Category Archives: Profession

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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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Citing Syllabi

5167905071_e42568a44f_zMy first experience in the syllabi bakery was years ago while doing some tech support for a certain well-known scholar. She was staring at the beginnings of a reading list on her office computer while I tried to restore a dead laptop. Suddenly, she jumped to her feet and began to browse through her impressive collection of books, ‘Agency,’ she mumbled, ‘I need to assign something on agency.’ The professor was still on a search for agency when I left.

Wow, that looks hard, I thought. Having read …

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Open Thread Wednesday: Tips for a New Campus

7976036483_96c0559ddb_k For most of us, the start of the semester is either underway or looming just around the corner. For those who, like me, find themselves on a new campus this fall, this new beginning is even more dramatic. There are many posts from the archives with ProfHackers offering advice to newcomers on campus: Brian wrote an open letter to new graduate students; Billie offered advice to first-time professors; Jeffrey addressed new departments chairs; and Nels offered tips for the newly-tenured. Taking on …

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On Politeness as a Strategy

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Despite its fondness for elaborate rituals, higher education really isn’t all that polite. Every campus has its faculty or staff member(s) who are notoriously fractious and hard to work with, and, more generally, higher education doesn’t really select for “playing well with others.” (Indeed, if you Google “academic decorum,” a result on the first page includes musings on whether creativity and collegiality are truly compatible.) Higher education’s traditional employment practices can mean that …

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Simple Screencasting Tips

Second Life Tutorial - screencastDoes anyone visit Second Life anymore? Perhaps not, or at least not often. But video tutorials are still very helpful, which makes screencasting a useful skill to develop.

We’ve covered screencasting in this space before, beginning with this introductory guide. It’s still well worth a look, even nearly five years later, and the basic workflow for screencasting hasn’t changed much.

It’s one thing to read through the basics of screencasting, though, and another to actually do it. Over the summer, …

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Tools for Transitions: Settling In

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In my last few posts, I’ve been blogging about the process of an academic move, from finding a new place to leaving my old campus and packing up. I’m now at a stage far less defined, perhaps because it is the first step without a deadline: trying to settle in to a new state, new home, new job, and new life.

  • Find your local paper (or blog!). For once, I’ve been grateful for still-kicking city papers, community fliers, local Facebook groups, and even weekly ads for giving me a sense of what’s …

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Why I Record my Conference Presentations

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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…

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Tools for Transitions: Preparing to Move

moving I am in the middle of the first real move of my adult life. While I’ve been in and out of dorms and apartments, I’ve never ventured far from my home state for long, and much of my stuff has been accumulating in the same room for twenty years. I’ve been unearthing papers from grade school, papers from graduate school, over-sized clothes, under-sized clothes, books that are falling apart at the seams, unread books, and the occasional unclaimed student project. Being a Profhacker-type, I initiall…

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Bad Meetings Are Your Fault

[This post originally appeared in 2009, but we thought it would be a good idea to share it again.]

If you’re consistently in bad meetings, it’s time to look in the mirror.

No one would accept consistently terrible classes. No one would continually repeat research procedures that didn’t yield interesting data. But there’s this weird assumption that meetings are just inherently bad and unimprovable.

Meetings are a problem when no one is accountable for them. Sometimes this is because the group’s …

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Tools for Transitions: Leaving Campus Tech Services


Summer is a big time for academic transitions. Last week I talked about tools for finding a new home, but once you’ve found somewhere to go, it’s a lot of work to get there–I’m writing this while surrounded by unpacked boxes and stacks of books. One of the first steps is to clear out of your former campus, which can be complicated depending on how many years you’ve spent invested not only in your physical office but in all of the campus’s digital services.

Here are the big technology tasks that…