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5 Tips for Designing Course Documents

Here towards the end of the semester, I’m thinking about all of the different kinds of documents I’ve seen left behind on or near the departmental photocopier over the past 15 weeks. And I’ve developed some … opinions about how such documents could be improved.

Here are 5 specific tips I’d like to share with you:

  1. Add the same visible metadata to every document: Remember that each of your documents will have a life independent of the other documents you’re creating for a course. When that docu…

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Weekend Reading: Late April Edition

It’s hard to believe that April is almost over. I know that some campuses still have weeks to go until the academic term is over, but on my campus we start final exams next week (!). Without further ado, here are 5 interesting reads to get you through your weekend:

  • "America’s Great Divergence," by Alana Semuels in The Atlantic: "Half a century ago, economic opportunity and upward mobility were available to many white Americans, regardless of where they lived and what kind of education they ha…

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Annotating Financial Context Automatically with Bloomberg Lens

calculator with financial forms
Despite the fact that the web is a powerful tool for annotation, many news stories and blog posts lack relevant context that would be useful for readers. Especially as a site ages, it can be hard to know how information has changed over time.

Most of us at ProfHacker like hypothes.is as an annotate-everywhere tool. But there are other visions of annotation, and this week, Bloomberg and Postlight jointly announced Bloomberg Lens, an iOS app and Chrome extension that aims to provide on-the-fly f…

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Laptop Ban? Things You Can Do With Just a Smartphone

children looking at a smartphone together

I recently had a conference in London, and I was flying I direct from Cairo. The laptop ban on this route came into effect shortly before my trip and it would have been really inconvenient for me to re-route. I also heard it’s quite risky to check your laptop in the luggage (you risk theft, damage, or at least loss – until the airlines can guarantee these things won’t happen, I won’t check my laptop or iPad in checked luggage). I recently (before the laptop/iPad ban) contributed a light-hea…

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Fridges and the (Home) Economics of Ed Tech

Billboard advertising gas refrigerators

A maxim even more famous than “Never go in against a Sicilian when death is on the line!” is “Never make analogies about technology adoption where scholars of refrigeration can find them.” And yet, in “Is Your Edtech Product a Refrigerator or a Washing Machine?,” Julia Freeland Fisher makes just this mistake, when she draws on what she takes to be the comparative adoption rates of these two appliances to argue for more disruptive innovation in educational technology. (Sigh.)

The internet being …

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Supermute Twitter

Start or Stop

I’ve been talking a lot about Twitter lately here on ProfHacker, but it’s still one of my favorite places to be online. However, sometimes, I don’t want to see certain things in my timeline. Certainly you can use the Mute function on Twitter, but why use a subtle, flexible, and complex tool when you can use a blunt instrument?

Enter Supermute:

Supermute is a blunt tool. You can define any phrase you’d like to mute for up to 7 days. During that time period, if anyone in your timeline (including …

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Conferences and Compatibility

sketchnote of #trexit panel at #oer17

Sketch note by @BryanMMathers of #trexit panel at #oer17

I just got back from #OER17 in London, which is a relatively cozy type of conference (around 180 people, of whom I knew around 40 really well, and another 30 or so vaguely well). And I was thinking that I had a great conference experience and knew ahead of time that I would enjoy this conference. I don’t know that we can call a conference generally good or bad, but we could, maybe, consider a conference compatible with our interests and…

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DIAGRAM Center Provides Guidance on Accessible Images

Here at ProfHacker we’ve written several posts over the years about accessibility of digital resources for all people, including people with disabilities. Right now, my campus is engaged in a 3-year plan to get all of our digital pedagogical resources to adhere to federal regulations regarding accessibility. One issue that has been the subject of many conversations is the use of images and how best to make them accessible while still fulfilling their function in teaching.

I’m a big fan of WebAI…

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Introducing The Idealis, An Open-Access Journal for Library and Information Science Research

At the Library

There’s a new resource for librarians looking for high-quality, open-access library and information science research, The Idealis. Started by Stacy Konkiel, Lily Troia, & Nicky Agate, the website is:

…a new kind of open access overlay journal, powered by PressForward and curated by librarian-experts working in the arena of scholarly communication. Each week, editors recruit the very best scholarly communication literature from across the Web, working with authors to make their research availabl…

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Searching Multiple Libraries with the Chrome Library Extension

The Chrome Library Extension in action

Several weeks ago, I was reading through my news feeds, and came across an interesting post at LifeHacker. That post described Library Extension, a very useful Chrome extension1 that works with Amazon’s site (reports in the comments section of the LifeHacker post indicate that it works with the Goodreads site, too, though I’ve not tested it).

You can see the extension in action in the screenshot at the top of this post. The extension allows you to add whatever libraries you’d like (they curre…