Voice of editors is a blog from the AGU Publications Department.
AGU recently introduced a new series to its portfolio of books. Advanced Manuals are designed to support higher-level undergraduate and graduate courses, bridging the gap between fundamentals and critical analysis, and containing a variety of materials to support teaching and learning. I asked Summers Scholl, physical science editor at Wiley, to explain how advanced textbooks differ from other types of textbooks and to offer advice for people considering writing a textbook. I also asked him about recently released and upcoming titles in the series.
What are the main features of Advanced Textbooks?
Advanced textbooks support courses for undergraduate, graduate, and even graduate students. Rather than showcasing emerging trends or cutting-edge science, they allow students to understand and engage with the field’s primary literature. They draw a line between conceptual understanding and critical thinking. AGU’s portfolio, which covers topics spanning the spectrum of earth and space science, includes textbooks that allow students to explore the scientific and societal challenges facing our planet, humanity, and the planet. environment are faced.
What advice do you have for someone considering writing an advanced textbook?
Writing an advanced textbook is a great opportunity to influence how concepts are taught and viewed in science history. You can have a lasting impact on a new generation of scientists, contribute to the canon of thought leadership, and write a textbook confers professional prestige.
Think about the undergraduate and graduate courses you teach or a new course you would like to create. Do these courses have a main resource to anchor the lectures? If not, it’s the perfect motivation to write an advanced textbook. The course structure can provide the outline of book chapters and you can include additional educational content.
What are some of the essential things to think about when preparing an advanced textbook proposal?
An important thing to consider is whether you want to write the book alone or in collaboration with a colleague. It is important that there is a consistent “voice” throughout the volume, which is more difficult to achieve with a large group of writers. For this reason, advanced textbooks tend to be written by one or two people, or sometimes a small team, depending on the areas of expertise needed. Writing a solo book is a substantial commitment that should not be underestimated.
A certain level of knowledge is assumed for students taking advanced courses, but as course levels vary around the world, it is worth considering the prerequisites needed to understand the content of your book. What core courses should students have already taken? What concepts or techniques should they already know?
Another thing to consider is how you would like readers to interact with the book’s content. Advanced courses tend not to have extensive learning management systems as seen in introductory textbooks (such as interactive test banks, adaptive learning components, etc.), but we encourage advanced textbooks to contain educational features for students and instructors. These may include but are not limited to problem sets, solutions manual for instructors, learning objectives, concept section titles, illustrated or worked examples, learning outcomes, key concepts and case studies.
What advanced manuals have been released so far and what else is in the works?
So far, four books have been published in the AGU Advanced Textbook series, and you can already see the wide range of AGU topics.
The next book to appear in the Advanced Textbook series will be Data analysis and modeling metrics, which will be a useful resource for students of all physical and natural sciences. It explores different data processing methods and key concepts such as uncertainty, comparison and visualization, drawing on data from real geophysical observations.
Over the coming year we will publish more advanced textbooks on topics such as groundwater dynamics, rock physics, natural hazards, salt basins, atmospheric optics, mudstone sedimentology and calculation in seismology.
What should people do if they have an idea for a textbook or want to buy or use a textbook?
We welcome proposals for advanced textbooks in all areas of Earth and space science. To discuss your idea, please contact [email protected] If you are ready to write a proposal, please see these guidelines.
You can find books published on Wiley.com. If you would like to adopt an existing advanced textbook for a course you teach, click “Request a digital evaluation copy” on the product page of your book of interest.
—Jenny Lunn, Director of Publications, American Geophysical Union ([email protected];