Application of digital education leadership knowledge and skills into a textbook co-authorship project

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Practicum project description and background:

My practicum project was the co-authorship of a revised college textbook used in my academic field of nutrition and dietetics. As a member of a professional practice group within the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, I accepted an invitation to co-author this textbook as part of a collaborative author consortium.

As a college professor, I adopted this textbook for many years in my role as instructor of a Nutrition Education & Counseling class taught to Nutrition and Dietetics majors. I know the textbook content well, but realized through my education in the DEL program that there are many aspects of digital technology that needed to be introduced and/or updated to reflect current professional uses and best practices.

I reviewed the entire book before deciding which chapters I would commit to co-authoring/revising. I selected the following four chapters since they had relevance to my practicum project lens of digital technology:

  • Chapter 11: Planning Learning
  • Chapter 12: Implementing and Evaluating Learning
  • Chapter 13: Delivering Oral Presentations
  • Chapter 14: Using Instructional Media

Project goal:

The goal of this project was to use my knowledge and skills in digital education leadership to transform the 8th edition of this textbook by advancing content/concepts in digital technology. I chose to work on chapters that either included technology, but needed to be updated, or on chapters where I envisioned introducing content incorporating use of digital technology. As a digital education leader, my contributions to this textbook will influence how college professors teach and how dietetics students learn about and utilize digital technology in their pre-professional practice and future nutrition education and counseling communications with patients, clients, colleagues, and the public.


Each chapter included a team of nutrition professionals ranging from 3-8 people per group. Each team collaborated synchronously and/or asynchronously to discuss and complete chapter edits/revisions, write multiple-choice test bank questions, update PowerPoint slides, complete a marketing questionnaire, and provide ideas for auxiliary materials. Collaboration was conducted virtually through Zoom meetings, emails, and shared Google docs.


Additionally, I volunteered to be the team leader for Chapter 14 – Using Instructional Media. I thought this would give me an additional presence as a leader in digital technology among my peers. It also offered me the opportunity to work more closely with the editors, which may open up future doors in writing and editing – something I greatly enjoy doing.  In my role as the chapter 14 lead, I was responsible for coordinating and communicating the collaborative work on this chapter, which included the following tasks:

  • Being the liaison between the editors and the chapter team
  • Ensuring that the editors had the correct and up-to-date co-author contact information
  • Creating shared Google docs for group work, including uploading Word documents from the editors into Google docs
  • Dividing up and working on chapter edits/revisions
  • Dividing up and developing new multiple-choice test bank questions
  • Completing a marketing questionnaire
  • Providing feedback on the revised book cover
  • Submitting shared work to the editors
  • Ensuring that our chapter group met multiple deadlines

Project timeline:  

Project tasksTimeframe/Dates
Initial chapter comments and edits due to editorsJune 2021
Chapter revisions due to editorsJuly 2021
Revising supporting materials, including test questions, teaching tips, forms, worksheets to enhance teaching or student work, and PowerPoint slide content critiqueAugust 2021
Final edits due to editorsSeptember 2021
Co-Author paperwork (author copyright transfer form) due to editorsOctober 2021
Author marketing questionnaires (one for each chapter) due to editorsApril 1, 2022
Review of chapter proofs from publisher due back to editorsApril – May, 2022
Revised auxiliary materials (i.e., test questions, supplemental learning materials, revised Power point slides, etc.) due to editorsMay 1, 2021

Examples of how I integrated my knowledge and skills from the DEL program into my practicum project:

As I reflect on what I have learned in the DEL program, several themes emerged that are evident in my contributions to this book authorship project. Below, I will highlight a selection of the themes, discuss how I integrated them into the textbook revisions, and provide evidence of my knowledge of these themes through prior blog posts, if appliable, on the various digital education leadership subjects.

Emphasizing the importance of digital technology in the marketing of a nutrition education and counseling textbook 

I wrote a concise marketing piece on key features of this revised textbook, which is as follows:

This is a must-have textbook for emerging dietetics professionals! Students will benefit from this textbook by gaining practical knowledge and skills necessary for supervised and professional practice. This iteration has been updated to reflect best practices in the use of digital technology in the dietetics profession. With a rapidly changing global work environment, students must be proficient and versatile in utilizing digital technology to be competitive in this increasingly tech-savvy field.

The following buzz words I provided to the editors for marketing purposes describe how the chapter revisions I worked on apply to what I learned in the DEL program:

  • Digital technology
  • Digital tools
  • Universal Design for Learning
  • Interactive white boards
  • Infographics
  • Synchronous and asynchronous learning
  • Multimedia
  • Social media
  • Virtual presentations
  • Presentation skills
  • Simulation learning
  • Flipped classroom
  • Active learning
  • Backward Design
  • Pragmatic
  • Skill-building
  • Needs assessment

Revising chapters to integrate and/or update DEL-related content

Chapter 11: Planning Learning

My contributions to this chapter included adding the concept of Backward Design, developed by Wiggins and McTighe. I also included links to applicable websites and videos on this subject in the auxiliary materials. Backward Design is a planning framework which focuses on intentionality throughout the curricular design process. Using the Backward Design framework ensures that educators determine their desired results, including learning objectives, before determining acceptable evidence and subsequent learning. activities. Below is a selection of blog posts I have written during the DEL Program that provide evidence of my understanding of this concept:

Additionally, I voiced the need to include a section on defining and structuring effective online environments for teaching and learning, which also includes considerations for learner variability. As I have learned in the DEL program, there is much to know about structuring an online environment for student success in synchronous, asynchronous, and hybrid environments. Following is a sampling of blogs posts I’ve written during the DEL program which showcase my understanding of this subject:

Chapter 12: Implementing and Evaluating Learning

In this chapter, one revision I focused on was how virtual simulations were defined and described. The last edition used the term “virtual delivery,” but no examples were provided. I expanded this section by adding in examples of technology-supported simulation learning, including computer software programs designed with 3D virtual simulation learning environments and avatars as well as computer software programs using a case study approach in a virtual learning environment. As evidence of my understanding of simulation learning, I wrote the following blog post titled, “Simulation learning in dietetics education: What options are available?”

Additionally, in this chapter I added in a few explanations about avoidance of long lectures as a preferred style of teaching, and instead focusing on active learning, which often integrates digital technology, to increase engagement and retention of learning. I wrote about active learning in the following blog posts:

Chapter 13: Delivering Oral Presentations

The updates in this chapter focused on preparing for and giving presentations, both synchronously and asynchronously, in a virtual format. Information provided includes presenter preparation as well as ways to engage and assess participants using digital tools, such as Kahoot or Poll Everywhere. The “use of visuals” section was updated to include digital tools, such as digital whiteboards, infographics, simulations, and deleting flip charts which are outdated. One example of a revision I made in this chapter is as follows:

“Digital tools can enhance a presentation by increasing engagement between the presenter and the audience, and can include polling participants in real time (e.g., Poll Everywhere), asking for the audience’s feedback, experiences, etc. (Google Jam Board), or by assessing their understanding of the material presented (e.g., Kahoot).”  

A project I worked on during the DEL program was developing a lesson plan to teach my students how to teach effectively on Zoom. This lesson plan emphasized engagement with the audience, including short burst of instruction followed by collaborative activities and/or interactive digital assessments of learning.

Chapter 14: Using Instructional Media

This chapter was updated to reflect advances and options available in instructional media. Revisions to this chapter included adding content about Universal Design for Learning, using interactive white boards, infographics, and social media as well as how to format Power Point slides professionally and effectively. This chapter also explains the differences between synchronous and asynchronous learning and examples of how instructional media is used in each type of virtual learning environment.

I have explained my understanding of Universal Design for Learning in this blog post written during the DEL program. I also wrote about active learning as a component of both synchronous and asynchronous learning in this blog post.

Additionally, I contributed the following information to the auxiliary section of chapter 14:

Backward Design framework:

Universal Design for Learning principles:

How this book can be adapted to online courses

Lastly, I provided ideas on how this book revision can be adapted to online or hybrid learning modes. Below is what I contributed:

I think it is important to create engaging active learning activities for online classes whether they are synchronous or asynchronous. Following is a list of online active learning activities that can be created to reinforce and apply textbook content:

  • Debate
  • Peer review – such as by using PeerGrade and other peer review software
  • Problem solving activities
  • Small group and full group discussion, including utilization of online discussion boards
  • Group work in breakout rooms using Google docs or Google slides for collaboration
  • Simulation learning
  • Idea mapping
  • Case studies
  • Role playing

Online tools to facilitate active learning in asynchronous learning environments include:

  • Open forums
  • Interactive documents
  • Videotaped presentations

Engaging learning activities that integrate technology include students doing the following:

  • Developing blogs, pod casts, or videos
  • Recording presentations using PowerPoint or Google slides
  • Creating infographics
  • Conducting synchronous online class sessions using a digital platform, such as Zoom, which may incorporate additional digital tools to engage with other students, such as Kahoot and Poll Everywhere  
  • Collaborating with a subject expert or peer outside of their school using a digital platform, such as Microsoft Teams 
  • Utilizing discussion boards for asynchronous engagement
  • Incorporating an online peer review tool to provide feedback to other students’ work and to receive peer feedback
  • Integrating shared documents for collaborative projects, such as Google docs
  • Engaging in chat boxes and breakout rooms available on several digital platforms

Something I have really appreciated about the DEL program is the applicability of what I learned. In addition to creating and revising assignments for my courses, integrating an assortment of digital tools into my class sessions, and completing a program evaluation, I was able to use my knowledge and skills from the DEL program to co-author to a revised edition of an important textbook in my field. It is my hope that my contributions will advance the thinking, learning and skills of nutrition and dietetics majors so that will be successful as professionals in a global, technology-infused workplace.