All posts by Amy Cavender

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Open-Thread Wednesday: The End of the Semester Approaches!

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Spring has finally arrived in the midwest, and it’s a little more than two weeks after Easter (or only just over a week, if your tradition follows the Julian calendar). For those whose academic calendar follows the semester system, that means the end of the term will soon be upon us, with commencement following.

Between now and then, we’ll be racing to get through the last of our material for our courses, grading assignments and exams, planning for commencement festivities, and saying goodbye t…

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Managing Expectations

Dog on roof, asking how we manage expectationsFinding appropriate work-life balance seems to be a never-ending quest in many lines of work, and academia is no exception. It’s all too easy to work far too late into the evening, grading, preparing classes, or (everyone’s favorite!) answering email.

This year, I’ve been reminded of just how important it is to manage both my own and other’s expectations about communications and working hours if I’m to have a hope of attaining something at least resembling balance. There are a few practices I’ve…

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Tools That Stay Out of the Way

A drawing showing an assortment of hand tools

Picking the right tools for our work is important. I’ve written about some of my favorite tools in this space before, including in this post from — gulp! — five years ago. (I’m still using Dropbox and Google Documents; I’ve abandoned the Rollabind for my iPad and I don’t use the whiteboard much anymore.)

Others have written about the importance of making prudent choices about the tools we use and about lessons learned from being an indiscriminate tool adopter.

As we choose our tools, it’s good …

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What Ideas About Teaching Have Stuck with You?

A list of things kindergartners want to learn.I love the list in this photo. The kindergarten teacher who asked her class what they wanted to learn about got a list of fantastic answers. I’m sure being asked that question so early in their formal educational process is something that will stick with them.

There are things that stick with me, too, as I think about my own education — both as a student and as a teacher. Like many of us, I could give a list of teachers who inspired me. What’s come to mind more recently, though (probably because…

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Managing Photos on Flickr

A Flicker (bird) on FlickrA lot of us here at ProfHacker have been using Flickr for quite a while. I like it well enough that I used to subscribe to Flickr Pro for the extra storage space, though I dropped the subscription when Flickr gave everyone a full terabyte of storage. I keep my personal photos there, as well as photos that I use for this blog. Every once in a while I have occasion to take a snapshot of the whiteboard in my classroom and share it with my students on our course website, and Flickr’s handy for that,…

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A Quick Look at OneNote for iPad

Handwriting in OneNote for iPadBack on February 19, Microsoft brought handwriting to the iPad.

I’d been waiting for that for a long time. I love Evernote (as do several of my colleagues here at ProfHacker, as is clear from the number of posts in which it gets a mention). I’m so fond of it, in fact, that I’m a premium subscriber, so I’m not about to walk away from it anytime soon. It’s fantastic for keeping track of information I want to access later.

But for creating notes that are free-form, or for quickly jotting down ideas…

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Cross-platform Calendar Management with Sunrise

Acadian SunriseLast week I fielded a question from someone who was having difficulty syncing calendar events between her Google account and her iOS device. She was finding that events were syncing only one way, which of course was problematic.

I suggested some ways to fiddle with her settings to try to resolve the problem, but I also had a recommendation to make to her, and to anyone who uses multiple accounts and/or platforms: try Sunrise Calendar.

Why the suggestion? Sunrise can handle iCloud, Google, and Ex…

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Getting Started with Linux: Another Look at UberStudent

UberStudent's welcome screenTime flies. It’s hard to believe it, but it’s been four years since I first took a look at a Linux distribution called UberStudent. Back then it was in its 1.0 release, called “Cicero.” The latest release, “Epicurus,” came out in mid-January, with a version number of 4.1.

There are a lot of Linux distributions out there. What makes this one worth checking out?

As with previous releases, what makes UberStudent unique is its target audience, and the software and little added touches it has as a re…

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Managing Multiple Accounts with Airmail

Airmail envelopes and stampsEmail. For many of us, it’s a big part of our daily lives. (Be sure to see Natalie’s post from last week about helpful ways to think about email.) Given that, it’s important to be able to access and process email in ways that work efficiently for us.

Some people only have one email account, and find that a web interface is all that they really need. Others like to use a desktop client so that they have a copy of their email on a hard drive. Still others prefer to use a desktop client because the…

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Strategies for Going Paperless

Papers to scanThe paperless life: it’s a dream for a lot of us here at ProfHacker, and we’ve certainly covered a fair number of paperless strategies for various aspects of academic life in this space before.

I’m not convinced a fully paperless life is possible; somehow, the stuff still keeps landing on my desk and in my mailbox (yes, I do still have mailboxes that collect paper mail, both at home and at work). I try, though, (a) not to generate paper and (b) to be sure that paper that comes my way doesn’t sta…