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Backup and Development with Installatron

A screenshot of cPanel

It’s no secret that we love WordPress here at ProfHacker. It powers this blog, and many of us use it for our own personal, professional, and/or course sites.

As with anything else digital, it’s important to back up your WordPress installation, and to check those backups regularly.

We’ve also noted that, when making significant changes to your site, it’s good practice to work in a development environment, rather than on a live site. So we’ve also covered how to set up a development environment o…

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Looking for an Exchange Calendar for Mac? Try Fantastical 2.2

LEGO calendar
Like most of the apps Apple bundles with OS X, Calendar is very . . . eh. The best thing you can say about it is that plays pretty well with the various iDevices, and it can be used as a source of data for other calendaring apps.

Since 2010, one of the nicest calendar apps for OS X (and iOS) has been Fantastical, which has distinguished itself from the start with slick design and very nifty natural language parsing for adding events quickly and sensibly. It started as a menubar app, moved to t…

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Showcasing Digital Student Work

Digital projects have been at the center of a number of ProfHacker posts: the easy and free availability of cool tools for making things gives us all sorts of possibilities for the classroom. However, works produced in the classroom often have a very small audience, with peers and the professor serving as the only guaranteed audience. Creating opportunities for showcasing digital student work for outside audiences can provide incentives and recognition for great student work while also creating…

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When Should You Reply to Email?

cat at laptop

An uncomfortable truth about the modern workplace is that many people are buried under a seemingly-endless flow of email. Reading it, responding to it, and managing it can take a lot of time unless you have a good system in place. Today I just want to focus on the question of when you should respond to email.

Reply to email on your own schedule, not whenever your software notifies you a new item has arrived. The most important way to gain some control over the firehose of email is to set aside …

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Digital Distractions: Interactive Cats

catcomputer

With my semester hitting crunch time, I’ve been using a number of digital distractions for quick breaks in between grading and editing. The internet is, of course, great at providing cat pictures for those who turn to Facebook or Twitter for diversion — but there’s also a number of recent awesome cat-centric interactive works that can provide both cool models of interactivity and cuteness. Here are three of my current favorites:

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Making Beginnings Out of Endings – @DigPedLab Cairo #DigPed

selfie taken by pro photographer

I write this the day immediately after the end of the Digital Pedagogy Lab Cairo: an AMICAL institute. We had three intense days, followed by a full day unconference. We had a lot of virtual options (livestreams of keynotes and recordings of Virtually Connecting sessions here). We had fun!

I organized this event at the American University in Cairo (AUC), as part of my role at the Center for Learning and Teaching. Most of the event was for fully-registered participants taking part in one of two…

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Experimenting with Specifications Grading

Noted media scholar and friend-of-ProfHacker Jason Mittell has been experimenting with a new way of grading, called “specifications grading,” on the grounds that “figuring out a way to rethink the culture of grades would be the most effective and impactful reform” available at a school such as Middlebury.

Mittell borrows specifications grading from Linda Nilson (also see her book), and in Mittell’s description at least, it sounds very like what many of us know as contract grading (see also), ex…

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Curing the Blue Light Blues

As Jason pointed out recently, many of us are suffering from sleep debt — and that’s not only the amount of sleep we know we’re missing, but the additional amount of sleep we would need to move past our usual level of accustomed tiredness to something closer to optimal function:

By this point in the semester, many faculty and students are, if this research is correct, operating at cognitive deficits similar to pulling all-nighters for two days.

One reason we’re staying up at night? Our beloved …