May 23, 2013, 8:00 am
Whether your summer plans involve writing, teaching, travel, or relaxing, we’ve got something in the ProfHacker archives to help.
Plan Your Time: Anastasia points out that we often fall prey to an illusion of an “Endless” Summer and suggests that “more unscheduled time or perceived freedom can be dangerous, with the temptation of grandiose planning and over-commitment.” Last summer she experimented with an alternative calendar app to help plan her summer.
In Summerproofing Your to-Do List, Jason usefully warns that
It can be very easy to reach August with May’s goals largely untouched. This is perhaps especially true when you’re not teaching
Jason lists several task manager tools and approaches in his post, pointing out that it’s worth spending time now to set up whatever system you’ll use to track your summer goals and actions. In Get the Most From Summer With Well-Made Deadlines,…
May 20, 2013, 11:00 am
Now that I do all my conference travel with only an iPad, I’ve been looking for better solutions to creating presentations and content while on the road. One of the most interesting of these is the recently released free app Flowboard. The free storage includes 250 MB, which seems like enough for most projects, but there is a premium for more storage. Unfortunately Flowboard requires iOS 6 and an iPad, but it creates presentations that are published through its platform and easily viewed on the web, rather like Prezi.
Essentially, Flowboard is a streamlined tool for creating linear presentations, galleries, or magazine-like content with internal and external links, text, images and video. It’s similar to PowerPoint but with fewer options, and it eliminates some of my least favorite things that show up in PowerPoints: bullet points, tables, and random flashy animation. The Flowboard…
May 15, 2013, 8:00 am
Recently, I witnessed a Twitter conversation that pretty clearly demonstrated that the participants weren’t understanding one another very well on a key point. They worked things out, and the discussion ended with no hard feelings, but for a while the atmosphere seemed pretty tense, at least to those of us watching the conversation unfold.
Who the participants were in this particular instance really doesn’t matter, but the incident got me thinking about both the importance of effective communication and some of the difficulties involved in achieving it. Both the attitude we bring to a conversation and the means by which it takes place are vitally important.
In the Twitter conversation mentioned above, the two principal participants were able to work things out in part because there’s already a relationship—one involving mutual liking and respect—between them. They were…
May 9, 2013, 8:00 am
Do you have a favorite assignment? One that may or may not count for much in the grand scheme of the class, but that you always look forward to? Maybe, even, an assignment that never once makes you headdesk as you grade?
This week, I’m collecting finals and related work, which is not exactly a favorite assignment, even though (I think) the questions are useful, and the students (usually) are thoughtful. But I’m also sitting in my office and listening to my students recite the poems they’ve memorized over the semester as part of the British literature survey.
In any class where I’ve taught poetry, I have required memorization. It’s taken various forms: I used to require 40 lines, now it’s 20. In some semesters, I’ve had students memorize 14 lines from each period of the survey (so, romantic, Victorian, modernist, and contemporary). I frequently have students hand in a prose…
May 8, 2013, 11:00 am
As this academic year winds down, it’s time to start thinking about next year (after you finish up your semester, of course!). Looking back over the previous year is likely to remind one of things that didn’t go as well as they should have, and to spark ideas for how to do things differently in the future. However, as Jason has written, it’s important not to overcorrect. In some situations, it might be best to stick to one thing to change with regard to your research, teaching, service, or personal activities. That way, you can better track what effect that change has.
Next year, if you could change just one thing under your control, what would it be? Please share in this week’s open thread!
[Creative Commons-licensed flickr photo by Fabio Penna]
April 29, 2013, 8:00 am
I just got home from THATCamp Games II at Case Western Reserve University, where we played and made a lot of games. In the past I’ve talked about making games for the classroom using lots of technologies (Inform 7, inklewriter, Twine, Scratch), but games don’t require any computing power to be great. Physical board and card games can be powerful systems of representation and more immediately accessible for exploring something in a classroom. This might bring back made memories for some of us of classroom jeopardy–but when the mechanics of the game fit the content, it can be much more powerful than that.
During THATCamp Games II I taught a crash course workshop in making educational board games. Here’s the full Prezi from the workshop. The same basic process can be used for designing a game for a lesson or in asking students to make a game, which itself can provoke a different way of …
April 26, 2013, 8:00 am
Join the Postcolonial Digital Humanities (
#DHPoco) TODAY in our Global Women Wikipedia Write-In from 1-3pm EST! This write-in is aimed to improve and increase the amount of Wikipedia coverage on women outside of Europe and the United States.
If you’d like to join in, please sign up on the Wikipedia meetup page and check out the
#GWWI main event page. Also, if you’re on Twitter, send out a Tweet using the hashtag
#GWWI so that we’ll know you’re there. Real-time events are going on at HASTAC 2013, UCLA, Foothill College and the Sanger Papers at NYU.
Roopika Risam (@roopikarisam) and I will be live-blogging
#GWWI developments here between 1-3pm EST, so do follow along and let us know what you’re doing so we can add it to the live-blog! (Every little edit counts.)
Now on to today’s event. New Wikipedia editors often find that it is hard for them to create entries that will…
April 24, 2013, 11:00 am
Many of us at ProfHacker have written about digital projects for classes that demand collaboration. I teach game design, so my students are often involved in projects that demand a range of skillsets and are modeled after an industry that is largely team-based. It is essential that my students develop their skills at collaboration and playing different roles on teams in demanding projects. However, as the end of the semester looms, a few teams always fall apart. A student drops out of the class or disappears; a student is ill and misses several supervised team development days; a student proves unable or unwilling to do the work or team dynamics go awry.
Here are a few of the policies I’ve been trying for handing these breakdowns in collaborative work:
- Invisible teammates are ex-teammates. After a certain number of absences from essential days, or one unexcused absence from a…
April 24, 2013, 8:00 am
We’ve all had those days. Nothing goes right. A project we’re working on takes far longer than we thought it would — in large part because nothing’s going right. The code we thought would work doesn’t. We thought we knew how to proceed with the project, but we don’t. We feel like we’re in over our heads, and we’re ready to pull our hair out.
It’s enormously frustrating. Yet, two experiences this year with course assignments suggest (at least to me) that frustration isn’t necessarily a bad thing. The first assignment involved hand-coding the beginnings (just a few basic pages) of a web site using HTML and CSS. I pretty quickly found out that I didn’t have quite as good a grasp of HTML and CSS as I thought I did. I spent a lot of time looking things up, trying to figure out how to get the site to do what I wanted it to do.
The second assignment involved setting up a site that was…