Authorship Made Easy – Page 6

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

Phase II: Writing, or Do I Really Have Enough Ideas to Fill 250 Pages?

The following steps will guide you through a complete writing process.

STEP ONE: If you haven’t already done so, draft your working table of contents. This does not have to be detailed. It might consist of your main topic list and some general thoughts on what will fall under each topic. It might be a polished form of your original outline. The primary goal of this step is to identify the chapters of the book.

STEP TWO: Clearly articulate objectives and outcomes for each chapter. An objective refers to what you want students to learn in the chapter. An outcome describes what students will be able to do with what they learn. Below are some simple examples of each.

Learning Objective Example: 

In this unit, students will learn about:

  • Basic punctuation types including the period, question mark, and exclamation point;
  • Declarative, interrogative, and exclamatory sentences;
  • Audience and purpose in writing.

Learning Outcomes Example: 

By the end of the chapter, students will be able to:

  • Identify and produce the three main sentence types;
  • Punctuate each type of sentence correctly;
  • Recognize the audience and purpose of a piece of writing;
  • Articulate the audience and purpose of a piece of their own writing;
  • Use the main sentence types to write a paragraph for a specific audience and for a specific purpose.

Each chapter should have very specific objectives and outcomes, even if you do not plan to explicitly state these in the book. Having specific objectives and outcomes in mind will help you focus as you write. When developing your objectives and outcomes, there are some things to consider:

  • Does your department have course descriptions or a required curriculum?
  • Are there mandated state standards for your course?
  • Is your course a prerequisite for other courses? If so, what must students learn in your course to be prepared for subsequent coursework?

As you develop objectives and outcomes, be sure they align with any standards or requirements your school subscribes to; otherwise, you may not be able to use your book in your class.

With your list of chapter topics in hand and specific objectives and outcomes clarified for each chapter, you are now prepared to write your chapter features and instructional content.