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

“Even the greatest was once a beginner. Don’t be afraid to take that first step.” ~ Muhammad AliWhether 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! [Read more…]

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

“Write until it becomes as natural as breathing. Write until not writing makes you anxious.” ~Christina KatzAmidst 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! [Read more…]

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

Never Give UpA 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! [Read more…]

Textbook art placement tips

In Laura Frost’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. [Read more…]

Pedagogy Corner: Placement matters! Textbook art placement

Multimedia Principles - Peach diagramWhen 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). [Read more…]