All posts by George Williams

by

GAAD 2016: Raising Awareness About Accessibility

Today is the 5th annual Global Awareness Accessibility Day. The purpose of this day “is to get people talking, thinking and learning about digital (web, software, mobile, etc.) accessibility and users with different disabilities.” Who is GAAD for?

The target audience of GAAD is the design, development, usability, and related communities who build, shape, fund and influence technology and its use. While people may be interested in the topic of making technology accessible and usable by persons w…

by

Open Data Button Aims to Set Data Free

This week, the people who brought you the Open Access Button have released the beta version of their new “Open Data Button,” a browser add-on with a simple but powerful purpose:

Download the Open Data Button for your browser. Next time you’re reading a research paper and you want to investigate the data behind it, push the Open Data Button. The Open Data Button will try to find you the data you need. If that doesn’t work, it’ll start a request to the author asking them to share their da…

by

Communicating with Students: A Suggestion About Email

Rendered three-dimensional @ symbol, here used to represent email.

Here at ProfHacker, we’ve written several posts about email over the years. I don’t know about you, but it feels like I receive way more email than I know what to do with. And regardless of who is sending them, a significant percentage of the emails that I do receive are, shall we say, constructed in a manner than is less than ideal: vague subject lines, announcements that include all important information in an image attachment, requests for information that take the sender 5 minutes to ask bu…

by

Playing Cards in the Classroom for Student Collaboration

In my courses, I often put students into small, temporary groups for collaborative work that takes place in class or over the course of a few days. This work ranges from analysis of an assigned reading to researching a local issue to creating a digital resource to conducting an interview with a faculty or community member. We cover how to ensure effective collaboration and communication in small groups, including assigning and managing tasks (something for which an online tool like Basecamp can…

by

Your Favorite Browser Extensions?

Internet Explorer’s got ’em. Firefox’s got ’em. Chrome’s got ’em. Safari’s got ’em. Just about every major browser’s got ’em: extensions.

What’s a browser extension? I’m guessing you already know this: it’s a free add-on tool designed to supplement or customize the built-in functions of your Web browser. You can use extensions to do such things as

by

Why You Should Label Your Stuff

I’m a believer in the power of the simple solution: from carabiners for my keys to rubber bands around my dry erase markers to a multitool on my keyring to velcro ties around everything to a holster for my smartphone. I’m always looking for simple, relatively inexpensive solutions to everyday problems.

If you’re like me, you probably sometimes forget to pack up some of your essential teaching tools when you leave the room after teaching a class. I have gone through I-don’t-know-how-many project…

by

Accessibility for Web Writers

For a number of years now, the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) have been seen by many as the international gold standard for making online resources as accessible as possible. Published by the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C), these standards are likely to continue evolving as the technologies we use also continue evolving; the current version of the WCAG is 2.0.

In the United States, the federal government requirements for accessibility are referred to as “Section 508” because that’…

by

How to Evaluate Your Web Pages for Accessibility

This month is the 25th anniversary of the Americans with Disability Act, federal legislation designed “to [eliminate] discrimination against people with disabilities.” Over the next couple of weeks, I’ll be writing some ProfHacker posts concerned with disability, accommodations, accessibility, classrooms, and digital environments.

Today I’m going to provide links to a few resources and tools addressing accessibility in digital environments. Now, this can often seem like an overwhelming topic to…

by

Latest Version of Zotero Simplifies Key Functions

Here at ProfHacker, we’ve published several posts over the years about the free and open-source Zotero, which is great tool for managing your research. Yesterday, Zotero announced the release of version 4.0.27, with a focus on “streamlined saving, easier bibliography language selection, and more.” It’s not a massive update (as the version number suggests), but it does simplify some of the key functions provided by Zotero.

If you’ve not used Zotero but are interested in giving it a test drive, t…