All posts by Anastasia Salter

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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…

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#PulseOrlandoSyllabus: a Crowdsourced Teaching Resource

As a professor at the University of Central Florida, I was glued to Twitter on Sunday following the tragic aftermath of the Orlando shooting during Latinx night at popular gay / GLBTQ nightclub Pulse. Several students and graduates from colleges around the area are on the list of dead, and local campuses (including mine) have been hosting blood drives and vigils in the wake. It’s always difficult to know what to do after this type of event in classes: I pushed back the deadline for assignments …

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Review: Revisiting Smartwatches with the Garmin Forerunner 235

When Pebble Kickstarted back in 2012, I couldn’t resist jumping in to see what this idea of a screen on my wrist might lead to. While I was enthusiastic about the concept and possibilities when I first reviewed it, I ultimately ended up abandoning it for a number of reasons, with poor ergonomics (it looked and felt ridiculous on my tiny wrist) and a painfully low battery life top of the list. Now, there are a lot of players in the smartwatch game, including Apple and Samsung, and I’ve been lu…

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Writing on a Plane?

I started writing this post as the toddler behind me (who, perhaps understandably, is not a believer in seat belts) has once again started pounding on the back of my seat. My knees are at an odd angle, and I had to contort strangely to even begin to recover my laptop from the “personal item” wedged under the seat in front of me. My fairly small and portable laptop is still too wide for the tray table, rendering the possibility of the mouse moot, and the $5 wi-fi charge for basic internet st…

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Productivity Through Accountability

Finding the motivation to persevere through lengthy tasks with no end or reward in sight is a major part of being an academic: the process of writing a thesis is metaphorically compared to training for a marathon for a reason, and both certainly result in plenty of pain before the pay-off. I use running as my main strategy to counteract many hours spent at the computer, and I’ve found that signing up for a race and committing to a training plan is the only way I make any progress. It’s not unli…

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4 Suggestions for Planning a Productive Summer

Depending on your school’s academic calendar, summer might be upon you or at least close at hand. I’m already a week into the summer semester, and looking ahead at several weeks of teaching, grading, and conferencing. Every summer I set out with inflated goals and unrealistic deadlines: three months away from the normal schedule of meetings looks so promising on paper! However, it’s easy to end up with less progress than expected. Here’s a few strategies I use at the beginning of summer to make…

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Converting Courses for Accelerated Summer Sessions


This summer I’ll be teaching during our accelerated summer session: that means we have six weeks to cover material normally addressed in sixteen weeks of the semester. Compressing a course for summer session isn’t as simple as trying to cram everything into the new box, unfortunately: trying to cover every assignment, project, text, lecture, and activity at breakneck pace doesn’t end well for us or our students. However, it’s essential to still meet the learning objectives of the full semester….

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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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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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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…