All posts by Ryan Cordell


What’s in Your Favorite Teaching Kit?

This summer I had the great fortune to attend the Rare Book School in Charlottesville, Virginia and learn much more about material book history, one of my research interests. While there, a few of the instructors discussed building a classroom kit for teaching the history of the book. For that particular subject area, a kit might include pieces of type, a composing stick, a printer’s wood block, a line of linotype, or pages printed using different techniques. Though these might seem like rare it…


Weekend Reading: Bleary-Eyed Grading Edition

I suspect many ProfHacker readers are, like me, desperately reading, marking, grading, reading, marking grading. Given that whirl of end-of-semester activity, this weekend’s reading will be minimalistic.


When Technology Fails, Redux

3896121914_1c3610084c_oA few years ago I wrote a column about when technology fails in the classroom. I wrote then, about such moments of tech failure:

Sometimes that failure is the tech’s fault—internet access in a building drops away during a web-based presentation, for example. Other times it’s user error, as with my class blogs. Many observers, however, won’t distinguish between machine- and user-generated failures. Either way, then, these can be anxious moments for known Profs. Hacker—departmental techi…


Use Google Drive to Keep Your Online Class Schedule Up-to-Date

Early last year I wrote about using Scholarpress Courseware + WordPress to manage class websites. While I’m still a big fan of WordPress Multisite for my class websites, I have in recent semesters moved away from using Courseware. For one, Courseware hasn’t been updated in awhile, and doesn’t seem to work as smoothly with recent versions of WordPress. More practically, however, I found myself getting frustrated when making changes to a class schedule in Courseware.

In a perfect semester, the sch…


Organize Your Charging with a Mini Surge Protector

I suspect many ProfHacker readers, like me, have accumulated any number of USB-charged devices: phones and tablets, especially, but other devices too. I used to charge my phone and tablet primarily through my computer, as they needed to be plugged in to sync. Since most devices have introduced wireless syncing, however, I find less and less need (or desire) to hook them up to a computer.

The wall chargers that come with different devices can also be awkward; a USB chord alone would be better. Wh…


A Report from DPLAFest

Last April, Lincoln introduced ProfHacker readers to the Digital Public Library of America. The DPLA describes itself this way:

The Digital Public Library of America brings together the riches of America’s libraries, archives, and museums, and makes them freely available to the world. It strives to contain the full breadth of human expression, from the written word, to works of art and culture, to records of America’s heritage, to the efforts and data of science. The DPLA aims to expand this…


Streaming Video Magic with Chromecast

Some new devices do something so beautifully and seamlessly that they seem like magic. I remember, for instance, the first time I used the touchscreen on an iPhone. Suddenly, the whole touchscreen concept—which had until that time seemed awkward and unnecessary—suddenly made sense. Google’s new ChromeCast is such a device. It’s an incredibly simple solution to the problem of streaming video from a computer to a television. And it just works. Here are the basics:

  1. Chromecast costs $35. That’s it….

Weekend Reading: Government Reopen Edition

171803338_d596fbcd9e_nWe never shut down here at ProfHacker, of course, but we were happy to see our friends at the NEH, Library of Congress, and elsewhere back at work this week. As they head into their first post-shutdown weekend, let’s round up some links worth reading from around the web:

  • This past Tuesday was Ada Lovelace Day, an annual celebration of women in STEM fields (and, at least by adoption, in the digital humanities). In honor of Ada Lovelace, Melissa Terras posted a fantastic historical piece about th…

Stand (in the Place Where You Work): And Stand On Something Already!

6134333174_4d8be76091_nSince writing a series of posts about switching to a standing desk, colleagues regularly ask me about this experience when I see them at conferences and other events. Lots of academics have switched to more frequent standing or are considering doing so. Overall I think this is a good thing. I never went back after my experiment: one year in I’m still standing 2/3 of most work days. Indeed, I’ve found that when I attend an event which requires extended sitting—such as a conference—I get antsy…


Weekend Reading: Mr. Autumn Man Edition

3b07162rWell, fall is coming, at least here in New England, where I’m quickly morphing into Mr. Autumn Man. Here are some links for a semester well underway: