All posts by Ethan Watrall

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Hacking Multiple Campus Offices

office with lots of computersI 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 …

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Solutions for Dealing with Copyrighted Materials in an Open Access Course

copyright posterMost 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 dif…

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From the Vault: What To Do When Your Course Management System Goes Down

[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 li…

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5 Web Design and Development Tools I Simply Can’t Live Without (and Why)

ipadIn 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 li…

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Checklist for an Open CourseWare Semester

OCW checklistFor 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 t…

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5 iPad Applications I Can’t Live Without (and Why)

iPadI’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 ha…

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5 Lecturecasting Tools That I Can’t Live Without (and Why)

unlockedIn 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…

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5 WordPress Plugins That I Simply Can’t Live Without (and Why)

WordPRess TattooI’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 …

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Confessions of an iPad Jailbreaker (or Why and How I Jailbroke my iPad)

unlockedAbout 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 …

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5 Applications I Simply Can’t Live Without (and Why)

opened lockLike 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 …