Book Publication as Pedagogy: Taking Learning Deep and Wide


  • Lisa G. Stoneman Roanoke College
  • DorothyBelle Poli Roanoke College Biology Department
  • Anna Denisch independent author
  • Lydia Weltmann independent author
  • Melanie Almeder Roanoke College English & Communication Studies Department



Self-authorship, authentic learning, transdisciplinary, critical thinking


For students, the practice of writing, illustrating, and publishing facilitates deep learning experiences, both within and beyond the discipline for which the writing is targeted. In this case study, students created books under the umbrella of a large, transdisciplinary research project: a science-based, illustrated activity book, a children’s fiction chapter book with illustrations, an adolescent novel, and two illustrated social studies activity books. Students completed the self-directed research, wrote the narratives, created the artwork, sought the advice of outside scholars and artists, and revised with discipline-specific mentors. Data include the books, mentor notes, and student-reported learning outcomes. Data reveal broad content and pedagogical skill knowledge acquisition, knowledge synthesis, and a deep level of self-authorship.

Author Biographies

Lisa G. Stoneman, Roanoke College

Lisa Stoneman specializes in English pedagogy. Her interests include democratic education and folklore, particularly that of the Celtic and Appalachian regions. She is currently involved in interdisciplinary research projects that bridge education folklore and science. She teaches disciplinary literacy and general education courses, as well as supervising students in the field.

DorothyBelle Poli, Roanoke College Biology Department

DorothyBelle Poli is an evolutionary biologist who specializes in plant physiology with a research focus on fossil plants. Currently she teaches cell biology, evolution, and plant diversity. She also is a Research Assistant at the Virginia Museum of Natural History in Martinsville VA where she studies the Commonwealth’s paleobotany collection.

Anna Denisch, independent author

Anna Denisch was born and raised right outside Baltimore, MD. She spent six years studying writing and along the way spent countless hours researching the lore of dragons and the science behind their mythical origins. She also knows far too much about boat architecture for someone who has never set foot on one.

Lydia Weltmann, independent author

Lydia Weltmann studied Creative Writing at Roanoke College. She originally joined the Dragon Research Collaborative to search out dragon folk tales from around the world. She later combined her passion for writing with the research she’d already done and is creating a trilogy of novellas based on the various mythologies.

Melanie Almeder, Roanoke College English & Communication Studies Department

Melanie Almeder's first book of poems, On Dream Street, won the Tupelo Press' Editor's Prize. Her individual poems have been published in a range of journals, including Poetry, 32Poems, The Seneca Review, and The American Literary Review. In addition, her essays on contemporary art have appeared in exhibitions in the U.S. and abroad. 


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How to Cite

Stoneman, L. G., Poli, D., Denisch, A., Weltmann, L., & Almeder, M. (2019). Book Publication as Pedagogy: Taking Learning Deep and Wide. Art/Research International: A Transdisciplinary Journal, 4(2), 568–589.