All posts by Alex M. Jarvis


Scanner for Zotero Gets Metadata on Your Droid

Pile of books

I tend to think about things in a very mechanical sense. I like making Linux scripts for repeated tasks, my routines are strict and emotionless, and when I usually spend time trying to figure out the most efficient way to do things before being able to move on it (which might be a post unto itself, but I digress).

These are some of the reasons why Zotero is such a useful tool: it allows me to organize lots of my web-based research in a machine grokkable (but also MLA compliant) list that can e…


(Prof)Hacking the ultimate word processor


A while back, I wrote about pursuing something called Techno-bliss. I had described it as a system where you imagined a perfect technological system built around a primary goal My own version of Techno-bliss was a workstation that could live on several machines, using the majesty of the cloud and google docs. In the time since, my needs have gotten a little more specific, and recently I’ve discovered a home-brew, mobile, lightweight and (most importantly) free word processing system that I find…


Pursuing Techno-Bliss

Some of us dream of the day that our synthetic eyes capture all that our minds deem appropriate, where DragonThink turns our thoughts directly into papers and quantum fluctuation allows us to be both in class and deep in slumber. Unfortunately, this won’t be happening anytime soon, at least outside of William Gibson novels. How can you find your own academe-friendly techno-bliss?

Last week, I talked about creating a walkable environment for myself by living near campus. It got me thinkin…


I, Hamster: On Living Near Campus

Most students think of my campus as a commuter school.  And while most students live off-campus, that  hides the fact that lots of us live in apartments or shared houses in the immediate vicinity of campus. 

I’m currently moving into a three-bedroom apartment right beside campus, for all the usual reasons.  (I.e., We can play Magic: The Gathering at all hours without waking up Dad!)  In test runs from the new apartment, it turns out that I am a mere 45-second walk to my on-campus j…


Creating Workshops for Students and Faculty

In January, I accepted a co-op position at Central Connecticut State University in our campus’ Instructional Technology Design and Resource Center. The plan was simple; figure out a way to inject new technologies into the classroom in a non-obvious way. As Profhacker readers are sure to recognize, lots of really interesting and effective tools are available online, most of them cheap or even free. However, when I asked Professors why they did or didn’t use a particular tool or service, a…


All Things Google: The ‘Droid you’re looking for

I’ll admit that I bought into the Android idea early: I was an avid user of Google, liked the idea of an open-source handset, and really wanted something powerful other then the iPhone (mostly just to spite my faculty advisor). Since my January 2009 purchase, the Google Android mobile phone platform has matured significantly. It has gone through three (humorously pastry themed) major updates, and has spread from the original hardware on T-Mobile to encompass a wide range of devices on almost …


Defending is a website – now owned by MTV – that fills a strange space in the mindset of the academic community. At its best, it is a forum for students to honestly and anonymously evaluate their Professors. At its worst, it is a place for gossip, ridicule, and a tool to choose the path of least resistance on your way to a degree.

At my university, RateMyProfessor is often seen alt-tabbed in another window next to the University’s class selector software, students fervently cr…


An Introduction to All Things Google

CC, Flickr user jurvetson

Here at ProfHacker, one of the things we like to do is share ideas about what’s working for us. A good number of us on the team find that we regularly use all things Google.

This post, the first in a series titled “All Things Google”, provides a quick overview of which Google tools two of us use, and a brief explanation of why we use them.

Future posts in the series will explore some of these tools in more detail.

A student’s perspective: Alex

What I use:

  • GMail: Hub of organization such as l…

Modeling Technology in the Classroom: A Student’s Guide

By flickr user spakattacks. CC-licensed

Whether or not we are approaching any grand Singularity, technology continues to change in new and interesting ways. Users continue to stress the limits of any given system, and creators expand the system to accommodate new growth. Nevertheless, many professors – even, or perhaps especially, younger professors – still seem to be at odds with the idea that technology can be integrated into the classroom with any manner of success. It seems that for every tech-savvy edupunk soldier, there is a te…


Notes toward an iPhone app: Reading Texts with Enkidu

image by flickr user oskay / cc licensed

image by flickr user oskay / cc licensed

This past summer, I TA’d a pilot program in Jason Jones’ class where every student was loaned an iPod touch for the duration of the session. It was an admittedly bumpy process, though fun – several assignments were invented days – possibly hours – before they were assigned. [Ed. note: A full post on this--including the reason for the improv--is coming next week!] At the end of the class, I asked if I could present one of my own, a sort of soft review…