All posts by Natalie Houston

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Batch Convert Word Documents to PDF in Google Drive

pile of paper

PDF format is very useful for any documents that are going to be shared with others, whether by posting online, via email or printed as hard copies. Using PDF means that you can control not only the content but also the presentational formatting, and ensure that what you create will remain consistent for your audience. PDF was designed to be cross-platform and is accessible from a variety of machines and devices.

Recently, I was reminded of a simple approach to batch converting Microsoft Word d…

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Prioritize your Activities by Gain and Pain

cover of Decide

Most ProfHacker readers have more things they would like to do, and more things they need to do, than they have time for in a given day. Prioritizing to-do items (or projects and next actions, if you follow David Allen’s Getting Things Done methodology) is one of the areas that causes academics and other professionals the most stress.

Many popular ways of sorting and prioritizing your action items for the day, week, or month, involve assigning some kind of importance label to them (A, B, C) and…

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Updating the Three-Envelope Method for the Digital Age

Envelopes

So you’ve written an article and sent it off to be considered for publication in a journal. You wait. And wait. And wait. And then when you eventually get a response, perhaps it’s a rejection, or a revise and resubmit.

What do you do next?

No one likes disappointment, but academics have to get used to the experience of rejection and figure out ways to manage it. A lot of people find themselves so crushed by rejection or negative feedback on a piece of writing that they set it aside and never re…

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Commit to Your Calendar

calendar

When you glance at your calendar for next week, what do you see? Is it mostly empty except for a couple of meetings on Thursday, but you know that you have classes to teach on Monday and Wednesday? Or maybe your calendar looks completely full, but you know that you won’t really get to half the tasks you’ve filled in the days with. Many of us either carry commitments in our heads that we have to think about when scheduling other events, or we have to sort through the mixed list of appointments a…

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Five Ways to Say No

say no to yes Do you ever find yourself attending an event or participating in a project that you don’t really have time for, aren’t interested in, or won’t benefit from in some personal or professional way? It happens to all of us. It can usually be traced back to that moment when you agreed to do the project, or attend the meeting, even though you already knew you didn’t want to. Or maybe you did think you wanted to attend – it seemed like a reasonable thing to do, or you wanted to support the person or gr…

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From the Archives: the First Week of the Academic Term

Classroom The ProfHacker archives are full of useful ideas, tools, and advice relevant to the first week of a new academic semester or quarter. In addition to the posts highlighted below, you may want to check out some previous From the Archives posts on New Semester, New Year, Creating Syllabi, and Grading.

Teaching: the first week

  • Brian’s So Now You’re A Teacher is aimed at new instructors, but contains useful reminders for anyone heading back into the classroom.

  • The ProfHacker team assembled a li…

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Five Things That Helped Us Survive Summer 2014

summer field

With the new academic season right around the corner, the ProfHacker team thought we’d share some of the things that we found especially useful, enjoyable, or interesting during the Summer months.  We hope you’ll find something useful or entertaining for the months ahead, especially since the weather will stay warm in many places for a few weeks. (You may also want to check out our 2010 and 2011 Things That Helped Us Survive Summer posts.) Let us know your favorite summer items in the comments…

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Back to School Supplies

binder clips

Part of getting ready for the new academic year involves stocking up on necessary supplies. Some of the suggestions we’ve covered before at ProfHacker include:

As I’ve mentioned previously, as a child I always loved getting the list of required sch…

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How Will You Wrap Up Summer?

swimming dog

The academic summer season has less to do with the solstice and equinox than with the academic calendar and the changes in population, traffic patterns, building hours, professional duties, and activities that occur on college campuses as we get ready for the start of a new year. Even if you do not have direct classroom contact with students, chances are that your work and/or your life will be affected in some ways by their return. (And, of course, if you have children in your household, then t…

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Why I Record my Conference Presentations

record stop buttons

While I was attending the ADHO Digital Humanities conference this summer, I wound up talking with several people about the shifts we’ve noticed in presentation styles within our respective disciplines. Although presenter habits vary by discipline, by field, and by conference, in my own fields of literature and digital humanities I’ve certainly noticed a shift away from the reading of written papers towards a more flexible presentation style, often accompanied by projected slides.

Back in the pr…