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Reflections on Structurelessness

tangle toy

This post is inspired by an article called The Tyranny of Structurelessness by Jo Freeman. Thanks to Gardner Campbell for sharing it while collaboratively annotating an article for the #OpenLearning17 MOOC. Freeman’s article, originally written about the women’s liberation movement, can be repurposed with a focus on academia: on our classrooms, our institutions, our conferences and gatherings.

Structurelessness does not prevent the formation of (informal) structures

Jo Freeman writes:

“to striv…

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Researching While Administrating

a pile of binders

Although at ProfHacker we tend to write from the point of view of faculty members, it’s also the case that many folks will move into an administrative, or at least quasi-administrative, role for some period in their career. (I’ve seen departments where everyone takes a turn being chair, for example.)

It’s a mistake to think of a shift into administration as necessarily a death knell for one’s research, although obviously the pace or focus of that research might change. (This is a topic of spec…

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Playing at Computational Thinking with The Tessera

Earlier this month, a team of researchers from Brigham Young University and University of Maryland, led by Derek Hansen and Kari Kraus, launched a new free educational game The Tessera: Ghostly Tracks. Funded in part by the NSF, the game is a beautiful way to explore principles of computational thinking in a multiplayer, narrative-driven setting while unraveling a ghost story.

The web-based game works well on any fairly up-to-date browser, and doesn’t require any downloads. To play, just make a

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Weekend Reading: Freedom From Edition

bridge

Here’s hoping that, this Presidents’ Day weekend, folks are able to get a holiday from the current administration, in order to get a little freer headspace, or maybe even just some work done or some sleep.

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A Simple Way to Get Student Feedback Regularly

Longtime readers of ProfHackers might remember that I’m a fan of the simple solution: from putting labels on your stuff to carabiners for my keys to rubber bands around my dry erase markers to a multitool on my keyring to velcro ties around everything to a holster for my smartphone. I’m always looking for simple, relatively inexpensive solutions to everyday problems.

Recently, I’ve started doing something new in the classroom. It’s a simple little thing that I do every single time my class meet…

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The Privilege to Write

Girl and boy writing on Blackboard

[This article is co-authored with Chris Gilliard.  Chris (@hypervisible) has been a professor for 20 years, teaching writing, literature, and digital studies at a variety of institutions, including Purdue University, Michigan State University, the University of Detroit, and currently Macomb Community College. He is interested in questions of privacy, surveillance, data mining, and the rise in our algorithmically determined future.

The article is also inspired by public and private conversations…

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Take Notes with a Structured Template

books

As Jason recently reminded us, ProfHackers love to take notes. We’ve covered lots of tools and approaches to recording and searching notes, but few of these posts cover much detail about the content or structure of the notes.

As Lincoln noted in “Take Better Notes by Paraphrasing,” if you paraphrase,

You end up with a record not just of the source but of why it is important to your research. And . . . by paraphrasing while taking notes, you’ve already done some of the work towards producing a…

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Improve your Writing with Expresso

espresso

I write. A lot. But I don’t get edited very often, and I am terrible at revising my own work. I came across this little tool, developed by Mikhail Panko, a PhD student in computational neuroscience, called Expresso. You paste your text into a text box and it gives you a number of metrics directly in the text. It aims to help you find “weak spots” in your text, as well as encouraging you to paste the text of writers you admire to compare styles.

I decided to take it for a spin with my own writin…

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Cemmento Addresses the Problem of Preserving Digital Annotations

Here at ProfHacker, we’re interested in digital tools for annotation. Over the years our authors have covered such tools as Google SideWiki, CommentPress and digress.it, Reframe It and Diigo, Scrible, and Hypothes.is. And as the comments to this post asking “How Do You Annotate in Your Class?” reveal, our readers are very interested in digital tools for annotation, too.

One sticking point with such tools, however, is that the annotations that are made on a published online may become useless if…

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Focusing on Time Management Probably Isn’t Great

Stress management book with broken cup
So, the post I wanted to write for today relied on a link I’ve saved in Instapaper, which at last count has been down for a full day or so. Not great. But sometimes, the gods of Twitter are friendly, and someone will randomly post a link to the month-old article you’d wanted to write about, and all is well with the world.

The article in question is Oliver Burkeman’s excellent “Why Time Management Is Ruining Our Lives.” Burkeman’s article is exactly what it says on the tin: a strong assertion th…