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Preparing to Teach a Large Online Course

With increased pressure on classroom spaces, many departments are moving courses online. I’ve written here at ProfHacker about teaching online previously, but in that past experience I was teaching a very small synchronous online course. While late-night video chats have their own challenges, that course gave me plenty of opportunities to hear directly from each student and encourage collaboration and discussion. This fall, I’m embarking on an online course on a far different scale: I’m teachin…

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Making Made Easier with 123D Apps

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I am lucky in that in our unit, we have our very own maker space, complete with a 3D printer, laser cutter, and a variety of Arduino chips (as well as K’nex and other physical making materials). We’re also really lucky to have our colleague Derek Eggers in charge of the space, along with working on maker pedagogy more broadly. He and I are collaborating to find ways to make making more accessible for so called non-traditional disciplines, such as the humanities.

One way we are developing is cre…

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Teaching a Class Again


We never teach the same course twice. Some of the changes are out of our control: new students, new classroom, new time. A move from early morning to late at night can change the whole feel of a topic, while a group of students with strong camaraderie might take on collaborative assignments very differently from a group that includes many non-traditional students or a range of disciplines. And of course when technology is involved, the foundations are likely to shift every semester: even when I…

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From the Archives: Getting Ready for the New Semester

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Sooner or later, the fall semester will start — and of course for some of us it already has. Here are some tips from the ProfHacker archives to help you navigate the transition.

Getting Ready to Teach

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Team Productivity Through Slack

When I started my undergrad, it was the first year that our university gave out an email address to everyone; previously, it was only by request. Our residence halls had also just been updated with what then was considered “high speed” internet (which I think was fiber optic?) instead of dial-up. I was WIRED in 1996, and I used email and the messaging service ICQ obsessively to stay in touch with my friends and family. My friends thought it was so cool that my mom emailed me (because she ac…

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Managing Links with Nuzzel

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Many’s the time I’ve been known to suggest that the people I engage with on Facebook and Twitter quit posting so many interesting links, because my reading list in Pocket is getting too long. All too often, Pocket is where links that I thought looked interesting go to die.

A few weeks back, I found a much better way to keep track of stories my social media contacts were linking to. I was listening to Fr. Roderick Vonhögen’s The Break podcast, and he mentioned Nuzzel. It’s available on the web, …

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Ends of Electronic? A Report from ELO2015

I spent last week at the Electronic Literature Organization Conference 2015, a gathering of scholars interested in work that plays with technology towards literary ends. The international festival is always a showcase of both scholarly and artistic work, and thus never fails to provide me with inspiration for next year’s projects. This year, as “electronic literature” in various forms has been going undeniably mainstream, some of the questions raised at the conference hold particular resonance …

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Weekend Reading: July 31 Edition

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Happy end of the month, ProfHackers! When you you are enjoying a bit of relaxation or riding the productivity wave, we hope that you’ve had a great July. Here are a few links to give you something to think about or talk about (or both) over the weekend.

From Gamergate to Cecil the Lion, Internet mob justice is out of control.” And here’s Roxane Gay “Of Lions and Men: Mourning Samuel DuBose and Cecil the Lion

Food for thought: “The Dorito Effect: Healthy food is blander than ever and it’s maki…

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Defend Against Disruption and Distraction

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Many professionals today struggle to handle interruptions that can pull you away from focused work. Interruptions come in lots of different forms, such as notifications of email or text messages, phone calls, someone knocking on your office door, or your own stream of thoughts.

In a recent episode of the Productivityist podcast, Mike Vardy talks about the distinction he makes between disruptions and distractions:

Disruptions are things that:

  • actually do demand your attention or response
  • are of…
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Seeking Suggestions for a Road Trip

Here at ProfHacker, we’ve previously written about travel, but this summer involves a 13+ hour car trip to Montreal with my two kids in the back seat. Most of our posts are about air travel and conference travel. And I’m looking for some advice.

Most travel apps focus on air travel or taking the scenic route. I am doing neither. I also won’t be traveling through any large cities along my route, making hotel finding apps almost useless.  And once I cross the boarder into Canada, I can kiss my…