All posts by Amy Cavender


On the Importance of Process

CandlesIt’s been an interesting few months in academia, and not in a good way. Two institutions of higher education — Wheaton College in Wheaton, Illinois and Mount St. Mary’s University in Emmitsburg, Maryland — have found themselves in turmoil.

Both stories are well known at this point.1 At Wheaton, Political Science Professor Dr. Larycia Hawkins made a statement about the relationship between Christianity and Islam; concern about the compatibility of her statement with the College’s Statement of Fai…


Accessing Your WordPress Database with Adminer

View of phpMyAdminIn last week’s post, I wrote about a useful plugin for backing up your WordPress site. Backups are vitally important, especially for those of us who use our sites for professional purposes (for some of us, that includes our courses).

This week, I’d like to make a brief note about another helpful WordPress plugin. Sometimes, particularly if you’re running a WordPress network, you might need to access data about your users (e.g. email address, username, registration date, etc.) That information re…


Protecting Your Site with BackWPup

Old floppy disks used for backupRules of computing:

  1. If it’s important, back it up.

  2. Refer to Rule #3.

  3. See Rule #1.

Those are serious rules. Really. There’s nothing more horrifying than losing the only copy of something you’ve spent hours/days/weeks/months on.

The rules apply to websites as well as other information, and we’ve written a lot in this space about ways to back up a site. Julie introduced readers to a few methods of website backup, Kathleen wrote more specifically about backing up a WordPress site, and Mark r…


Managing References with Paperpile

A pile of journal articlesAh, research. No matter our field, we need to organize our source materials and keep track of our notes. As we write, we need a convenient way to insert citations and manage reference lists.

We’ve spilled a lot of digital ink over the years writing about reference managers, such as Zotero and Mendeley, that can help us accomplish those tasks.

I’m a long-time user of Zotero, and I’ve often recommended it to my students (sometimes I’ve even required them to use it for an assignment). I’ll continue…


Making a WordPress Site Multilingual

A parade of flags from many different countries.WordPress is a favorite tool of many of us here at ProfHacker. It’s great for running a course website, maintaining a professional portfolio, running a blog (ProfHacker runs on WordPress), or managing almost any other sort of website, really.

Every once in a while, there’s a need to present a site’s material in more than one language. If the material in question is really short, the solution is simple enough: just make the page or post a bit longer by including the additional languages right the…


Security Housekeeping

Cloud-shaped padlockIn the last few years, we’ve written quite a lot about online security in this space.

One of the keys to security is to use secure passwords. Since really good passwords can be difficult to remember, password managers are really useful, and we’ve reviewed a few, including LastPass (which is being acquired by LogMeIn) and KeePass.

But secure passwords aren’t enough; it’s also important to change your master password regularly and to use two-factor authentication whenever that’s available (as I le…


Open-Thread Wednesday: Anything New?

FireworksThe new academic year has arrived (or soon will, for those who start after Labor Day). Though there may be a certain sadness to the end of summer, a new academic year can also bring the excitement of a fresh start. It’s a time for meeting new people and trying new things, for faculty no less than for students.

Some new things may be major: a new course, or perhaps a new project. In my case, the new is something small. I’ve changed the first essay assignment in my writing course. For several year…


Managing Links with Nuzzel

Two parakeets nuzzling

Many’s the time I’ve been known to suggest that the people I engage with on Facebook and Twitter quit posting so many interesting links, because my reading list in Pocket is getting too long. All too often, Pocket is where links that I thought looked interesting go to die.

A few weeks back, I found a much better way to keep track of stories my social media contacts were linking to. I was listening to Fr. Roderick Vonhögen’s The Break podcast, and he mentioned Nuzzel. It’s available on the web, …


Traveling Light

A packed carry-on suitcase and backpackAh, summer, when it’s not uncommon to be traveling. Last year, I had some international travel, and one of the things that helped me survive was a keyboard case for my iPad, which enabled me to leave my laptop at home even though I had a lot of writing to do.

This year, I’m traveling internationally again, though it’s a shorter trip this time (six days instead of three weeks). I really don’t want to fuss with having to check bags, so I’m packing very light, which is something of a first for me (…


From the Archives: At the End of the Academic Year, Looking Back and Looking Forward

A desk with papers and a laptop computerIt’s graduation season; most colleges and universities have finished for the year, or will in just a few more weeks. That provides an opportunity to take stock of the year just completed, and look to the year ahead. It’s also a good opportunity to get caught up on some of the organizing tasks that often go undone in the last frantic weeks of the academic year.

Over the years, writers here at ProfHacker have provided a number of posts about things to do at this time of year: