Tag Archives: productivity


Crowd-Sourcing Examinations

[Note: this post is adapted from part of a talk I recently gave to the NJEDge Annual Faculty Showcase.]

It’s no secret that we at ProfHacker like GoogleDocs. Ryan Cordell has used Google Docs to run a peer-review writing workshop, and George Williams has previously written about using GoogleDocs to take collaborative notes at conference sessions. Guest poster Thomas Burkholder wrote about using Google Forms. I have used all of these, and today I’m going to share yet another use: for compiling a…


Back to (GTD) Basics: The Two-Minute Rule

two yellow birds

When you’re deciding what needs to be done next on a project, or in response to an email, or about that flashing light on your car’s dashboard, how do you decide if it’s something to do right away or something to put on your list for later? Do you have a bunch of emails sitting your inbox that you keep meaning to respond to but you haven’t managed to get around to them yet? The two-minute rule might help.

In Getting Things Done, David Allen’s now-classic productivity guide, he offered the “two-…


Lighten Your Inbox in 10 Minutes with Unroll.Me

A black and white photograph of a mailbox with its flag up

With the close of the semester, you’re probably doing what you can to get your email inbox under control now that some of your colleagues have left the campus and your students have finished their finals. Email is, of course, the gift that keeps on giving. So it’s perhaps appropriate as we approach the end of the year that I make a gift to you of a fabulous new (and free!) service I discovered that will radically reduce the number of emails you receive on a daily basis: Unroll.Me.

The basic pre…


Using iAnnotate as a Grading Tool

8167818394_244f97b2a8_bOver the years, ProfHacker has featured several posts about grading. Back in 2010, Nels asked, “Are you locked in grading jail?” and followed up his question with another post that explained “Breaking Out of Grading Jail.” Billie Hara added “On the Comforts of Grading Jail” while Jason wrote about “Grading Triage.” There’s even a helpful Archive post by Natalie on grading. But grading is one part of professorial life that will never go away, and it’s the time of year when we’re all probably up t…


Open Thread Wednesday: iGoogle Alternatives?

5974458693_c8f5cee4fe_m Those of us who have grown accustomed to iGoogle as our homepage (or just visit it on a regular basis) are now increasingly reminded that as of November 1, 2013 the site will be discontinued. That’s this Friday!

Several tech sources have offered alternatives for users: CNET, WebTrends (part of the About.com collective), and Tom’s Guide are just a few.

Are you among the iGoogle users looking for a new homepage? Have you found a suitable alternative? Do you have suggestions for the rest of us? Pl…


How Do Your Tools Help You Move Forward?

unicorn The itch to try out a new shiny app or workflow method is perhaps something of an occupational hazard for ProfHackers and others drawn to productivity improvements and lifehacking. After all, we try things out so that we can tell you whether they are worth your time. And some experimentation is a good thing.

But if something is working for you, then don’t feel like you have to change it. I’ve seen too many people think they ought to make their workflow completely digital, or go all-Google or no…


Labguru for Life Science Lab Management (and more)

DNA lab
French scientist Louis Pasteur said “chance favors the prepared mind.” In the game of scientific research, organization can be key to creating favorable conditions for the great moments every scientist hopes for. And yet, how many of us in the sciences actually thought of the labs they trained in as a model of organization? How many of us, especially faculty members at small schools who are principal investigator (PI) and lab manager all in one, could improve lab management? And how do we mode…


Travel Mishaps: Name (Mis)Spelling Edition

Last week, I was fortunate enough to attend the Digital Humanities Summer Institute (DHSI) at the University of Victoria. I had been looking forward to the trip for months. I was enrolled in a class on TEI and Primary Sources, I knew a few colleagues and friends would also be making the trip (including fellow ProfHacker Ryan Cordell!), and British Columbia in June would provide a bit of respite from the muggy South Carolina summer.

ProfHacker has featured travel posts before:

  • Mark Sample asked…


New Organization Options in GMail: First Impressions

Tabbed foldersGMail has received more than a few mentions in this space since ProfHacker first launched in 2009. Google has made a number of changes to the service since then, including the introduction of a new inbox that began rolling out to users at the end of May.

The primary feature of the new inbox is the automatic filtering of messages into tabs: primary, social (for notifications from your social networks), promotions (ads), and updates (for mailing lists). The updated apps for iOS and Android functio…


Plan Your Projects With TeamGantt

Gantt charts are a widely used project management tool that visualize the start and end dates of projects, sub-projects, and tasks using horizontal bars. Gantt charts are often used to plan and track large-scale projects with many people and/or sub-projects and deliverables.

At their best, Gantt charts provide a clear overview of the dependencies and timelines of the component parts of a large project. They can also be used to track progress completed on those tasks and projects. At their worst…