Innovation Abstracts – The 411



Maybe you read Innovation Abstracts weekly in our members-only newsletter every Thursday (if you’re not on the list, sign up here!), or maybe you’re accessing individual articles through the posts we share across social media. Maybe you prefer to log into the website and read what’s new and then browse the archives afterwards, or maybe you haven’t ever heard of Innovation Abstracts and need the lowdown. Regardless of your level of familiarity with the publication, the following guide offers the 411 on Innovation Abstracts, from why it exists to how to access it to answers to top questions about and tips for getting published from our editor.

Know from whence you came.
Innovation Abstracts is the seedling that eventually became NISOD. NISOD was formed in the 1970s to fill a gap in the community college landscape—that is, a better way to share useful ideas for improving teaching and learning within and between community colleges. The resulting vehicle for disseminating information about faculties’ best practices became Innovation Abstracts, originally a two-sided printed page that was mailed out and could be read in fewer than 10 minutes and which served as the basis for NISOD.

So…what is Innovation Abstracts now?
Innovation Abstracts is still NISOD’s weekly publication that shares best practices and innovative programs and ideas for community and technical college faculty use, but as technology developed so did the publication’s format. Now Innovation Abstracts appears online every Thursday (except over Thanksgiving and Winter Break). A link to access the week’s article is sent out in our members-only e-newsletter and across our social media platforms, also every Thursday.

Sign up for the members-only weekly newsletter, or follow us on social media to keep up-to-date on Innovation Abstracts issues:

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Who’s in Innovation Abstracts’ audience?
Because Innovation Abstracts is a benefit we offer to our members, the audience for the publication is primarily faculty, staff, and administrators at our member colleges (more than 330 community and technical colleges from around the world). However, some of that audience represents university, corporate, or government entities.

So, if I’m not at a NISOD member college I can’t read Innovation Abstracts?
Presently, that’s correct. But you can encourage your college to become a member so you can gain access to the weekly pieces and archives!

Okay, but can I write an Innovation Abstracts if I’m not at a NISOD member college?
Absolutely. Anyone can submit a piece for consideration, so long as it follows Innovation Abstracts publication guidelines and meets content criteria. And this brings us to a letter from our editor…


2019 NISOD Logo

Hi, all.

I’m Cody, the editor of Innovation Abstracts. I run into some frequently asked questions about the publication, so I’d like to highlight some of my frequent responses to help with your understanding of the publication, how to use articles in your own pedagogy, or as you plan for and pen your own article.

  • It’s worth first noting that Innovation Abstracts is generally written by faculty for other faculty at community and technical colleges. Because of that, many of the topics addressed in weekly articles center on issues important to two-year educators, and usually describe an original approach or response for getting students engaged in their learning.
  • I find myself regularly describing Innovation Abstracts as a publication of “teaching tips and tricks” from college-level instructors.
  • The most successful Innovation Abstracts pieces are ultimately student-focused and describe practical activities, projects, or lessons that carry potential for easy (and inexpensive) application across a variety of disciplines. While each article is unique to the author and the author’s area of expertise, Innovation Abstracts topics and practices should not be so particular that they become exclusionary or irrelevant to those outside of your field.
  • To maximize the investment of reading Innovation Abstracts (I know you could be grading papers or making slides for class tomorrow instead), imagine how a practice described in a piece can happen in your own classroom as, or after, you read. It’s certainly interesting to learn what other educators are doing, but it’s valuable when you can adapt and integrate fresh ideas into your own practice.
  • The number one thing I’m asked about are deadlines for submission. There are no deadlines to submit Innovation Abstracts—NISOD maintains an open call for articles. Once an article is received, it goes through an in-house review process and, if selected, gets scheduled for dissemination based on current openings in our editorial calendar. The sooner you submit an article for review, the sooner it can be scheduled for publication. (P.S. There is an official guide to writing an Innovation Abstracts here.)
  • Though I’m outside of education proper, I see the ebb and flow of issues and interests within the community and technical college landscape. I also get a feel for the abundances and the voids. Because of that, I have several suggestions for subject matter if you’re interested in authoring an Innovation Abstracts. Right now, I’m seeing lots of literature emerge on preparing first-generation college students for entry into higher education, which is a salient issue that many community and technical college educators are increasingly faced with. However, unique insight to or programs for serving this specific demographic in the general college classroom (as opposed to developing readiness for it) is something many of your colleagues are searching for. Other areas rich with possibilities for publication are addressing the particular practices useful for teaching workforce development, how to address technical students’ needs in the general education setting, and projects that help generate and advance awareness of diversity, equity, and inclusion.

I know all of that is a lot to take in, so please don’t hesitate to write or call with any questions or concerns that come up. I’m here and happy to help you develop your future Innovation Abstracts articles.

Publications and Communications Team

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