Authorship Made Easy – Page 3

Authorship Made Easy By Susana Christie, Developmental Editor The Cognella Guide to Writing a Textbook

STEP FOUR: Make some preliminary decisions about the structure of your chapters and the features you want to include in each of them.

If you are compiling an anthology, the Cognella Quick Guide: Building an Anthology will go over each and every step in compiling an anthology and help you decide which steps are best for your project.

If you are writing an original text, your editorial team can guide you through the wide variety of features found in college and university textbooks and help you select those that best meet the needs of your students.

In general, when deciding on the features you want to have in your chapters, you should ask yourself these questions:

  • What should I offer students before they read the main block of instructional content, so they can approach the instructional content with confidence and enthusiasm, prepared to master it?
  • How should I organize and present my instructional content so that it is clear, accessible, and engaging? How can I help students actively learn as they are reading?
  • What should I include after students have read the instructional content, so they can demonstrate their comprehension and, perhaps, have opportunities to apply what they have learned?

Answering these questions before you begin to write will make the process of writing your chapters much easier. Rather than trying to write pages of content, you can write specific features, or aspects, of the chapter.

Keep in mind that, within an anthology, the instructional content is the readings the author-editor selects. In an all-original text, the instructional content is the written portion of the chapter that is designed to teach—to share information students need to know in order to succeed in the class.

A helpful way to think about instructional content in an original book is to equate it with the lecture portion of a class session.