How two co-authors have worked together successfully at a distance

The UX Book: Agile UX Design for a Quality User Experience, 2nd ed.All writing projects have their own challenges and opportunities. When working with a co-author, there can be additional challenges to ensure that the manuscript is completed in a way that ultimately reflects a single published voice while covering all of the required topic areas.

In this article, Rex Hartson and Pardha Pyla, co-authors of the award-winning textbook, The UX Book 2 (Morgan Kauffman Publishing, 2019), share our experience of success working together at a distance. We have offered the following insight on how to manage issues of version control, file sharing, managing “pen” ownership, change tracking, handing off the pen, and organizing difficult text. [Read more…]

Most useful textbook and academic posts of the week: May 15, 2020

“Life changes very quickly, in a very positive way, if you let it.” ~Lindsey Vonn“Life changes very quickly, in a very positive way, if you let it.” This advice from former World Cup alpine ski racer and four-time champion, Lindsey Vonn, frames this week’s collection and is, perhaps, exactly what we all need to hear in our efforts to move forward from the chaos that has dominated our lives and academic communities over the past couple of months.

A little more than two months since the first round of US-based closures in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, we are seeing a new “normal” emerge in the wake as transition to virtual instruction, cancellation of in-person events, and an acceptance of unexpected change has led people to a new way of living, learning, and working. And it can’t be in a perpetual state of pause.

There is something to be said for a state of consistency in what we can maintain – such as the approach to drafting a research paper. There is also a need to eventually, and perhaps now, summon the courage to reassess and rebuild our lives. There are also a number of new opportunities that have been uncovered as a result of the unexpected disruption to life as we knew it only a few short months ago.

All of these things are addressed in this week’s collection of articles from around the web. While there’s no doubt that life has changed quickly, it is up to you to determine if you will let that change be a positive way for you moving forward. Happy writing! [Read more…]

Lessons learned from false starts

unfinished puzzlesWe are all parts of various communities. The ones we physically live in. Our extended family is a community. You are part of an academic discipline which is an important group, as is where you work.

As a writer (even a beginner), you are part of a community. I do worry sometimes, that the writing community is made up a large group of individuals each on their own island. Each of us may be experiencing the same challenges and be suffering them in silence as we try to solve own our issues. Groups like TAA and this blog help address challenges. How do you create a writing schedule and stick to it? How do you approach revising your own work? When is your project “done” and ready for submission? [Read more…]

Overcoming the five factors that complicate peer collaboration

Collaboration with peers is different from collaboration with a peer. It’s complicated.In her most recent webinar, “Practical Strategies for Collaborating with Peers”, Janet Salmons shared her experience in collaborative projects telling the audience that “collaboration with peers is different from collaboration with a peer. It’s complicated.” The larger the group, the more complicated the factors affecting collaboration become.  

Regardless, according to Salmons, the sooner that these five common factors are identified, the sooner they can be addressed, and the potential damage they can cause is more likely to be avoided. So, what are these five common factors that complicate peer collaboration? [Read more…]

A new page

everyday is a fresh startThe 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. [Read more…]

Most useful textbook and academic posts of the week: December 6, 2019

“The road to hell is paved with works-in-progress.” - Philip RothPhilip Roth once said, “The road to hell is paved with works-in-progress.” Compared with the popular saying that references good intentions, from a writer’s perspective works-in-progress are certainly the physical remnants of our good, yet unfinished, intentions. But there are a lot of things competing with our time and making it difficult to finish those intended projects.

This week’s collection of articles seems to address some of those issues. For starters, there may be things you want to read that the full text may or may not be worth the time, or you may be managing a heavy teaching load, juggling multiple writing projects, or trying to select the right journal for your work. All well-intentioned, but perhaps resulting in works-in-progress on the highway to hell. Other good intentions in our industry come with their own potential problems or unintended consequences. Some of these are also addressed below, including: giving feedback on academic writing, accepting people with disabilities, blogging efforts, faculty authoring, open access initiatives, and publishing industry mergers.

Whatever path your writing takes you this week, set your mindset and destination for better. Find ways to finish the projects you start, especially those with your best of intentions, and explore new ways to accomplish your writing goals. Happy writing! [Read more…]

AcWriMo starts tomorrow – see what we have planned

AcWriMo 2019Established in 2011, Academic Writing Month (AcWriMo) is “a month-long academic write-a-thon that happens every November”. Here at TAA, we have continued to plan special opportunities for our members to engage in AcWriMo as a group to enhance their individual writing efforts. Some of our members have also created or sponsored additional AcWriMo events throughout the month.

This year, TAA has decided to focus on a theme of “Distinguishing features of academic writing”. Specifically, we have used a list of academic writing features to further focus our weekly TweetChat discussions and shared resources to include: academic precision, complexity, formality, objectivity, and accuracy. Below are several of the planned activities we have scheduled for AcWriMo 2019. [Read more…]

Academic Writing Month: Community and progress

AcWriMo is coming soonOne book to complete, another one to start. It must be time for Academic Writing Month! November is almost here, and writers around the world will be looking for tips and encouragement so they can make progress on articles, books, theses, or dissertations. We’ll share strategies, progress, and frustrations using the #AcWriMo hashtag.

Writing is typically a solitary occupation. Even when we are co-authoring, a lot of work is done on our own. And for most of us, the concept of a “book leave” or a sabbatical—undistracted time to focus on our writing—is the stuff of dreams. While we struggle to make sense of our thoughts and interpret research for our readers, life goes on. Dinner needs cooking, partners and kids need attention, and students expect us in class. [Read more…]

6 Steps to organizing for collaborative advantage for writers

collaboration hi-fiveIn her recent TAA webinar, “Mentor, Coach, Supervisor: Collaborative Ways to Work with Writers”, Janet Salmons defined collaboration as “an interactive process that engages two or more individuals or groups who work together to achieve outcomes they could not accomplish independently”. During the session, she shared details about her taxonomy of collaboration and strategies for successful collaboration among academic writers.

In summary of the process for implementing the taxonomy of collaboration and organizing an environment suitable for creating a collaborative advantage for writers, she shared the following six steps. [Read more…]

4 benefits of using Trello as an academic

publishing pipeline on paperIn March 2019, Angelique M. Davis, Associate Professor of Political Science and Director of Global African Studies at Seattle University; and academic editor and writing consultant, Rose Ernst, presented a TAA webinar titled “How Trello Can Transform Your Life as an Academic”. For those unfamiliar with the tool, Trello is a collaborative platform that uses boards, lists, and cards to organize projects.

During this event, Davis and Ernst incorporated a demonstration and template of a Trello board based on Erin Furtak’s publishing pipeline. As related to the publishing pipeline, they shared the following four specific benefits academics can gain by using Trello. [Read more…]