A new page

The year (and decade) has changed and it’s time to start anew. I am sure lots of people have personal resolutions about self-improvement, health, work, and more. I wish you well with yours and hope to keep 50% or more of mine!

As the year begins, consider what to do with existing projects. If you are staring at a blank page or a new idea, then go in peace and good luck. Many of us, however, have research or writing projects in progress. This is a good time to take stock of their status and determine how to move forward. Of course, finishing them or getting them published seems like the obvious answer. But take a moment.

Reflections on academic writing: Three insights

What do I need to write now? What will I write next? Who is expecting what from me, when? What related tasks do I need to complete, such as finalizing figures or posting to social media? How many commitments can I fit into each busy day? These are some of the questions that usually percolate through my mind. In this December Abstract post I committed to take some time for reflection. Here is the story, and lessons learned.

It seemed essential to step away from my home office workspace. I did so by taking a two-week road trip through the American Southwest. Instead of looking at a computer monitor, a panorama of mountains and desert unfolded before me.

Reflect and reboot

In my part of the world, the days are short and bright, and the nights are long and dark. Without the screen of leaves, without colors from leaves and flowers, the brilliant blue sky draws my attention. Along with these seasonal changes, we can’t help but notice that we’re on the last page of the calendar. This is a time for reflection.

Let’s face it, in the pre-smartphone days we had small reflective moments now fractured by sound bites and fragments of news or photos of elementary school friends’ new babies. How can we pull away long enough to reconsider the proverbial big picture?

Applying the theory of experiential learning to textbook writing

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How to apply the theory of experiential learning to textbook writing

Experiential learning, a four-stage cycle that accommodates four distinct types of learners, is the ideal way for people to learn. While each person will prefer one part of the cycle over others, it is important for educators to guide their students through each stage in order to achieve the best possible learning experience.

According to Dr. Alice Kolb, president of Experience Based Learning Systems, Inc., textbook authors can use the following ideas to incorporate all four stages of the experiential learning cycle and maximize the educational potential of their books:

First Stage: Concrete Experience. Vignettes or quotes can help students identify with the content of a chapter, or you can provide introductory exercises to give students an initial experience with your topic.