Advice for Content-Independent Teaching

glass house

I’m going to share here my personal view of what makes it possible to teach a course in a content-independent manner. These may not be the same as what and why other people do it, but it’s why and how I do it.

What Do I Mean by Content-Independent?

My students read for my course. So it’s not that there is zero content. But I mean that my courses (and also sometimes workshops) are not organized around a canonical body of content. I’m not just saying no textbook. I’m saying no assigned readings. …


Free Course: Social Media Analytics


Because I’m a nerd, one of the fun things I like doing over the summer is to learn something new. While we can’t all afford to go to a fancy summer institute (although, they are a ton of fun), there are lots of free options both online and through books at your library. One course that I’m interested in is Social Media Analytics from Future Learn.

What differentiated this particular course, for me, is that is was short (only three weeks) and not particularly time intensive (three hours a week)….


Start Doing Things on the Command Line with Script Ahoy

cut up strips of paper

Getting comfortable with the command line is one of those little things that can open up a world of functionality on your computer. Lincoln Mullen started an occasional series, The ProfHacker Guide to the Command Line, which included posts on “Getting Comfortable on the Command Line”, and many more.

But sometimes you’re just getting started with the command line, and you’re pretty sure there’s probably a way to do a particular task, but you’re now sure how to go about it. To address this proble…


Digital Distractions: Pokemon Go

Last week, Niantic Labs released a new mobile version of Pokemon, Pokemon Go. If you haven’t played one of the many previous Pokemon games on Nintendo consoles, the basic premise is exploring a world to capture and train adorable little monsters for a life of battles. Pokemon Go puts a twist on the model, inviting players to step outside and explore their own world while capturing monsters imposed over camera imagery. This makes for some awesome pictures (and selfies with Pokemon pre-capture) a…


3 Tips for Getting (and Staying) Fit

Here at ProfHacker we’ve published many posts over the years under the category “Wellness,” which covers a broad range of specific topics from balancing work responsibilities with summer fun to strategies for ensuring you have a good lunch to improving your sleep to which earbuds to wear while swimming.

An important part of wellness is being able to get some exercise, hopefully on a regular basis. Now that we’ve reached the hot summer months here in South Carolina, I’m reminded of how difficult…


Against Helplessness

Feeling helpless today? Me, too. As my wife put it, “I am struggling with my Americanness.”

That said, helpless won’t help; action will. Those of us who work and study in higher ed often think of our role as not only helping to make sense of the world but also helping to enact positive change. Ijeoma Oluo, editor-at-large of The Establishment proposes fourteen basic steps for educating yourself about police accountability and driving support for police reform. A bunch of ‘em require little more…


Smithsonian Learning Lab Allows for Interdisciplinary Research and Discovery

Learning Lab Logo Laptop Sticker

A few weeks ago — Oh look, it was a month ago! Where did June go? — I attended THATCamp NoVa CC (Northern Virginia Community College). THATCamps are always wonderful for learning about new resources. One of those resources is the newly created Smithsonian Learning Lab, a platform to access and curate the millions of resources across all of the 19 Smithsonian museums, nine research institutes, and the National Zoo.

Having gotten the chance to play with it while at THATCamp, I have to say that it…


Two Great Tools for the Timezone-Challenged from World Time Buddy

clock distorted

Others on Prof Hacker have written on how to easily schedule meetings across timezones, including use of Google calendar for scheduling. but for someone like me who is constantly scheduling things with people on different timezones and also wanting to share livestreams with others, there are two tools I rely on pretty heavily.

1. World Time Buddy mobile app

The link to downloading the app is: According to their website, the app helps you “visually conv…