All posts by Anastasia Salter

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Making Comics as Scholarship

For the last few years, I’ve been collaborating with Roger Whitson on editing Comics as Scholarship, a special issue for Digital Humanities Quarterly. The open-access issue is now available and may be of interest to anyone experimenting with alternatives to the monolithic scholarly essay. The collection includes six comics written and designed by scholars as ways to think about using comics to communicate as part of humanities discourse:

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Scaling Up Courses

With the new semester upon us, many people are getting ready to try out new course preps or revisit familiar classes. The too-brief break of the holiday season doesn’t provide much time for preparation, so I find the last days before the semester begins can be a frantic time for revision and planning. I’ve previously addressed strategies for revising a past course, which can be particularly helpful if the dynamics of the course remain generally the same. However, increasing demands on universit…

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Simple Visualizations with D3plus

I’ve been using D3, a JavaScript library for data visualizations (the three ‘D’s stand for Data-Driven Documents), for my own projects and with my students for some time. It’s a particularly cool tool for working with dynamic data or information from a database and giving it life in a visual format through charts, graphs, and interactive data displays. Information visualization can be a powerful way to represent complex or otherwise inaccessible data. However, the learning curve for it is a lit…

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Open Thread Wednesday: Handling Holiday Wellness


It’s the time of year when parties are abundant, grading and deadlines are looming, and health often goes out the window. As an undergraduate, I was particularly guilty of bad behavior during finals week — I’d often go to the one on-campus shop that took our meal plan points and pick up a bag of Oreos and a carton of milk to fuel paper-writing and coding sessions that meant hours of sitting at my computer without moving. Finals weeks and the holiday season around campus can inspire similar desi…

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Wrapping Up A Large Online Course

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This fall I’ve been teaching a large-scale online course for the first time. I’ve written a series of posts here about my experiences, and particularly what works and hasn’t worked as I’ve addressed both the challenges of scale and the problems inherent in teaching one of the only online courses offered as part of a traditional face-to-face degree:

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Digital Distractions: Halloween Edition


Halloween marks for many of us a turning point in the semester, as we move from “fall” into winter and the quickly-approaching holiday season. The mid-point of the semester can often be stressful for students and professors as we start to look towards finals and even begin preparing for spring. If you’re looking to take a break from grading and embrace the remaining days of autumn, here are a few suggestions for season-appropriate digital distractions

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Managing Macs & PCs in Online Courses


When I was in middle school, the lab was filled with Apple computers, including very early versions of iMacs. I worked with the school’s resource teacher and helped out with hardware in the labs, and we continually argued over the merits of Mac versus Windows PC. Macs were winning out in schools due to a push on educational software and their relative ease of maintenance, while PCs offered an ease of upgrading and access to a world of software rarely ported onto Mac’s smaller market share. I na…

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Making Games for Web and iOS with Stencyl


In this series, I’ve looked at a lot of newcomer-friendly tools for making games in the classroom or as projects with and for students, including Twine, Scratch, Construct 2, inklewriter, Inform 7, and Adventure Game Studio. While some of these tools are successfully cross-platform, many of the best tools for making graphical games are PC-only. This year, I’m teaching an online course that includes game development as part of exploring digital narrative. As students aren’t meeting in a universi…

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5 Tips for Handling Grading in Large Online Classes

I’ve been chronicling my experiences this semester adapting my approach to teaching from my previous experience with small courses to a new challenge of large-scale classes, and particularly to the needs of a large online course. The most overwhelming aspect for me so far has been the challenge of grading and providing meaningful feedback. This is unsurprising, given grading has been one of our most debated subjects here at ProfHacker. Taking grading to new scales has definitely required me to …

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3 Tips for Handling Discussions in Online Courses

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I’ve been teaching a large online class for the first time this semester, and as the course involves looking at a number of challenge interactive works and games I put a lot of emphasis on discussion forums and critical debate. However, discussion forums of this kind present a lot of potential problems in an online class. We only have to read the comments anywhere on the web (pro tip: don’t actually read the comments) to see that the online medium offers huge potential for miscommunication, per…