Wikis are great tools to share and collaborate, but many of the wiki services are far from user-friendly, and sometimes you don’t want to share your wiki with everyone. If only there was a wiki tool that could create pages using the awesome Markdown language, and store the documents in Dropbox for safe keeping. Luckily, a new tool called WikiPack can do just that, and then some.
WikiPack uses Markdown and WikiWords to create a private wiki that is stored and accessed from your Dropbox account. The easy to use and powerful Markdown language lets you easily create and edit your pages without knowing any strange wiki syntax.
This is the second of a two-part series on the Academic Job Wiki. The first post introduced the wiki and discussed the extent of users’ anonymity on the site, and the present post will discuss advanced features and shortcuts that can help you spend less time finding information on the site.
While the job wiki contains a great deal of useful information about the current status of most or all the job searches in a field, it can be tedious to navigate. Really tedious: the basic navigation option is to scroll down a very long page, pause at the sections of…
This is the first of a two-part series on the Academic Jobs Wiki. This post will introduce the wiki and discuss the extent of users’ anonymity on the site, and the next post will discuss advanced features and shortcuts that can help you spend less time finding information on the site.
Many ProfHacker readers will be familiar with the Academic Jobs Wiki already, either through hearsay or from its steady companionship through the long winter months of the academic job search cycle. For those who haven’t heard about it, the job wiki is an information-sharing…
The great strength of the internet is also its weakness: There is So! Much! Information! out there–so much, in fact, that it can become hard to access. And not everyone who publishes the same kind of information, or information about the same topic, publishes it in the same way, or to common repositories.
It’s not hard to cobble together scripts that automate the collecting of some of that data. (For an introduction, see Julie Meloni’s epic, accessible introduction “Working with APIs: part one, part two, part three, and part four. Also, there’s my post on RSS scraping.) But if anything changes about the way the data is published, then those scripts no longer work well, if at all. What would be great, then, is if there were a publicly browsable collection of scripts that scrape APIs and websites, scripts that could easily be updated if something about the data changes.
There are a number of apps out there now which allow you to download a mostly complete copy of one or more languages of Wikipedia. I use an app called All of Wiki for my iPhone which costs about nine dollars. I’ve also tried another one simply called Encyclopedia. They are both troublesome to get up and running and I ultimately only settled on the former when I concluded that, in its current update, it sucked less. Downloads of full dumps of Wikipedia in a particular language sometimes fail and refuse to restart without reinstalling the app, the developers decided various important pieces of entries are missing (footnotes, bibliography, tabular data, etc.), and sometimes the search feature is annoyingly slow. Your mileage may vary.
Ever since I have had it, however, I become quite addicted. 3G gives many of us the internet pretty much anywhere we go, and for the rest of us that are on…
I was intrigued. I often tell my students that Wikipedia isn’t a source that they should ordinarily use directly in their work, but that it can be a good place to get a quick overview of a topic. They may also find it helpful to look at the references an article cites.
The Full Wiki seeks to make Wikipedia more useful for students. You can see it in action here:
Some of the references that pop up go beyond what’s listed in the works cited section of the Wikipedia article, and may well be useful to students, as seen in the example below [click on any of the images below for a larger version]:
At this point, however, The Full Wiki won’t work for all articles in Wikipedia:
That’s to be expected, though, as the service is currently in beta.
One of the realities of our economic hard times is that faculty are being asked to do more with less. The place where this hits many of us the hardest is our classrooms, where we’re teaching more students than ever.
In some cases we face chronic enrollment increases, in which class sizes might expand by one or two students progressively every year. In other cases we face acute enrollment hikes, in which a class that was once 27 students is suddenly capped at 40 students, a 50 percent increase in class size.
I faced the latter scenario in 2009, and I face it again in the Spring 2011 semester, teaching a class that is substantially—even dauntingly—larger than my usual classes. Both a year ago and today I find myself pondering the same questions: How should my pedagogy change to meet this new teaching context? Or should it?
As I’m a little more than a month out from the semester’s end, I’ve been reflecting on different aspects of the semester: things that worked well, things that didn’t work at all, and things that could be tweaked for the future. In particular, I’ve been musing on how I integrated social media into my classes.
My classes tend to be fairly technologically heavy for a number of reasons: my own research revolves around the use of technology within narratives; I believe that teaching humanities students to use different tools in the classroom teaches them transferable skills; and I like to experiment with how technology can change the classroom space. In other words, I use technology in the classroom for thematic, practical, and pedagogical reasons. I even have a technology policy in my syllabus.
That being said, I used more social media this semester than I have previously….
If you spend any amount of time using a wiki–or, for example, services such as Flickr or delicious, where you can tag and organize your material in a variety of different ways–then sooner or later entropy will tend to set in. It can be hard to find things–or, in a classroom setting, your students find themselves either hemmed in by what’s come before, or they can’t find what they need to move forward. (Or, in my instance, PBWorks search is basically useless, because there are so many individual pages in the wiki.)
My basic reaction to this problem is to sit and sob a little. Ok, well, maybe not sob–but certainly it’s more soothing to hit refresh on NetNewsWire than to clean up 80+ pages of Flickr photos, or 3 years of PBworks pages. The task just seems overwhelming.
Wiki folk have a metaphor that’s handy to think about: wiki gardening. You cut a little…
Budget restrictions are an ever-present threat to innovation on college campuses. Learn how top technology companies are working with institutions to advance online learning as programs continue to expand on campuses across the country. This special sponsored section features resources available to help develop a successful online education program at your institution.