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The Storm of Creativity: Meditating, Not (Necessarily) Producing

[This is a guest post by Janine Utell, who is a Professor of English at Widener University in Pennsylvania. She teaches composition and 19th and 20th century British literature; she has also facilitated a number of on- and off-campus workshops on writing, critical thinking, and general education. Previously at ProfHacker, she’s written on “Practical Wisdom and Professional Life”, “How to Study Your Own Teaching (And Why You Might Want To),” “Visualizing Your Promotion Portfolio with Cmap,” an…

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Accessing Your WordPress Database with Adminer

View of phpMyAdminIn last week’s post, I wrote about a useful plugin for backing up your WordPress site. Backups are vitally important, especially for those of us who use our sites for professional purposes (for some of us, that includes our courses).

This week, I’d like to make a brief note about another helpful WordPress plugin. Sometimes, particularly if you’re running a WordPress network, you might need to access data about your users (e.g. email address, username, registration date, etc.) That information re…

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Are You Fully Charged?

charging laptop

Tom Rath’s 2015 book, Are You Fully Charged? The 3 Keys to Energizing Your Work and Life, focuses on three areas that contribute to a daily experience of greater engagement, well-being, and productivity — what Rath calls being “fully charged.” These three areas are:

Meaning: doing something that benefits another person
Interactions: creating for more positive than negative moments
Energy: making choices that improve your mental and physical health
(p.7)

Throughout the numerous short chapters th…

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Open Source Assignments for Non-Programming Classes

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I’ve been flirting with the idea of asking students in my Educational Game Design module to make their projects “open source”.

I am  wary of the way non-computer scientists use the term “open source”. I often hear people mistakenly refer to free software as “open source”, when its code is not at all open source. I have also heard people in open education talk about how we can learn from open source, but I always felt cautious about this because the contexts are usually different.

The idea of op…

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Making Games with Browser-Based Flowlab.io

Last semester was the first time I encountered a new challenge for my online class: some of my students were using Chromebooks as a primary computer. Several ProfHackers have tried Chromebooks out with mixed results, but I find the biggest challenge they present is the limitation on development software options. Picking the right game-making tool to assign for students requires careful consideration: many platforms are limited to either Mac or PC, making picking a tool that all students can use…

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Consider Perforating Your Meetings

In the past couple of weeks, I presented twice about the concept of “perforating” our classroom, once at #AACU16 with Andrea Rehn, talking about the Twitter game #TvsZ, and once at Nile TESOL with Nadine Aboulmagd talking about using Twitter games in general with people outside the class. I’ve been doing that for a few years now – creating open spaces within my classes so that others outside the class can look in (in Egypt and internationally), and my students get opportunities to interact with…

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Open Thread Wednesday: Conducting Observations in Online Classes

The evidence against the effectiveness of student evaluations as a way to measure instructional success or gather feedback for redesigning courses is mounting. However, while many institutions have established peer or faculty center observation programs for getting more direct feedback on teaching, online courses can feel more isolated. It’s not easy to invite a fellow faculty member to “observe” an online class in the traditional sense, and getting immediate feedback from students can be diffi…

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Protecting Your Site with BackWPup

Old floppy disks used for backupRules of computing:

  1. If it’s important, back it up.

  2. Refer to Rule #3.

  3. See Rule #1.

Those are serious rules. Really. There’s nothing more horrifying than losing the only copy of something you’ve spent hours/days/weeks/months on.

The rules apply to websites as well as other information, and we’ve written a lot in this space about ways to back up a site. Julie introduced readers to a few methods of website backup, Kathleen wrote more specifically about backing up a WordPress site, and Mark r…

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Host Synchronous Video Chats with Blab

I spend a lot of my time in synchronous video conversations (even though I still prefer text-based asynchronous communication). Many of those conversations are livestreamed and recorded (especially those done for Virtually Connecting).

In the past, I have used Google hangouts extensively, because they generally work well from a variety of devices (although sometimes Google updates the PC version and one browser or another becomes buggy – usually either Chrome or Firefox). The major advantage of…

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Digital Scholarship with Scalar 2


Creating a work of digital scholarship can be daunting. Last year I published a piece called “Alice in Dataland 2.0″ (Kairos 20.1) that represented an incredible labor of mapping, organizing, and combining platforms from Twine to Construct 2 to hand-coded HTML5 and JavaScript into a fairly massive hypertext. The task is not one I’d recommend to other individuals setting out on a scholarly project, so as I think about my next work I’ve been investigating platforms that can make digital scholarsh…