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Defend Against Disruption and Distraction

squawk bird

Many professionals today struggle to handle interruptions that can pull you away from focused work. Interruptions come in lots of different forms, such as notifications of email or text messages, phone calls, someone knocking on your office door, or your own stream of thoughts.

In a recent episode of the Productivityist podcast, Mike Vardy talks about the distinction he makes between disruptions and distractions:

Disruptions are things that:

  • actually do demand your attention or response
  • are of…
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Seeking Suggestions for a Road Trip

Here at ProfHacker, we’ve written about travel in past, but this summer involves a 13+ hour car trip to Montreal with my two kids in the back seat. Most of our posts are about air travel and conference travel. And I’m looking for some advice.

Most travel apps focus on air travel or taking the scenic route. I am doing neither. I also won’t be traveling through any large cities along my route, making hotel finding apps almost useless.  And once I cross the boarder into Canada, I can kiss my da…

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How to Wipe a PC Hard Drive

In my last post, How to Dispose of Old Electronics, I mentioned some different options for wiping a hard drive on an old computer that you are preparing for donation or recycling. Deleted files can be partially or fully recovered, so if you have files with personal data you should wipe the hard drive. Wiping is done by overwriting the data sectors on the hard drive in multiple passes.

This post describes how to use Darik’s Nuke & Boot (DBAN), a long-established freeware tool for wiping drives o…

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3 Tips for Taking Stock When Summer’s Vanishing

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The rhythms of academia depend on the summer lulls, even though plenty of us spend them working whether teaching, taking summer classes, or performing administrative roles. While there’s been plenty of discussion on the still-common misconception that academics have summers off, the fact remains that summers lure us in to a different pace. That pace often comes with mile-high expectations of summer productivity, as those of us lucky enough to have time “off” from teaching turn to other projects…

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New Online Courses in Digital Pedagogy

Digital Pedagogy Lab screenshot

There is a ton of free material on learning how to teach with new digital tools online. That’s one of the best things that ProfHacker writers have been dispensing since its inception. We’ve written about teaching with Twitter, with Wikipedia, creating interactive texts with Twine, even the Creepy Treehouse problem of friending your students on social media. One of the things we haven’t done, though, is offer online courses on digital pedagogy–a new venture the journal Hybrid Pedagogy has taken …

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How to Dispose of Old Electronics

old computers

Do you have an old non-working computer stashed away somewhere in your garage, attic, or closet because you’re not sure how to dispose of it?  Do you have a stack of CDs with old backups on them that you no longer need? An old printer or monitor? Power cords or connector cables that you don’t use?

Here are a few suggestions for how to dispose of these items safely and responsibly.

Back Up Your Data
If you’re disposing of a working computer, first be sure to back up any data stored on it. If you…

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Accessibility for Web Writers

For a number of years now, the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) have been seen by many as the international gold standard for making online resources as accessible as possible. Published by the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C), these standards are likely to continue evolving as the technologies we use also continue evolving; the current version of the WCAG is 2.0.

In the United States, the federal government requirements for accessibility are referred to as “Section 508” because that’…

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Choose Your Own Conference

When I was questing for a tenure-track job in a (mostly) traditional academic discipline, it was easy to know which conferences you should be going to: you started with your national or international professional organization’s annual conferences, moved through the regionals, and then targeted conferences around your specific niche. This is, of course, an oversimplification, but after years of implicit and explicit messaging during graduate school and beyond, knowing which conferences to go t…

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How to Evaluate Your Web Pages for Accessibility

This month is the 25th anniversary of the Americans with Disability Act, federal legislation designed “to [eliminate] discrimination against people with disabilities.” Over the next couple of weeks, I’ll be writing some ProfHacker posts concerned with disability, accommodations, accessibility, classrooms, and digital environments.

Today I’m going to provide links to a few resources and tools addressing accessibility in digital environments. Now, this can often seem like an overwhelming topic to…

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Report on Games and Learning from GLS11

Last week, I was fortunate to attend the Games+Learning+Society conference at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. The conference brings together interdisciplinary scholars, designers, and other practitioners working with games for learning, and thus is a great space to find new inspiration for experiments and games in the classroom.  Just a few highlights of the conference included: