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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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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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Making Worlds with Unity

Unity

When I started getting interested in game development over a decade ago, most of the available options took a lot of coding and–for one kid, working alone–didn’t feel like they could ever lead to much in the way of results. Tools for game-making have come a long way in their accessibility and their results, as I’ve examined throughout this series: Construct 2 offers a building-block environment for building HTML5 2D games; Inform 7 includes a natural language environment for writing interactive…

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Weekend Reading: Back to School Countdown Edition

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TGIF, ProfHackers! As the beginning of the semester looms, many of us are trying to enjoy the last moments of freedom while others are finalizing syllabi and trying to meeting writing deadlines before classes begin. Amidst all of this preparation, the world has had a very busy week, and if your social media feed is anything like mine, it has been on constant overload for several days now.

One of the biggest stories to break over the last six days comes out of Ferguson, Missouri. The St. Louis s…

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5 Things You Can Do To Prepare For The New Semester

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A couple of weeks ago, Natalie wrote a post about wrapping up the summer. I know, I know. Say it isn’t so!

Well, today I’d like move from summer to fall by point you to a handful of posts I wrote in the early ProfHacker days about getting ready for a new term. Not everyone is going to find all of this advice helpful, obviously, but we hope that there are at least a few things in these posts that can be of use to you:

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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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Weekend Reading: Poppies in London Edition

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Happy weekend, ProfHackers!

Over the course of the summer, historians have observed the centennial anniversaries of the First World War. This weekend, one hundred years ago, Europe stood poised on the brink of war. France and England had been issued ultimatums by Germany on July 31, 1914, and mobilization had begun along the Russian and German borders. The Telegraph has outlined the main eventsNewsweek ran a photographic feature titled, “The Scars of World War I Battlefields a Century Later …

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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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How Will You Wrap Up Summer?

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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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Cross-Platform Applications for Daily Work

Multiple operating systems in actionSometimes our readers give us good ideas for posts. After my post about fully replacing ChromeOS with Linux, a reader asked what Linux software I use for academic purposes. I suggested Zotero for PDF management, and also pointed him to Steven Ovadia’s @steven_ovadia blog — which has an “academic” tag — for further ideas.

In case other readers are interested (or have recommendations of their own to share!), I thought it worth mentioning some other applications academics might find useful.

My firs…