by

To Become a Writer, Track Your Writing

8932033483_187b8a780e_z

The great secret about writing is that there isn’t any particular secret to it: You just have to show up and do it. Again, and again, and again. (There’s a reason there are books like Writing Your Dissertation in Fifteen Minutes a Day, but not any called Writing Your Dissertation in a Single Caffeine- and Adderall-Fueled Week.) If you make writing a habit, then that habitual work pays off in words. Sometimes it even leads to inspiration.

And it’s also not a secret that to form a habit, it help…

by

Bad Meetings Are Your Fault

[This post originally appeared in 2009, but we thought it would be a good idea to share it again.]

If you’re consistently in bad meetings, it’s time to look in the mirror.

No one would accept consistently terrible classes. No one would continually repeat research procedures that didn’t yield interesting data. But there’s this weird assumption that meetings are just inherently bad and unimprovable.

Meetings are a problem when no one is accountable for them. Sometimes this is because the group’s …

by

Tools for Transitions: Leaving Campus Tech Services


Summer is a big time for academic transitions. Last week I talked about tools for finding a new home, but once you’ve found somewhere to go, it’s a lot of work to get there–I’m writing this while surrounded by unpacked boxes and stacks of books. One of the first steps is to clear out of your former campus, which can be complicated depending on how many years you’ve spent invested not only in your physical office but in all of the campus’s digital services.

Here are the big technology tasks that…

by

Editorial is a Powerful, Flexible iOS App for Text Editing

[This is a guest post by Jason A. Heppler, the Academic Technology Specialist in the Department of History at Stanford University and a Ph.D. candidate in History at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. Jason tweets at @jaheppler.]

There are a great many text editors on iOS, the operating system for iPhone and iPad. Just one glance at Brett Terpstra’s list of markdown editors can attest to the range of offerings available on the platform.

Editorial — available in the iOS app store — stands above the rest.

Continue reading

by

On Deadlines

hourglass wrought iron

Some hard (and sometimes hard-won) truths about deadlines, academic and otherwise:

Some deadlines are really, truly, firm. And some are not.

Some deadlines come with negative consequences for not meeting them in a timely fashion. Some do not.

Some negative consequences take physical or visible forms, such as late fees, delayed diplomas, or cancelled accounts. Some negative consequences are psychological and emotional, such as feelings of embarrassment, guilt, or shame.

Deadlines and their flexi…

by

Tools for Transitions: Finding A New Home


For most of us in academia, big transitions are inevitable. We move from graduate school in one state to a postdoc or fellowship in another and perhaps through several such temporary positions in search of permanence. And, even if found, permanence can be an illusion as needs of departments, family ties, and other life considerations get in the way. I’m in the midst of a big transition this summer: I’m relocating to Orlando for a new job at the University of Central Florida. So as I navigate th…

by

Survey on Digital Games Use in the Classroom


A survey of grade school educators on using games in the classroom was recently released by the Games and Learning Publishing Council (funded by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation). While this survey isn’t directly applicable to those of us working in higher education, the adoption and success of games methods in K-12 will impact responses to those approaches when we try them in our classes with those students years later.

A few findings that stand out:

  • 55% of the surveyed teachers who incl…
by

Use Copy for Cloud Storage Backup and File Sharing

5810163712_ac8a7f249e_b

[Jason A. Heppler is the Academic Technology Specialist in the Department of History at Stanford University and a Ph.D. candidate in History at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. He tweets at @jaheppler.]

Recent announcements are showing a trend in cheaper storage solutions and cloud backups. Google recently updated its pricing for Drive storage and now offers 15 GB for free and incredibly cheap prices for 100 GB, 1 TB, and 10TB+. At WWDC, Apple announced changes to its iCloud service towards …

by

Weekend Reading: Walking a Cabbage Edition

3291171324_e9b8c284f6_z Happy weekend, ProfHackers!

For many of us, summer means spending time outside, whether walking our dog (or a cabbage–see below!), taking kids to the pool or mowing the grass. But summer is also tick season, and with ticks, increasingly, comes Lyme disease. Even if you are not a runner, this article in Runner’s World magazine details the early symptoms of Lyme disease, treatment options and prevention. The Huffigton Post shares nine things to know about tickborne illness. If you do happen to ge…

by

Select and Click: PopClip Makes Text Manipulation Easy on the Mac

2349630839_b9dd76fed4_o

[This is a guest post by Jim Cracraft, a Language Teaching Specialist and technology coordinator at Vanderbilt University's English Language Center (ELC), which offers English language support to individuals who have a first language other than English. He can be reached through the center's website: http://vanderbilt.edu/elc/ --@JBJ]

As a longtime Mac user who does not own an iOS device, I have been somewhat reluctant to embrace the steady “iOS-ification” of the Mac–you know, the aesthetic and…