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SLICKS Travel Backpack – Review

When you're stuck in the airport for hours and you notice your backpack trolling you.

Two years ago, I found myself in a situation where I was able to bike to work. The challenge was that I also typically wear dresses to work, and not the kind that you can just throw into a backpack. What I was looking for was a garment bag that was also a backpack. Ryan Cordell has reviewed some of the world of travel bags in this space, but this was a very specific need on my part.

It was a harder to find than a thought it would be, with most options being either unsuitable (haha) for anything…

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Scaling Up Courses

With the new semester upon us, many people are getting ready to try out new course preps or revisit familiar classes. The too-brief break of the holiday season doesn’t provide much time for preparation, so I find the last days before the semester begins can be a frantic time for revision and planning. I’ve previously addressed strategies for revising a past course, which can be particularly helpful if the dynamics of the course remain generally the same. However, increasing demands on universit…

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Three Words for the New Semester

One of my favorite things about the rhythms of academic life is that we get to start fresh several times a year. A new semester brings new students, new courses, new research opportunities, and the chance to try doing something a bit differently.

Here at ProfHacker, Amy’s written before about setting New Year’s resolutions to improve on the previous semester’s experience, and Anastasia’s written about setting teaching resolutions for a new semester.

To focus my intentions and actions for the ne…

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Context Matters in Social Media

I’ve been thinking for a while that the real barrier to entry on Twitter is the layers of context you need to have in order to be able to navigate it well. I believe the reason you can have deep conversations in 140 characters aren’t because it’s easy to make deep and meaningful statements in 140 characters (though some people are masters at this), but rather because there are layers of contexts behind each 140 character statement, such that someone who is aware of the context gets so much more…

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E-Portfolios Are Not the Fitbit of Higher Education

sketchbook

This month Jeff Young, Goldie Blumenstyk, and friends have launched a new section of the Chronicle, called “Re:Learning: Mapping the New Education Landscape”, which looks at some of the recent technological, economic, and political challenges to higher education. I think–and not just because it would be on brand to say so–that this is a potentially interesting refresh of the Wired Campus focus.

On their Facebook page yesterday, they shared a Forbes article arguing that e-portfolios are the Fit…

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What I Like About Hypothes.is

Annotations in a book

Some of us have written on web annotation here on ProfHacker (see Lee’s post last May and the comment thread).

Whenever people have encouraged me to use Hypothes.is for web annotation, my first question had always been, “so how is it different from Diigo?” and Google didn’t seem to have an answer to that (some of us should probably do the world a favor and update the outdated wikipedia page comparing web annotation tools). I recently found a very good use for it, and started testing it, and dis…

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Doing Focused Work in Distracted Times: Cal Newport’s Deep Work

Cat, staring intently

Although the book didn’t quite arrive in time for New Year’s resolutions (which are junk anyway), 2016 has already seen the publication of Cal Newport’s eagerly-awaited new title, Deep Work: Rules for Focused Success in a Distracted World (Grand Central Publishing), which promises to offer research-driven guidelines for doing meaningful work. And it’s pretty successful at this goal!

Cal Newport is the prior author of So Good They Can’t Ignore You: Why Skills Trump Passion in the Quest for Work…

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Communicating with Students: A Suggestion About Email

Rendered three-dimensional @ symbol, here used to represent email.

Here at ProfHacker, we’ve written several posts about email over the years. I don’t know about you, but it feels like I receive way more email than I know what to do with. And regardless of who is sending them, a significant percentage of the emails that I do receive are, shall we say, constructed in a manner than is less than ideal: vague subject lines, announcements that include all important information in an image attachment, requests for information that take the sender 5 minutes to ask bu…

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Starting off in Markdown with Word-to-Markdown

Piece of paper with Markdown formatting

Over the years, we’ve written a lot about Markdown–the simple, human-readable language for formatting text–here at ProfHacker. Lincoln wrote an introductory post about it a few years back, and followed that up with one on Pandoc, a tool that lets you convert all manner of text documents ond another on Markdownifier, a tool that lets you grab plain text from (almost) any web page. We’ve had several posts on tools for writing in Markdown: Cory on WikiPack, Mark on Gonzo, me on TextDrop, Natalie o…

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Open Thread Wednesday: Conference Season FOMO or JOMO

Photo of a big crowd

Early January is definitely one of the peak conference seasons, as scholarly organizations such as the MLA, the AHA, the AAS, and others take advantage of the US winter break to convene large meetings.

But no matter how big the conference is, most people don’t go, whether from lack of money, lack of interest, competing priorities, traumas from previous conferences, or just a need to recharge between semesters. For those of us who aren’t attending a major conference this week, watching waves of…