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Completing To-Do Lists

abandoned truck overgrown with plants

To-do lists should be so easy and useful: keep a list of things that have to be done, do them, then cross them off the list! And yet they are not: undead items return from one week’s list to the next; we focus so much on recording the things to do that we forget to do All. The. Things, and within a few weeks our to-do list is a source of fear and dread rather than reassurance.

For those academics who have a summer break, the summer can be a time to refocus on one’s list, to keep the halycon day…

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Software that Supports Multilingual Dialogue

If you are reading this, chances are, you understand English. Do we realize how much of our online interactions are in English, and how much we are missing of who and what lives on the internet that is not speaking/writing English?

I had a recent interaction on Twitter with Juan Domingo Farnos (@Juandoming) and a few other people, in which Juan responded to all of our English tweets in Spanish, and Twitter on my phone had a quick translate link (this uses Bing). This conversation was a little s…

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New Keywords on Digital Pedagogy

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In December, I posted about the MLA’s open review process for a new collection, Digital Pedagogy in the Humanities: Concepts, Models, and Experiments.

To kick off the summer, the editors–Katherine Harris, Rebecca Frost Davis, Jentery Sayers, and Matt Gold–have released a fresh batch of keywords, open for review until July 1. They include: George Williams on “Access”; Diane K. Jakacki on “Blogging”; Joyce R. Walker on “Classr…

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Writing on a Plane?

I started writing this post as the toddler behind me (who, perhaps understandably, is not a believer in seat belts) has once again started pounding on the back of my seat. My knees are at an odd angle, and I had to contort strangely to even begin to recover my laptop from the “personal item” wedged under the seat in front of me. My fairly small and portable laptop is still too wide for the tray table, rendering the possibility of the mouse moot, and the $5 wi-fi charge for basic internet st…

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Why You Just Lost 20 Minutes to the Internet

red clock

When was the last time you checked email, Facebook, or Twitter? (Are you checking those feeds right now, while you’ve got a tab open for this blog post?)

Does your time on the internet distract you from your priority projects and tasks? If so, you’re not alone.  Almost everyone I talk to about productivity complains about losing time online because it’s so easy to find yourself following a trail of links you didn’t deliberately set out to read.

In fact, most apps and online sites are intentiona…

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EdTech Conference Etiquette: Tips from eLearning Africa

eLearning Africa participant discussion

I spend so much time smoothly meeting strangers online that it feels a lot more awkward going to events where I don’t have close friends or colleagues. I can handle being on my own for some time, but after a while I really want to be sitting next to someone I know at each session so we can talk about it, and have interesting companions at lunch. Why would you go to a conference if you aren’t going to network, right?

I was recently at eLearning Africa in Cairo, and I could only do a pre-conferen…

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7 Signs It’s Time to Break Up with Your Writing Group.

[This is a guest post by Jennifer Ahern-Dodson, an assistant professor of the Practice in Writing Studies at Duke University, where she teaches digital storytelling, researches faculty learning communities, and directs the Faculty Write Program. Previously at ProfHacker she wrote "Scholarly Writing Hacks: 5 Lessons I Learned Writing Every Day in June." You can follow her on Twitter @jaherndodson.]

I love my writing group. I’ve been in my current writing group for eight years, and we’ve surv…

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Productivity Through Accountability

Finding the motivation to persevere through lengthy tasks with no end or reward in sight is a major part of being an academic: the process of writing a thesis is metaphorically compared to training for a marathon for a reason, and both certainly result in plenty of pain before the pay-off. I use running as my main strategy to counteract many hours spent at the computer, and I’ve found that signing up for a race and committing to a training plan is the only way I make any progress. It’s not unli…

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Preparing Audience-Sensitive Presentations and Workshops

When we teach a class, we have a semester to get to know our students and adapt our teaching to their interests and needs. But when you are invited to present a keynote or facilitate a workshop to people you know little or nothing about, how do you ensure you are sufficiently sensitive to your audience?

This kind of thing drives me nuts. I can be giving a workshop on the same topic and I would do it completely differently to faculty at my institution vs other universities in Egypt. It would be …

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To Test for Accessibility, Try Navigating Without Your Mouse

A significant percentage of those who use your web pages are people with disabilities, and many of those people can’t use a mouse to navigate through the information they find there. For example, for people who are blind or have low vision a graphical user interface is useless, so they rely on their keyboard alone. Those of us who are sighted might find it difficult to imagine what it means to navigate information by keyboard alone, but there’s an easy way to learn: stop using your mouse for an…