Category Archives: Editorial


Five Things That Helped Us Survive Summer 2016

You don’t have to be Stephen Merrit to know that summer is coming to a close, so it’s about time for us to tell you about five things that helped us survive summer. Here at ProfHacker, we have a tradition of sometimes sharing a few of our favorite things in a collaboratively-authored post. (Check out our 2014, 2011, and 2010 Things That Helped Us Survive Summer posts, too.)


  1. Solar Charger: at the eLearning Africa conference, someone gifted me with a solar charger. It needs to  be charged…


Weekend Reading: Semester Gets Underway Edition

On my campus we just finished the first week of the semester, involving the usual combination of faculty meetings and classes. Whether you’ve also already started or you’re still putting the finishing touches on your semester prep, here are a few readings to consider over the weekend.

Robert Epstein dismantles the “vacuous” idea that the human brain can be understood by considering it a sort of organic computer:

Our shoddy thinking about the brain has deep historical roots, but the invention of…


From the Archives: Preparing for the New Semester


It’s that time again . . .  here are some tips from the ProfHacker archives.

Designing/Revising Your Syllabi

If you’ve only got a few minutes, check out 11 Fast Syllabus Hacks for useful updates to your course documents.

Konrad’s Citing Syllabi suggests some best practices for citing the work of other instructors whose syllabi you’ve consulted and for ensuring your own syllabus can be shared and remixed if that’s your intent.

Jason’s Creative Approaches to the Syllabus provides links to a numbe…


Weekend Reading: End of Pokemon Summer

With the close of summer comes the end of easy Pokemon hunting on campus: the imminent arrival of students means that gyms professors like me have been momentarily capturing will soon be dominated by high-level dragons. As you prepare for the oncoming semester, here are a few weekend reads:

Celeste Tuong Vy recently shared her job talk on digital humanities and class design, It’s great for both the insights and the model of a job talk:

I’d like to reiterate the value of making explicit resear…


Against Helplessness

Feeling helpless today? Me, too. As my wife put it, “I am struggling with my Americanness.”

That said, helpless won’t help; action will. Those of us who work and study in higher ed often think of our role as not only helping to make sense of the world but also helping to enact positive change. Ijeoma Oluo, editor-at-large of The Establishment proposes fourteen basic steps for educating yourself about police accountability and driving support for police reform. A bunch of ‘em require little more…


The Power of Looking Closely


At least in the US, it’s the start of a long holiday weekend, and elsewhere there are things like the Euros and Brexit to distract people from the internet, alas.

I wanted to share this video by Amy Herman on “Visual Intelligence,” based on her book Visual Intelligence: Sharpen Your Perception, Change Your Life, which in turn was based on a project she used to do at the Frick Collection while she was training medical students how to look at art. The reason I like it is that the single favorite …


Open Thread Wednesday: Conference Season FOMO or JOMO

Photo of a big crowd

Early January is definitely one of the peak conference seasons, as scholarly organizations such as the MLA, the AHA, the AAS, and others take advantage of the US winter break to convene large meetings.

But no matter how big the conference is, most people don’t go, whether from lack of money, lack of interest, competing priorities, traumas from previous conferences, or just a need to recharge between semesters. For those of us who aren’t attending a major conference this week, watching waves of…