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How to Get That Suitcase Unpacked

suitcasesOne of the great productivity mysteries has to be why so many of us put off unpacking a suitcase after a trip. This is the stuff of sitcoms, of advice columns, and blog posts. And of real life: I’ll be the first to admit that I sometimes leave my bag halfway unpacked for several days after a trip, even though it makes me feel somewhere between irritated and nauseous to see it sitting in the middle of the room.

So why is it so hard to unpack a suitcase?

The primary reasons are:

Fatigue: If you ar…

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Learn Another Language During Your Commute with Duolingo

I live in the Boston area, which means (as for many) I have a decent commute to work every day. I hate fighting traffic in the car, so I make this commute by train. I’ve written in the past about why I started carrying a Kindle rather than an iPad on this commute, so that I could read without being distracted by email, Facebook, and so forth.

I still keep the Kindle for my commutes home, but recently I’ve taken up a new activity on my commutes to work—the language-learning app Duolingo, which i…

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Tools for Transitions: Reflections on Year One

The first year is the hardest. This is a familiar warning, and one that I’ve personally found applies in many academic endeavors: college, graduate school, a new job, a new administrative role. This year was my first year at the University of Central Florida, a move that brought with it many transitions, including a new state, house, job, and program, not to mention new students and colleagues. Over the last year I’ve written about finding a home, preparing to move, leaving campus tech services

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Teaching with Wikipedia: Free Webinar by WVU, April 30, 10.30am-12pm EST

If you’ve been meaning to start exploring what it would take to integrate Wikipedia in your courses, the West Virginia University library is hosting a free webinar on teaching with Wikipedia on April 30, 10.30am-12pm EST.  Topics that will be covered include the gender gap in Wikipedia content and editing, an introduction to editing Wikipedia, sample assignments, syllabi and instructor experiences with teaching with the online encyclopedia.

The event will be led by Jami Mathewson of the Wiki Ed…

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Weekend Reading: The End Is Near

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The splashy news here at the tail end of the week is edX & ASU’s announcement that they are going to offer a first year of college. Not for free, or even for “as inexpensively as many community colleges,” but since it’s pass, *then* pay, there’s still a somewhat innovative approach to the business model. Jonathan Rees has described the offering of MOOCs for credit as “weaponized” education technology,” and I’m not sure he’…

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Saying Goodbye to EMiC

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I got an email recently asking me for my final report to wrap up the Editing Modernism in Canada (EMiC) project, which ended April 1. For the past seven years, money from the Federal Government in Canada helped build both a physical infrastructure (Modernist Commons) and capacity (through training opportunities) in order to build a critical community online around Canadian Modernism and beyond. The moto for the project was: “Collaborate. Edit. Learn.”

I have been known to being prone to hyperbo…

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Open-Thread Wednesday: The End of the Semester Approaches!

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Spring has finally arrived in the midwest, and it’s a little more than two weeks after Easter (or only just over a week, if your tradition follows the Julian calendar). For those whose academic calendar follows the semester system, that means the end of the term will soon be upon us, with commencement following.

Between now and then, we’ll be racing to get through the last of our material for our courses, grading assignments and exams, planning for commencement festivities, and saying goodbye t…

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3 Ways to Makeover Your To-Do List

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When you look at your to-do list for the day, week, or month (or lists of projects and actions if you follow David Allen’s GTD distinction), do you feel a sense of clarity and direction? Or do you feel confused, overwhelmed, or frustrated?

If you feel overwhelmed, it may not just be the quantity of the work you plan to do. It may also be due to a lack of clarity about the work you plan to do.

Taking a little time to clean up your to-do list with one or more of the following steps can offer huge…

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Playful Browsing with Chrome Extensions

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Ever since reading Natalie’s post on the Momentum Chrome extension, I’ve been paying more attention to the Chrome browser app marketplace. I was immediately converted to Momentum, as it’s built in to-do list tool and simple aesthetic make it a really easy way to stay on track. Chrome extensions fit in an odd space between app and websites: some of them simply offer things that could easily be found elsewhere on the web in a more convenient, integrated bookmark, while others include app-like fe…