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Weekend Reading – Doing it Wrong Edition

Streetlights through a rainy window

It’s that time of the (academic) year for many of us: we are neck-deep in grading, in stressed-out student, in wondering if we’ll even have a job in the fall and how are going to make ends meet over the summer. Typically, this would be the time to share self-care pieces, but instead I’m sharing a few provocative readings that have prompted me to ask the question, maybe we’re doing this wrong.

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Recent & Upcoming Conversations on Open & Networked Learning

open network

If you are in the field of open and networked learning, you are likely going through a process of exploring the place of open philosophies and networked/participatory practices in the current political environment, and deciding where your place is in all of this. Thankfully, there have been a lot of spaces for us to discuss these questions together, such as the #OER17 conference which took place in London with the theme “The Politics of Open”. The conference may be over, but there have been…

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Is This Still a Thing? Looking Back at Unroll.me

unfurling fern

ProfHacker has been writing posts for a long time now, and in addition to all the evergreen posts about writing and syllabus design and so forth, we’ve also covered a lot of tech. I’ve been kicking around the idea of an occasional series called “Is This Still a Thing?,” in which I look back at an app, service, or gadget we’ve reviewed, and briefly update readers on its status.

For one reason or another, I’ve dithered in getting this off the ground, but recent revelations about Unroll.me have s…

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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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Annotating Financial Context Automatically with Bloomberg Lens

calculator with financial forms
Despite the fact that the web is a powerful tool for annotation, many news stories and blog posts lack relevant context that would be useful for readers. Especially as a site ages, it can be hard to know how information has changed over time.

Most of us at ProfHacker like hypothes.is as an annotate-everywhere tool. But there are other visions of annotation, and this week, Bloomberg and Postlight jointly announced Bloomberg Lens, an iOS app and Chrome extension that aims to provide on-the-fly f…

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Laptop Ban? Things You Can Do With Just a Smartphone

children looking at a smartphone together

I recently had a conference in London, and I was flying I direct from Cairo. The laptop ban on this route came into effect shortly before my trip and it would have been really inconvenient for me to re-route. I also heard it’s quite risky to check your laptop in the luggage (you risk theft, damage, or at least loss – until the airlines can guarantee these things won’t happen, I won’t check my laptop or iPad in checked luggage). I recently (before the laptop/iPad ban) contributed a light-hea…

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Fridges and the (Home) Economics of Ed Tech

Billboard advertising gas refrigerators

A maxim even more famous than “Never go in against a Sicilian when death is on the line!” is “Never make analogies about technology adoption where scholars of refrigeration can find them.” And yet, in “Is Your Edtech Product a Refrigerator or a Washing Machine?,” Julia Freeland Fisher makes just this mistake, when she draws on what she takes to be the comparative adoption rates of these two appliances to argue for more disruptive innovation in educational technology. (Sigh.)

The internet being …

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Supermute Twitter

Start or Stop

I’ve been talking a lot about Twitter lately here on ProfHacker, but it’s still one of my favorite places to be online. However, sometimes, I don’t want to see certain things in my timeline. Certainly you can use the Mute function on Twitter, but why use a subtle, flexible, and complex tool when you can use a blunt instrument?

Enter Supermute:

Supermute is a blunt tool. You can define any phrase you’d like to mute for up to 7 days. During that time period, if anyone in your timeline (including …

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Conferences and Compatibility

sketchnote of #trexit panel at #oer17

Sketch note by @BryanMMathers of #trexit panel at #oer17

I just got back from #OER17 in London, which is a relatively cozy type of conference (around 180 people, of whom I knew around 40 really well, and another 30 or so vaguely well). And I was thinking that I had a great conference experience and knew ahead of time that I would enjoy this conference. I don’t know that we can call a conference generally good or bad, but we could, maybe, consider a conference compatible with our interests and…