September 30, 2010, 3:00 pm
I have the dubious honor of having two offices. Yes, dubious. As of the beginning of this year, I’ve got an office at MATRIX: The Center for the Humane Arts, Letters, and Social Sciences (where I serve as as Associate Director) and an office in the Consortium for Archaeological Research (where the archaeology faculty in the Department of Anthropology live). While this setup is absolutely necessary, it can be challenging at times. Don’t get me wrong, having two offices can also be rewarding. I’m very fortunate in that both office locations are filled with great colleagues who I like being around. I also recognize that I’m probably in the minority in this whole multi-office setup thing. Most scholars only have a single office. It’s also a rather sad fact that many scholars (especially at the lower end of the academic food chain) don’t even have an office of their own. This having been said…
September 16, 2010, 3:00 pm
Most regular ProfHacker readers know that I’m an Open CourseWare evangelist. However, I will be the first to admit that fully embracing an Open CourseWare philosophy isn’t always an easy thing to do. Challenges can include institutional opposition (from fellow faculty or administration), technical issues (where to host, choosing a platform, etc.), and student confusion (most students have been trained to use the university’s chosen LMS, and expecting them to use another platform or follow a different model can sometimes be problematic).
For me, however, one of the most significant challenges that has cropped up in recent years is how one goes about dealing with the inevitable copywritten materials used in class. What do we do with the articles, videos, book chapters, books, and audio that are someone else’s intellectual property? The problem (at least for me) is that, in many cases,…
September 9, 2010, 3:00 pm
[Note: A version of this post was originally published in September 2009. This information is important enough to cause us to reach into the vault and pull it back out for public consumption.—Ed.]
On Monday morning of last week, the Michigan State University community (faculty, staff, and students) was greeted with the unfortunate news that ANGEL (our campus wide course management system) was down. The day dragged on with no fix. Many on campus (both student and faculty alike) reacted more like it was the zombie apocalypse than a problem with the server that would (eventually) get dealt with. Emails flew hither and yon about what we (the faculty were supposed to do), students dialed up their “oh my god, what am I supposed to do, I can’t get to my course” freak-out factor to DEFCON 1, and there was general mayhem on campus. In the immortal words of Dr. Venkman, “Human sacrifice, dogs…
August 27, 2010, 11:00 am
In recent years, there has been an increasing need for scholars (in some domains in particular) to be at least passingly familiar with the principles and processes of web design and development. You might be building a course website, building (or hacking) a CMS tempate (for a platform such as WordPress or Drupal), deploying a project website, or just being able to know enough to hire the right web developer or designer your project. Web design and development is a big part of my scholarly life (teaching, research, outreach—you name it, web design and development has always played an important role). As such, I’ve accumulated a set of indispensible tools that I use for my own web design and development needs. And what better thing for the next installement of my “5 Things” series than to share these tools.
As always, some caveats. These are tools that I find indispensible for web…
August 19, 2010, 3:00 pm
For many of us, another semester is right around the corner. For those of us who adhere to an Open CourseWare (OCW) philosophy, it’s a good time to evaluate (or re-evaluate) our personal OCW strategy. For those who are thinking about getting onboard with OCW, now is a perfect time to think about how best to go about getting in on the game. In the spirit of this, I would like to present a few items that should be on anyone’s start of the semester OCW checklist—things that are best decided at the beginning of developing (or revamping) an open course. As is customary, this list is hardly exhaustive or comprehensive. It is simply the things that I think are important to think about. For a more comprehensive look at developing a personal OCW strategy (as opposed to a brief pre-semester checklist) have a look at my Developing a Personal Open Courseware Strategy post. That having been…
August 4, 2010, 3:00 pm
I’m currently on the road taking a much deserved family vacation in which we are driving nearly 2500 miles from Michigan to Saskatchewan (and back again). Among the many things that I have brought along to pass the time (both for me and for my kids) is my relatively newly acquired iPad. So, it seems appropriate this this installment of my “5 Things” series focuses on the iPad applications that I can’t live without. As is customary, there are caveats (there are always caveats). First off, I haven’t had my iPad all that long. So, it’s a bit of a stretch to say that the apps that I’m going to talk about can’t be lived without. Perhaps that it might be more apt to title this post “5 iPad apps that I really like after 2 months of use.” Also, these are my 5 apps. I’m sure that other people have other opinions as to their 5 top apps. Finally, this list is productivity/work oriented. I …
July 30, 2010, 8:00 am
In this week’s installment of my “5 Things” series, I’m going to tackle lecturecasting tools. As many regular readers of ProfHacker know, I’m heavily invested in lecturecasting. I teach several online and blended classes where lecturecasting (either audio or video) is a vital part (check out my History of the Digital Age class by way of example). I’ve also integrated lecturecasting (both audio and video) into my regular, face-to-face classes (my History of the Modern Comic Book class has full lecture audio recordings available for download). As such, I’ve got a go-to box of tools that I turn to regularly when building and deploying lecturecasts.
As is customary, some caveats. First, these are the tools that I use. There are lots of other tools out there that other people use (and I will mention a few here and there). Second, I’m going to diverge slightly from the previous posts in…
July 23, 2010, 8:00 am
I’m an enormous WordPress evangelist. I use it for all of my class websites, project websites, and personal websites (and have been doing so for a while). Profhacker is certainly no stranger to WordPress (WP). We’ve written on all manner of WP topics, including (but certainly not limited to) David Perry’s WordPress a Better LMS, Jeff’s Hacking an Alternative Department Site with WordPress, and Julie’s Thinking about WordPress Plugins? I’m going to go right along with this trend, and continue my “5 Things I Can’t Live WIthout” series with look at the five plugins that I always install when rolling a new WordPress site.
A couple of caveats (as is customary): first, these are plugins that I can’t live without. As Julie said in her Thinking about WordPress Plugins? post (which I would consider to be an awesome prerequisite for this post), “the ‘must-have’ plugins for academic blogs are a…
July 9, 2010, 11:00 am
About a month ago, I decided to pony up the money and buy myself one of those new fangled iPads. I’m not going to go into the reasons why I bought one (after all, this is an article about what I did after I bought one, not the reasons why I bought one). The first thing I did after I unwrapped it and did the initial sync with my machine was to jailbreak it. Jailbreak? What exactly is this “jailbreak” you speak of? Well, as Amy discussed earlier today, jailbreaking is a term that refers to any process by which you unlock a device’s operating system, providing root level access in order to run unassigned code (“unassigned” basically refers to code that doesn’t have the secret key required to run it on the device in question—which pretty much boils down to a device’s official and approved software). The term “jailbreak” is most commonly used in reference to Apple devices (specifically…
June 30, 2010, 3:00 pm
Like many, I’ve come to rely on a suite of programs that are a vital part of my everyday academic workflow. We’re talking about programs (and platforms) that I’d be completely lost if I didn’t have. In the spirit of this sentiment, I’m kicking off a series to explore the applications that I just can’t live without. While this first one is going to be fairly general, future installments will focus on a specific domain. For instance, I’ll do a “5 Web Development Applications I Simply Can’t Live Without” and “5 Lecturecasting Applications I Simply Can’t Live Without”—you get the idea.
A couple of caveats (both general and specific)…first, this initial list is hardly a complete representation of those programs (and platforms) that I use religiously (the same goes for all future lists in this series). Second, I am a dedicated Mac user, and have been for years. As a result, most (though …