All posts by Amy Cavender

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Open Thread Wednesday: Trying Something New This Semester? How’s it Going?

Journal article in Ukrainian

This semester, I’m teaching a survey course in Western political thought that I’ve taught for several years. I decided to try something new in the course this time around, though. Rather than focusing exclusively on the classic texts themselves, I’m also having students engage one contemporary piece of scholarship related to each of the major texts we read.

I wasn’t at all sure how this would go. When I conducted my midterm evaluation with my students, though, I was pleased to learn that they l…

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Hacking an “Adjustable” Standing Desk

A makeshift "adjustable" standing deskStanding desks aren’t exactly a new topic of conversation here at Profhacker. Ryan did a series titled “Stand (in the Place Where You Work)” (see Part 1 and Part 2) and has reviewed the GeekDesk Max. The Geekdesk is pretty expensive, though, so it isn’t an option for everyone. Konrad explored a less pricey (and far more portable) alternative when he reviewed the Ninja Standing Desk, and Lincoln pointed us to directions for building your own affordable standing desk.

Many of the comments on these…

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Quick grading with Flubaroo

Exam stack

Grading takes up a lot of time in an academic’s life; there’s a reason we’ve written a lot about it in this space over the past few years. It’s no one’s favorite thing to do, but knowing that our students need feedback on their work, we all realize its necessity.

Still, it would be nice, when possible, to streamline the grading process. Finding ways to streamline is certainly nothing new; Scantron has been around for quite a while.

But dealing with machine-readable answer sheets isn’t always wo…

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Running Presentations with De Mobo

Prezi

In my classes, I’ve long used slides as both notes to myself and something for students to use to help them structure their notes and help them in reviewing material (I try to avoid death by PowerPoint, of course!).

When choosing the application for creating my slides, though, I used to think I had to deal with two competing concerns:

  1. I want to be able to wander around the classroom or to sit with my students in a discussion circle, as appropriate for the situation (which pushed me in the dir…

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Making History Accessible: SlaveryStories.org

SlaveryStories_screenshot

Sometimes, an interesting project gets started unexpectedly. That’s what happened with SlaveryStories.org, a new, collaborative digital project that launched February 3, just as Black History Month began.

So what is SlaveryStories.org? It’s an online home for stories about slavery, told from the perspective of the slaves themselves.

The project got its start shortly after Rob Walsh, one of Scholastica’s* founders, went to see Twelve Years a Slave. He decided to read Solomon Northup’s memoir, …

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Google Scholar Library

LibraryAmong Google’s tools for getting work done, we here at ProfHacker have long been fans of Google Scholar. It’s a useful tool for finding good sources, it can be used to track citations to your work, and setting up an alert in Google Scholar is a great way to keep track of new publications on a topic.

Google keeps developing the service, and a few weeks ago, they addd a new feature: Google Scholar Library. That blog entry and the service’s help page explain quite well how to use this new feature, …

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Wine? Yes, please.

Wine bottlesLinux has been a fairly frequent topic of conversation here at ProfHacker recetly, and with good reason. Back in August Lincoln explained his reasons for switching to Linux from OS X, and last month I wrote about my experience of installing Ubuntu on an Acer Chromebook.

Linux is an excellent operating system, but it doesn’t have everything (not that any operating system does). Windows and OS X dominate the computing world, and some applications just aren’t available for Linux. ProfHacker favorit…

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WordFlow for Distraction-Free Editing

WordFlowWriting — it’s one of the things we do a lot, and many of us here at ProfHacker are often on the lookout for new tools that can help us with the writing task. One of the most essential tools (other than some good ideas, of course!) for getting the writing task done is a good text editor.

We’ve covered text editors before, of course, and have been particularly fond of plain-text editors, whose power Lincoln reminded us of last year. We also like being able to access our files from anywhere, so so…

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Ubuntu on a Chromebook

Screenshot from an Acer C710-2833 computer running the GIMP, Zotero, and LibreOffice Writer.

A couple of months ago, Jason wrote about his initial impressions of Samsung’s Chromebook. In the comments on that post, I asked about trying Ubuntu Linux on it, and noted that I’d tried it out on an Acer model using Crouton.

Crouton has one major advantage: it runs simultaneously with Chrome OS, making it ridiculously easy to switch between operating systems at will. I quickly gave up on Crouton, though, for two main reasons. First, while the Chromebook woke instantly if I’d closed the lid whi…

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Sometimes It’s the Little Things

microphone pillowSome of the challenges we face in our daily work are major, requiring considerable effort to resolve — and we feel a justifiable sense of accomplishment when we meet those challenges successfully.

Sometimes, though, there’s something very small that might help us or someone else do something a little better. I recently had occasion to try out the dictation feature in OSX (and was pleased to learn that Windows also has this capability), and was impressed with how well it works.

Shortly thereafter…