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Self Care for the New Semester

oxygen masks

So the new semester has started: your syllabi are done, you’re learning your students’ names, and you’re getting used to your new schedule. You’ve mapped out your goals and your lesson plans for your courses, and you’ve probably set some research goals for the semester too. What’s going to help you achieve all those well-made plans? Taking time to strategically plan for your own self-care.

The familiar reminder during the airline safety talk about putting your own oxygen mask on first before he…

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Weekend Reading: A New Beginning

ProfHacker’s “Weekend Reading” posts give you 5 links worth reading plus a video. This week, let’s get right to it!

How to Fight for Federal Support of Cultural Research and Why It Matters,” by Jason Rhody:

With modest grants from NEH, scholars help us better understand our cultural inheritance; they fill in the gaps of our collective histories and educate the public by teaching our teachers and our college students, while other grants support major exhibitions and library forums in small town…

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Managing Recipes with Paprika

Chopped paprika vegetablesA long time ago here at ProfHacker, we used to run a series titled “What’s for Lunch?” That series prompted me to start keeping track of favorite recipes.

Since I was already a heavy user of Evernote, it became my preferred tool for storing recipes. I’d just use the web clipper to send recipes to my Evernote account, then use the Evernote Food app to access my recipes. The app ignored all notes that didn’t contain recipes, and it looked great. It also allowed users to search several recipe sites…

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Non-Digital Distractions: Backing Away from the Screen


Here at ProfHacker we’ve shared a number of digital distractions, but what about those times when wellness demands time away from the screen? There’s lots of talk (and debate) over limiting screen time for children, but sometimes a break from social media and continual screen-based overload is what we all need. As someone who works digitally, I’m usually guilty of engaging with at least three screens at once, often for hours on end. Often this leads more to fatigue than to action, especially at…

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Visualize Your Document Changes with Draftback

2349630643_52f4f12da9_o

Recently, I was introduced to this cool Chrome extension called Draftback. It works with your Google Docs to track the changes you (or your students or collaborators or whoever) have made in the document and allows you to visualize them.

When you click on the Draftback box now located in the top right corner of your Google Doc, you can generate a playback of the changes. I chose a collaboratively-written document that my students wrote last year. As you can see, there were almost 3500 changes m…

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Pedagogy of Imperfection

Imperfectly shaped strawberry
[This post is co-authored with Autumm Caines and Rebecca J. Hogue. Together we are the co-directors of Virtually Connecting.]

They say perfect is the enemy of done, but there may be more value to imperfection in pedagogy than just getting things done. Learning is an imperfect process and the situation is few and far between where we see someone getting it perfect the first time. Many times perfection is a self-defined construct that we ourselves cannot even precisely articulate, though we know …

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New Keywords on Digital Pedagogy in the Humanities

Manifesto for Teaching Online

I’ve made note before (in December 2015 and last June) about the open review process for the Modern Language Association’s project, Digital Pedagogy in the Humanities: Concepts, Models, and Experiments, “a curated collection of reusable and remixable pedagogical artifacts for humanities scholars.”

There’s a new batch of keywords open for review, and they’re pretty great:

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Collecting Student Work with Google Forms

File folders organized in a file boxA good number of us here at ProfHacker prefer to avoid paper whenever possible. When I teach my writing course each fall, I have my students use Google Documents so that it’s easy to see an essay’s development over time.

For classes where it’s not essential that I see a student’s revisions, I prefer that essays be submitted in PDF format, so that I can comment on essays using my iPad. (My current favorite app for this purpose is PDFExpert; Jason and Erin have both made use of iAnnotate.)

What I…

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Hoaxy Visualizes the Spread of Online News

Hoax

As I seem to have become the resident “fake news” writer here at ProfHacker, I feel like I would be remiss not to review the new tool Hoaxy, developed by Filippo Menczer, a professor of informatics and computer science at Indiana University at Bloomington (you can read an interview with him here).

According to the FAQ on the website,

Hoaxy visualizes the spread of claims and related fact checking online. A claim may be a fake news article, hoax, rumor, conspiracy theory, satire, or even an acc…

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Weekend Reading: All the Data, So Many Problems

Starwars video game cassette

I was struck over the holiday week by two posts that both seem to illustrate the unfortunate triumph of (a version of) data over judgment. The first is the story of “Chuck Finley,” in which staff at the East Lake County Library invented a fake patron who seemed to check out thousands of books in order to fake out automated book weeding software. That story directly pits the judgment of librarians against a budget-enforced short-termism of administrators, and pointed to real risks that accrue fr…