Category Archives: Reviews


Digital Distractions: Halloween Edition

Halloween marks for many of us a turning point in the semester, as we move from “fall” into winter and the quickly-approaching holiday season. The mid-point of the semester can often be stressful for students and professors as we start to look towards finals and even begin preparing for spring. If you’re looking to take a break from grading and embrace the remaining days of autumn, here are a few suggestions for season-appropriate digital distractions


Who Speaks at Meetings? Find Out with GenderTimer

Complex Balance

Nobody really likes meetings, but, at the same time, one has to work with other people. (How unpopular are meetings? It looks like US Office of Strategic Services used typical meeting strategies as guidance for how to sabotage enemy organizations.) The fact that nobody likes meetings, of course, doesn’t mean that we don’t like them in quite the same way.

A topic that I’ve tried to become more aware of recently is gendered differences in meeting behavior. Although it frequently comes labeled wit…


Starting Your Own Website: Reclaim Your Hosting

If you’re a regular ProfHacker reader, you probably understand the importance of building and having control over your web presence. We’ve posted a “Website Hosting 101 guide back in 2009, a primer for creating your digital presence in 2011 with a guest post by Miriam Posner, and tips on how, and how often to update your website by Anastasia.

Now that the new school year has begun, some of you may be looking to start a professional website of your own. To create a website, you’re going to need…


Designing Engaging Course Documents with Piktochart


This is a guest post by Julie Platt, currently Assistant Professor of English at the University of Arkansas at Monticello. She researches and teaches about writing centers, creative writing studies, professional writing, and technical communication. On Twitter, she’s @Aristotlejulep.–@JBJ]

It’s sometimes a struggle to get students to carefully read course documents. Many student questions, especially at this time of year, can be answered with “Please check the syllabus!” However, when I c…


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…


Making an Impact with Games?

I’ve written a lot about using and making games for the classroom here at ProfHacker, as while games and learning have been around for a long time our ability (and interest) in realizing their potential is on the rise. One of the continuing challenges for bringing games into education is assessing the impact of games on learning. Often, it’s hard even to agree on what we want games to accomplish: are we most interested in raising student engagement? Reaching learners who are alienated by tradit…


Schedule Meetings Anywhere with Meet


In May, Amy wrote suggested Sunrise as an interesting cross-platform calendar option, right before it was bought by Microsoft. I don’t use Sunrise myself (Fantastical for life), but their most recent version does have a feature that led me to install it: The ability to send invitations via any iOS or Android app that accepts text input.

This happens via a 3rd-party keyboard, which is called Meet. (This is ever-so-slightly confusing, as Meet is part of the Sunrise app, not a separate installat…


Find Your Lost Keys (and Other Things) with Tile

My wife loses her keys often. I don’t mean to cast aspersions; I have plenty of my own quirks and foibles, to be sure. It makes sense, too. We have busy lives, and it’s easy for keys to be thrown in bags or tossed on counters and forgotten—until they’re needed. As a result, though, we spend far too much time, particularly in the mornings, turning the house over in search of the keys that will help us get out the door to work.

Enter the Tile, a small bluetooth finder that you can attach to keys …


Revisiting Mailbox for Managing Emails

Just over two years ago, I wrote about my early experiences with the Mailbox email application. Since then a lot has happened with Mailbox: it was acquired by Dropbox, for one, and it has released openly-available apps for iPad, iPhone, and Android Phones, as well as a beta desktop application for OS X. I’ve been using Mailbox since then—save one brief flirtation with Inbox for Gmail, which borrows many of Mailbox’s ideas and about which I may write soon—and wanted to write a brief followup.



Keeping Track of Your Public Writing With Contently

[Lee Skallerup Bessette is a Faculty Instructional Consultant at the Center for the Enhancement of Teaching and Learning (CELT) at the University of Kentucky. She primarily works with faculty on digital pedagogy and digital humanities. She blogs at College Ready Writing and you can find her tweeting prolifically at @readywriting.--@JBJ]

I’ve written for ProfHacker before about freelance writing; given the proliferation of platforms, more and more academics are writing on and for various media o…