Automating Writing with TextExpander Scripts


TextExpander is a slightly terrifying key logger a well-designed, intensely useful app for Mac & iOS that does exactly what it says on the tin: it takes little snippets of text and blows them up into arbitrarily longer ones. Ryan wrote about it 5 years (!?!) ago, and George followed up with a post about using it for grading.

The real power of TextExpander comes into focus when you start to reflect on just how many things are text. For example, scripts are just text.

Helmut Hauser, who teaches…


Understanding iOS Diagnostic Logs


One of the irritating things about living in the walled garden that is iOS is that Apple isn’t super-forthcoming with human-readable diagnostic information. Fortunately, the internet is usually a helpful place, and Joe Caiati has written an overview of the system logs stored on your phone.

At its most basic definition, the Diagnostics & Usage Data section is a log of system events that happen on your iOS device. This log isn’t tracking your every move, but it is creating entries whenever eve…


Who Speaks at Meetings? Find Out with GenderTimer

Complex Balance

Nobody really likes meetings, but, at the same time, one has to work with other people. (How unpopular are meetings? It looks like US Office of Strategic Services used typical meeting strategies as guidance for how to sabotage enemy organizations.) The fact that nobody likes meetings, of course, doesn’t mean that we don’t like them in quite the same way.

A topic that I’ve tried to become more aware of recently is gendered differences in meeting behavior. Although it frequently comes labeled wit…


Content Blocking in iOS 9 with Adamant

One of the most popular, if controversial, features of iOS 9 is the built-in support for content blockers in Safari. On the one hand, I think most people are probably willing to pay for quality content; on the other hand, a lot of pretty awful stuff goes on in the world of online advertising, especially on mobile devices. Trying to access many mobile sites, especially mobile news sites, can result in massive amounts of data and battery use … just to get to the ads. It’s one thing to agree to wa…


Weekend Reading: Let’s Just Go to Mars Instead


Another awful day in higher education, so I will just point to the blog of Ryan Martin, an anger researcher who once had to a teach a class with police officers stationed outside his class:

When class was over, I went back to my office (still aware of the fact that I wasn’t really any safer now that class was over) and all I could think about was what a ridiculous world we had created. How is it that we live in a world where students who want to learn and teachers who want to teach have to do…


5 Tips for Handling Grading in Large Online Classes

I’ve been chronicling my experiences this semester adapting my approach to teaching from my previous experience with small courses to a new challenge of large-scale classes, and particularly to the needs of a large online course. The most overwhelming aspect for me so far has been the challenge of grading and providing meaningful feedback. This is unsurprising, given grading has been one of our most debated subjects here at ProfHacker. Taking grading to new scales has definitely required me to …


3 Tips for Handling Discussions in Online Courses

I’ve been teaching a large online class for the first time this semester, and as the course involves looking at a number of challenge interactive works and games I put a lot of emphasis on discussion forums and critical debate. However, discussion forums of this kind present a lot of potential problems in an online class. We only have to read the comments anywhere on the web (pro tip: don’t actually read the comments) to see that the online medium offers huge potential for miscommunication, per…


Preparing Lectures for Large Online Classes

This semester, I’m teaching a fairly large (130 at final count) online course in digital media. I wrote last month about some of the strategies I’ve used to prepare the course, including thinking about replacements for in-class activities and planning a highly structured series of content. However, one of my biggest challenges has been planning an alternative to lectures. I’m used to thinking of “lecture” as a dialogue, with opportunities for interaction, connection, and breaking up the class i…


Dropbox’s File Request Eases Receiving Files and Assignments


At a conservative estimate, ProfHacker writers have posted eleventy-billion times about Dropbox, the popular near-ubiquitous service for saving, syncing, and sharing files. And with good reason! It’s a great service, fast, and convenient–especially for people who use several different computers and devices over the course of a day, it’s frequently the glue that makes that work cohere.

This summer, Dropbox released two new features–one of which might be particularly appealing to academics: file …


Starting Your Own Website: Reclaim Your Hosting

If you’re a regular ProfHacker reader, you probably understand the importance of building and having control over your web presence. We’ve posted a “Website Hosting 101 guide back in 2009, a primer for creating your digital presence in 2011 with a guest post by Miriam Posner, and tips on how, and how often to update your website by Anastasia.

Now that the new school year has begun, some of you may be looking to start a professional website of your own. To create a website, you’re going to need…