finally, we close this week’s list with considerations of the future of our profession, with new approaches to textbook development and e-book potential, the realities of open source and scholarly publishing, and significant changes in the trend toward open access in scientific publishing.

As you embark on your writing efforts in the week ahead, I encourage you to recognize and embrace the real work involved in the writing process and to find encouragement and support to continue those efforts. Happy writing! [Read more…]

The most useful textbook & academic posts of the week: December 15, 2017

"Writing is something I do everyday. If I waited for inspiration, I'd never get anything done." ~Lawrence C. ConnollyHalfway through the final month of the year, as the fall semester comes to an end for academics, we’re often faced with a mix of emotions related to the satisfying end of one term, the upcoming holiday “break” ahead, and the new challenges that await in the new year. It can be a time of reflection, gratitude, stress, innovation, or a multitude of these and other feelings. Our selection of articles this week reflect all of them.

We begin with gratitude and praise for the family members, especially academic spouses, who support us throughout the year, and tackle the stress of stalls in our progress and ways to break through the doldrums. We then explore some of the concerns facing academic and textbook authors, such as predatory publishers and the consideration of e-books vs. physical textbooks. [Read more…]

How to make your textbook more accessible to students with disabilities

Sandra Ho and Tamara Rorie

Sandra Ho and Tamara Rorie presented a session at TAA’s 2012 June conference titled, “How Authors Can Help Students with Disabilities.”

During the 2008-2009 school year, 2,266,000 students with disabilities were enrolled in U.S. postsecondary educational institutions, comprising 10.8 percent of the total undergraduate student body. These students represent a significant textbook market segment with specific requirements that need to be addressed by authors.

At TAA’s June conference, Sandra Ho, manager of the Student E-rent Pilot Project (STEPP), and Tamara Rorie, Esq., contracts and compliance manager for the Alternative Media Access Center, shared ideas for how to accommodate this student population with e-textbooks in a presentation entitled “How Authors Can Help Individuals with Print Disabilities.” [Read more…]