All posts by George Williams

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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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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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End of the Semester: Make a List

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Here on my campus, we have only 3 weeks of regular class meetings left. I don’t know about you, but the end seems to come more quickly every semester! The more experienced I get the less chaotic these few weeks feel to me, but I still have to work at it to stay organized and to look ahead to what lies beyond the semester’s end.

Back in December of 2009, Ethan wrote up some advice explaining his own end-of-semester checklist. Here’s the overview:

  • Backup my course websites

  • Update my CV

  • Writ…

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Strategies for Encouraging Effective Student Discussions

If you’re not already following Jennifer Gonzalez’ site, Cult of Pegadogy, I strongly recommend that you start doing so. Gonzalez regularly publishes useful posts that provide specific advice for the classroom, from K-16 and beyond.

A recent post that caught my eye — “5 Ways College Teachers Can Improve Their Instruction” — was no exception, featuring an interview with author and teacher Norman Eng. One of the recommendations is especially interesting to me: “Implement ‘Cold Calling’ and ‘No Op…

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Weekend Reading: Pink Is a Strong Color

It’s Friday! Let’s get to those links that give you some reading material for your weekend!

  • How To Tell Fake News From Real News In ‘Post-Truth’ Era,” by Steve Inskeep: “It’s all right for Americans to be skeptical of what they read and hear. How could I say otherwise? I’m a journalist. It’s my job to question what I hear. While I shouldn’t cynically dismiss everything people tell me, I should ask for evidence and avoid buying into bogus narratives. What we all need, as citizens, is to devel…

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How to Simplify Flickr Photo Attribution

We’ve long been fans of Flickr here at ProfHacker. For example, it’s where we get most of the lead images for our posts and we’ve recommended using Flickr photos to make better slides for presentations. A great feature of Flickr is the wealth of images that have been licensed for re-use — thank you, Creative Commons! — but many people will re-use the Flickr images they find without providing the necessary attribution. This is not cool (and often a violation of the license under which the image …

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Use WAVE Tool to Test Web Pages for Accessibility

Are you someone who creates or maintains web pages? Are you concerned about making sure they’re accessible for everyone, including people with disabilities? Here at ProfHacker, we’ve published several posts over the years about accessibility and digital resources, including the following:

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Alternatives to Storify (Revisited)

Over six years ago, Ryan first introduced ProfHacker readers to Storify, an online tool for curating information from a variety of sources and presenting it to your audience in a user-friendly format. I’ve enjoyed using Storify over the years, but it has it’s problems.

For example, back in October of 2012 I wrote about a Storify problem encountered by my students that prompted us to generate this list of alternative web services that function similarly to Storify. Although this was a useful exe…

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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…