Most useful textbook and academic posts of the week: April 16, 2021

As we enter the back half of April, many of us in academia are finding students nearing the end of their academic term looking at their grades and considering what it will take to pass the class and avoid failure. Many of us, also as writers, may be facing deadlines or revisiting our goals and expectations for our writing during the same time and feeling this same sense of success or failure in our own efforts.

The spirit of academia, of learning, and of writing is one of process more than events.

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

What’s your purpose as an academic author? According to Albert Camus, “The purpose of a writer is to keep civilization from destroying itself.” Our work as academic and textbook authors can have significant influence on our colleagues, our field, and society at large. So, do you know your purpose? And, are you fulfilling it?

We begin this week’s collection of articles from around the web with questions that probe the concept of purpose as researchers and authors. We then explore topics of support for our writing, pursuit of relevance, societal impact, and trust & credibility.

Most useful textbook and academic posts of the week: November 20, 2020

Some things are nearly certain in academic writing – especially uncertainty. Our collection of articles from around the web this week begins with embracing uncertainty for greater productivity and includes other valuable insight and resources.

Included in the list are the value of intellectual engagement, prompts for writing with literature, visuals in research, and safeguarding your research. The key to overcoming uncertainty, however, is to write. And to write now. Henry David Thoreau once said, “Write while the heat is in you. … The writer who postpones the recording of his thoughts uses an iron which has cooled to burn a hole with.” Happy writing!

Most useful textbook and academic posts of the week: August 7, 2020

Textbook and academic writing is hard work. It’s a tiring endeavor. It stretches the individual and the discipline with each new publication. To be successful, though, we need to consider the words of David Goggins who said, “Don’t stop when you’re tired. Stop when you’re done.”

Whether you are starting a literature review, attempting to describe theoretical, conceptual, or analytical frameworks, editing a book, or simply editing your work for your reader, our collection of articles this week has some advice to keep you moving forward in your efforts to reach your goal.

Most useful textbook and academic posts of the week: April 10, 2020

Whether you just started an academic writing career or you have been publishing journal articles and textbooks for years, the sudden changes in recent weeks can have us all feeling like beginners.

This week’s collection of articles discusses topics of researching in a digital world, changes in the academic library, considerations related to PhD pursuits during COVID-19, and do’s and don’ts for using visuals during virtual meetings. We close the collection with articles about getting by and getting on and publishing models in an open age.

Muhammad Ali once said, “Even the greatest was once a beginner. Don’t be afraid to take that first step.” Whether your first step or your next first step – Happy writing!

Most useful textbook and academic posts of the week: March 27, 2020

Amidst the stress and constant concern associated with the COVID-19 worldwide pandemic crisis, I had greatly hoped to present non-pandemic related content in this list of articles from around the web. Of course, I knew that would be a long-shot, but I was hopeful regardless. As textbook and academic authors, we are unfortunately not immune to the “real world” issues that span the globe and this list demonstrates some of the ways our academic community has been impacted by the novel coronavirus and how we are addressing the related effects.

Included in the collection are tips for writing while distracted, continuing research efforts and managing the risks associated with the pandemic, and completing PhD defenses virtually. There are also articles on imagining forward, the impact of COVID-19 on academic conferences, and methods for teaching online. Finally, there is an opinion article on the importance of coming together as an academic community in times of crisis.

Anxiety is inevitable at times like this. Writing, for many of us, can be an outlet for that stress and concern. To maintain a healthy writing habit during this time of crisis, it may even be helpful to follow the advice of Christina Katz who said, “Write until it becomes as natural as breathing. Write until not writing makes you anxious.” Happy writing!

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

A common theme has surfaced throughout this week in various places. Perhaps it’s that we’re at that point in January where many are giving up on their New Year’s resolutions. Perhaps it’s because in my academic circles most students are past the point of getting their money back for the semester. Perhaps it’s because there are so many reasons to quit and so many opportunities to start something new in the modern world. Whatever the reason, perhaps you’ve figured out that the theme that has emerged this week is perseverance.

Our collection of articles from around the web share this theme as well – whether you are working to finish an article or dissertation, are considering innovative research with inherent risks, or you’re battling bureaucratic obstructions in your pursuits. Whatever challenges you are facing this week – never give up – PERSEVERE!

Olympic gold medalist, Kerry Walsh, once said, “That wall is your mind playing a trick on you. You just need to say, ‘One more step, I can do this; I have more in me.’ You will be so proud of yourself once you push yourself past your threshold.” Happy writing!

Textbook art placement tips

In Laura Foster’s article “Placement Matters! Textbook Art Placement” in the Fall 2019 edition of The Academic Author, she makes excellent points about the importance of art positioning in a textbook and the challenges to accomplish this. By placing art directly where students will “see” it when they need it, i.e. near the in-text callout, we support their learning. If the art is not immediately visible to them, they are less likely to reference it. Appropriate placement also supports instructors who wish to refer to the art during a classroom discussion. I thought I would take a moment to share my experience and solutions.

Pedagogy Corner: Placement matters! Textbook art placement

When your textbook moves from the manuscript phase to the production phase, your publisher’s composition team might have different ideas about where your figures and photos should be placed than what you had envisioned. What can you do (besides get angry) when your callout appears at the bottom of page 37 and the figure doesn’t appear until the bottom of page 38 after a page turn? Justify your requests with research! According to the Multimedia Principle, people learn more deeply from words and pictures than from words alone. For authors interested in the wealth of research that supports this, I highly recommend Richard Mayer’s book, Multimedia Learning, published by Cambridge University Press (2009).