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Tools for an Effective Workflow

Flowing waterMany of us have favorite tools that suit our workflows well, helping us accomplish our tasks and keep track of needed bits of information. Below you’ll find a list of applications, services, and utilities that I use almost daily.

  1. Workflow. I a big fan of ToDoist, my preferred Task Manager. For the way I work, it’s a better option than Apple’s Reminders. The catch is that it doesn’t integrate with Siri, which is really handy for adding items on the go. To get around that problem, I use the work…

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5 Ways to Make End-of-Semester Grading More Enjoyable

I know I know. Enjoyment isn’t usually something we think we should be seeking about grading… Right? I had originally titled this post “how to make grading fun” but thought no one would take me seriously.

Let’s backtrack a minute. Don’t most of us do research about our field and sub-specialty because we value and enjoy it? Hopefully yes. Don’t most of us teach a particular subject because we care about it? Hopefully yes. The next logical step for me is that we should be able to enjoy assessing …

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Text Analysis With Voyant 2.0

Voyant Logo

A few weeks ago, coincidentally during Day of DH 2016, it was brought to my attention that Voyant, a web-based text analysis tool, had upgraded to Version 2.0.

Voyant 2.0

This has been a popular tool with ProfHackers (I’ve written about using it as has Brian), and the new version is a great improvement. The list of changes includes:

  • a cleaner, crisper appearance

  • better cross-platform and mobile device support (all tools in HTML5, no Flash or Java Applets)

  • advanced search capabilities, including wil…

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Reflecting on Grids and Gestures

Last week I wrote about Nick Sousanis’s call for an experimental week of comics-esque journaling, Grids & Gestures. Along with many folks on Twitter, I participated in this daily exercise of chronicling a day through a grid and a series of gestures, loosely defined, without trying to “draw” so much as interpret ideas and emotions. There are several reflection posts from the week: check out thoughts from Amy Burvall, Jenny Mackness, Mariana Funes, and Kevin Hodgson. I particularly relate to Yin …

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What I Learned from Student-Created Learning Taxonomies

My assignments are often inspired by things I learn about from my Personal Learning Network (PLN), and this particular assignment is inspired by several people. The assignment I recently gave my students (who are largely freshmen learning about educational game design as part of a core curriculum course on creativity) is to develop their own learning taxonomy, in any shape or form, with any items that they feel are important to their learning. The idea of the assignment was inspired by a an act…

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Thinking through Comics with Nick Sousanis’s Grids & Gestures

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This week, comics artist and scholar Nick Sousanis has drawn many into a creative comics-making activity that can be great for thinking about visual communication in and out of the classroom. Nick Sousanis is known for his incredible comic dissertation-turned-book, Unflatteningrecently released from Harvard University Press. This exercise, “Grids and Gestures,” is a type of visual diary-making that encourages playful thinking and mark-making without trying to represent “things” as much as con…

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Through Another’s Eyes: Troubleshooting with User Switching

Two different views of the same objectLast week, I introduced readers to Installatron, a tool that’s very useful for backing up and cloning WordPress installations. This week’s post continues the WordPress thread.

Many of us who use WordPress use it for maintaining a personal website and/or a professional portfolio; we’re the only users registered on our sites.

Others, however, use WordPress for course sites to which they invite students to contribute, or maintain a Multisite installation. They may have a lot of users. Adminsistrato…

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Research Day @AUC – do we need more such cross-disciplinary campus events?

On March 30th, the American University in Cairo held its first Research Day. The highlights included posters by graduate and undergraduate students (competing for prizes) and 2-minute research pitches by faculty (also competing for awards).

I was involved in multiple ways. I was presenting a couple of posters (faculty also were allowed to present posters but not compete for awards, and so very few ended up presenting posters), presenting a pitch on behalf of a team from my department, and I was…

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Going Low-Tech with Paper To-Do Lists

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While at ProfHacker we are continually watching for more efficient and helpful technological solutions to the everyday challenges of academic life, sometimes the right pad of paper is better than the most feature-rich app. This year has put more stress on my schedule than any prior, thanks to a combination of progressively larger classes and several online classes, Keeping my projects going against a tide of student emails and grading sent me looking for a digital solution: I’ve tried Natalie’s…

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Backup and Development with Installatron

A screenshot of cPanel

It’s no secret that we love WordPress here at ProfHacker. It powers this blog, and many of us use it for our own personal, professional, and/or course sites.

As with anything else digital, it’s important to back up your WordPress installation, and to check those backups regularly.

We’ve also noted that, when making significant changes to your site, it’s good practice to work in a development environment, rather than on a live site. So we’ve also covered how to set up a development environment o…