All posts by Lee Skallerup Bessette

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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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New Pedagogical Resource – Prompt

A pile of journal articles

I’m always looking for pedagogical resources, as w
ell as publishing/scholarship opportunities for faculty (and myself) to publish in, and there is a new open-access journal, Prompt. It is, as stated in the editors’ introduction,

a multidisciplinary journal focused specifically on collegiate writing assignments. This journal highlights the pedagogical process of crafting writing assignments and offers contextualized reflections on teaching writing in varied disciplines.

The first issue features…

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Getting Started on Academic Twitter v2.0

balloons on strings

At this year’s MLA Convention, I was invited to give a workshop on getting started on social media, namely, Twitter. It was an interesting full-circle moment for me, as is writing this piece; my first ProfHacker appearance was because of my virtual participation at MLA11.

I’ve written recently for ProfHacker about why I still find Twitter valuable. And apparently, many academics are, if not seeing the value, then at least interested enough to attend a session by me at the MLA Convention in 2017…

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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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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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Combatting Digital Polarization

Cross Polarization

I’ve already written about the spread of fake news and how to work to stop it. And given what happened this weekend is D.C. and that most people who see fake news believe it, it is imperative that we work to improve the way we read and consume media and “news.”

Mike Caulfield, whose research and efforts I mentioned in my last post, has just launched a new tool and resource for educators and students: The Digital Polarization Initiative. The initiative is supported by the AASCU’s American Demo…

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New Wayback Machine – Beta

DeLorian

While the adage goes that nothing ever disappears from the internet, anyone who created a Geocities site, or used their old university servers (or forgot to pay to renew domain registration) knows that more often than we’re led to believe, stuff goes away and we can’t find it anymore.

The Wayback Machine has been a go-to for those looking for lost content and sites on the internet, but until now the search feature has required you to know the exact URL for the site you are trying to track down….

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Weekend Reading: Searching for Hope Edition

fire

I am terrified of fire. I still wake up from nightmares of burning, and when I was a kid, I used to wake from these nightmares and have to go through the entire house ensuring that nothing, in fact, was at risk of catching fire.

In response, I learned all I could about fire, particularly how to do a pretty good campfire. I know how to get it started (with a reliable match or lighter; I’m not that fancy), know how to keep it going, know how to effectively put it out. I’ve sufficiently impres…

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Stop The Spread of Fake News

Mark Zuckerburg might think that fake news on Facebook didn’t sway the election, but Associate Professor Zeynep Tufekci (and many others) aren’t buying it. In a piece for the New York Times (where she is a regular contributor and a must-read), Tufekci writes:

He is also contradicting Facebook’s own research.

In 2010, researchers working with Facebook conducted an experiment on 61 million users in the United States right before the midterm elections. One group was shown a “go vote” message…

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Open Access Week Roundup

Last week, George wrote about Open Access Week. The OpenAccessWeek.org site is a great resource for all of the activities, announcement, and information, but I want to point to two resources that might be of particular interest to ProfHacker readers.

The first is the oaDIO tool (for lack of a better word for what it is). From their blog post:

Most papers that are free-to-read are available thanks to “green OA” copies posted in institutional or subject repositories.  The fact these copies are…