All posts by Jason B. Jones

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Start Doing Things on the Command Line with Script Ahoy

cut up strips of paper

Getting comfortable with the command line is one of those little things that can open up a world of functionality on your computer. Lincoln Mullen started an occasional series, The ProfHacker Guide to the Command Line, which included posts on “Getting Comfortable on the Command Line”, and many more.

But sometimes you’re just getting started with the command line, and you’re pretty sure there’s probably a way to do a particular task, but you’re now sure how to go about it. To address this proble…

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Against Helplessness

Feeling helpless today? Me, too. As my wife put it, “I am struggling with my Americanness.”

That said, helpless won’t help; action will. Those of us who work and study in higher ed often think of our role as not only helping to make sense of the world but also helping to enact positive change. Ijeoma Oluo, editor-at-large of The Establishment proposes fourteen basic steps for educating yourself about police accountability and driving support for police reform. A bunch of ‘em require little more…

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The Power of Looking Closely

IMG_0144

At least in the US, it’s the start of a long holiday weekend, and elsewhere there are things like the Euros and Brexit to distract people from the internet, alas.

I wanted to share this video by Amy Herman on “Visual Intelligence,” based on her book Visual Intelligence: Sharpen Your Perception, Change Your Life, which in turn was based on a project she used to do at the Frick Collection while she was training medical students how to look at art. The reason I like it is that the single favorite …

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Plain Language and Inclusive Document Design

bright colorful tree and fields

I’ve been doing a lot of thinking this month about making teaching documents of all kinds more accessible. Some of this is about a syllabus, but some of it is about rethinking some of our signs and documentation at work, as well as ways that we can make our edX courses more accessible to that highly varied audience. So I was delighted to discover an excellent new article on In the Library with the Lead Pipe by Jennifer Turner & Jessica Schomberg on “Inclusivity, Gestalt Principles, and Plain La…

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Like Evernote? Be Aware of Pricing Changes

hanging folders

Evernote is a fairly widely-used tool for corralling and then exploring information. There have been numerous posts about Evernote here at ProfHacker, such as Shawn Miller’s introduction to the tool, Kathleen Fitzpatrick’s testimonial as an Evernote convert, Amy’s account of teaching with it, and a variety of posts about using Evernote on your phone, with Markdown, or in web browsers.

There is a long tradition of speculating on Evernote’s business model–although it has a lot of users, most of …

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How to Quickly Extract Media from Slide Decks

piles and piles of paper

If you’ve ever wanted to quickly extract the media (images, etc.) from a presentation such as PowerPoint or Keynote, there turns out to a pretty simple way to do it. This may well be common knowledge, but, as my friend Merlin Mann likes to say, every day somone’s born who’s never seen The Flintstones. That is, it’s always new to someone–and this was new to me.

The key is to recognize that PowerPoint and Keynote files are basically just bundles of other files–that is, they’re fancy ZIP files:

S…

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Make a More Inclusive Syllabus with Tulane’s Accessible Syllabus Project

small packages of useful things

Ok, I know it’s still June and so probably a little too early to be thinking about your fall syllabus. But if the alternative is thinking about #Brexit–or, worse, reflecting that “what is the EU?” is a top Google search *in* *England* today–maybe it’s not such a bad thing? I’m teaching a class this fall for the first time in a couple of years, and so I’ve been stealing a few minutes here and there to think about it.

Via Gerry Canavan, a syllabus-design resource that’s new to me is Tulane’s Acce…

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Preparing for the Press: How to Talk to Reporters

LEGO female scientist

Academics and journalists often have an uneasy relationship. Academics love nuance and writing for experts; journalists tend to value a clear, comprehensible story. And while most academics would be thrilled if more people heard about their work, nobody wants to be at the heart of a political controversy–especially when untenured. (And it’s not just faculty who are unhappy about the press–when I was on the AAUP’s Collective Bargaining Congress, one of the things we learned is that the threat of…

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Letting Your Calendar Breathe

flower

A common frustration in academic life is being so fully-stocked with meetings that there is no time or energy to . . . actually do work. Or, to just idly contemplate things, which is often such an important precursor to work.

In a post that surveys a variety of “time management essentials for researchers,” Eva Lantsoght offers a some advice for just this problem:

Concept: Don’t plan more than 75% of your time

Whenever you make a planning, allow for some air in your planning. You need to move f…