All posts by Amy Cavender

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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’m 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 wor…
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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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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…

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Keeping Track of Bills with FileThis

Bundles of messy files stacked on a deskBills! Sigh.

There’s no getting around it: finances are one of the many things we have to keep track of. Fortunately, there are tools that help keep us organized and on top of things. Heather’s covered personal finance software, Erin’s suggested ways to check in on your insurance, and Adeline’s looked at a helpful tool for reorganizing your finances.

I recently learned about another tool that may be helpful to some: FileThis. Using the service is simple: you connect your online accounts (includi…

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Using Google Forms for In-class Polling

Drawing of a clickerRecently, I found myself involved in a conversation about clickers. The topic under discussion wasn’t their usefulness in the classroom, but the fact that there are a number of different types available, and as the manufacturers update their products, equipment that’s already in use may end up obsolete.

As I listened to the concerns being raised, I thought that, if I needed to do in-class polling (which I’ve not as yet had occasion to do), I’d probably just use Google Forms. The thought wouldn’t…

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Data Visualization With Knoema

Colorful network data visualizationAnyone who’s had to deal with large amounts of data will be well aware that sometimes a visual can be extremely helpful in understanding that data. This map of states party to the Convention on the Rights of the Child that I tweeted out last November is a case in point:

Map showing which countries are parties to the Convention on the Rights of the Child

Even if I were particularly skilled at creating visualizations, I might not always have the time available to do so, or to locate the data I need. Having access to a service that already has the necessary data and that can use t…

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On the Importance of Process

CandlesIt’s been an interesting few months in academia, and not in a good way. Two institutions of higher education — Wheaton College in Wheaton, Illinois and Mount St. Mary’s University in Emmitsburg, Maryland — have found themselves in turmoil.

Both stories are well known at this point.1 At Wheaton, Political Science Professor Dr. Larycia Hawkins made a statement about the relationship between Christianity and Islam; concern about the compatibility of her statement with the College’s Statement of Fai…

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Accessing Your WordPress Database with Adminer

View of phpMyAdminIn last week’s post, I wrote about a useful plugin for backing up your WordPress site. Backups are vitally important, especially for those of us who use our sites for professional purposes (for some of us, that includes our courses).

This week, I’d like to make a brief note about another helpful WordPress plugin. Sometimes, particularly if you’re running a WordPress network, you might need to access data about your users (e.g. email address, username, registration date, etc.) That information re…

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Protecting Your Site with BackWPup

Old floppy disks used for backupRules of computing:

  1. If it’s important, back it up.

  2. Refer to Rule #3.

  3. See Rule #1.

Those are serious rules. Really. There’s nothing more horrifying than losing the only copy of something you’ve spent hours/days/weeks/months on.

The rules apply to websites as well as other information, and we’ve written a lot in this space about ways to back up a site. Julie introduced readers to a few methods of website backup, Kathleen wrote more specifically about backing up a WordPress site, and Mark r…

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Managing References with Paperpile

A pile of journal articlesAh, research. No matter our field, we need to organize our source materials and keep track of our notes. As we write, we need a convenient way to insert citations and manage reference lists.

We’ve spilled a lot of digital ink over the years writing about reference managers, such as Zotero and Mendeley, that can help us accomplish those tasks.

I’m a long-time user of Zotero, and I’ve often recommended it to my students (sometimes I’ve even required them to use it for an assignment). I’ll continue…