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The Power of Looking Closely

IMG_0144

At least in the US, it’s the start of a long holiday weekend, and elsewhere there are things like the Euros and Brexit to distract people from the internet, alas.

I wanted to share this video by Amy Herman on “Visual Intelligence,” based on her book Visual Intelligence: Sharpen Your Perception, Change Your Life, which in turn was based on a project she used to do at the Frick Collection while she was training medical students how to look at art. The reason I like it is that the single favorite …

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Plain Language and Inclusive Document Design

bright colorful tree and fields

I’ve been doing a lot of thinking this month about making teaching documents of all kinds more accessible. Some of this is about a syllabus, but some of it is about rethinking some of our signs and documentation at work, as well as ways that we can make our edX courses more accessible to that highly varied audience. So I was delighted to discover an excellent new article on In the Library with the Lead Pipe by Jennifer Turner & Jessica Schomberg on “Inclusivity, Gestalt Principles, and Plain La…

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Like Evernote? Be Aware of Pricing Changes

hanging folders

Evernote is a fairly widely-used tool for corralling and then exploring information. There have been numerous posts about Evernote here at ProfHacker, such as Shawn Miller’s introduction to the tool, Kathleen Fitzpatrick’s testimonial as an Evernote convert, Amy’s account of teaching with it, and a variety of posts about using Evernote on your phone, with Markdown, or in web browsers.

There is a long tradition of speculating on Evernote’s business model–although it has a lot of users, most of …

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How to Quickly Extract Media from Slide Decks

piles and piles of paper

If you’ve ever wanted to quickly extract the media (images, etc.) from a presentation such as PowerPoint or Keynote, there turns out to a pretty simple way to do it. This may well be common knowledge, but, as my friend Merlin Mann likes to say, every day somone’s born who’s never seen The Flintstones. That is, it’s always new to someone–and this was new to me.

The key is to recognize that PowerPoint and Keynote files are basically just bundles of other files–that is, they’re fancy ZIP files:

S…

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Shrubs: A Refreshing Summer Drink

On a recent lunch-time pizza outing, I was introduced to a non-alcoholic drink I’d never heard of before: a shrub. The drink served at our table was a mixture of vinegar (stay with me, here), strawberry & rhubarb, sugar, and carbonated water. While a drink with a vinegar base might sound less than appealing, it was really very good! Doing a little research, I discovered that — as the the New York Times explained last year — “[t]he modern American shrub … has roots in England, when vinegar was …

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Make a More Inclusive Syllabus with Tulane’s Accessible Syllabus Project

small packages of useful things

Ok, I know it’s still June and so probably a little too early to be thinking about your fall syllabus. But if the alternative is thinking about #Brexit–or, worse, reflecting that “what is the EU?” is a top Google search *in* *England* today–maybe it’s not such a bad thing? I’m teaching a class this fall for the first time in a couple of years, and so I’ve been stealing a few minutes here and there to think about it.

Via Gerry Canavan, a syllabus-design resource that’s new to me is Tulane’s Acce…

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Preparing for the Press: How to Talk to Reporters

LEGO female scientist

Academics and journalists often have an uneasy relationship. Academics love nuance and writing for experts; journalists tend to value a clear, comprehensible story. And while most academics would be thrilled if more people heard about their work, nobody wants to be at the heart of a political controversy–especially when untenured. (And it’s not just faculty who are unhappy about the press–when I was on the AAUP’s Collective Bargaining Congress, one of the things we learned is that the threat of…

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Open Thread Wednesday: Digital Life After Death

Stairs to Heaven

Although this is a post about digital death, it is not meant to be morose or anything. I just occasionally think of this problem, and while discussing it privately with Jim Groom (co-founder of Reclaim Hosting) recently, I thought it might be worth asking other academics what they are thinking of doing about this. My two questions are:

  1. What happens to a person’s website on their own domain when they die? (currently – it basically dies)

  2. What happens to a person’s digital purchases (Kindle, A…

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Review: The Videographic Essay – Criticism in Sound & Image

Film

I have long been interested in assigning alternatives to the standard essay, and so I read Janine Utell’s recent guest-post here on teaching with video essays with great interest. I’ve long admired what Ryan has accomplished with his unessay assignment, and even tried to do my own kind of assignment using the great resource Writer/Designer: A Guide to Making Multimodal Projects. I have yet to be successful in assigning a great not-essay assignment in a traditional literature or writing course, …

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#PulseOrlandoSyllabus: a Crowdsourced Teaching Resource

As a professor at the University of Central Florida, I was glued to Twitter on Sunday following the tragic aftermath of the Orlando shooting during Latinx night at popular gay / GLBTQ nightclub Pulse. Several students and graduates from colleges around the area are on the list of dead, and local campuses (including mine) have been hosting blood drives and vigils in the wake. It’s always difficult to know what to do after this type of event in classes: I pushed back the deadline for assignments …