Dealing with File Clutter: Why You Need Network-Attached Storage


Chances are you’ve got a bunch of files that are really important to you. They’re so important that at some point someone told you that you really need to have a backup of all those files should anything happen to them, and you probably woke up in the middle of the night in a cold […]

Research Trips: Five Tips for Surviving the Worst-Case Scenario


I was recently on a research trip in Hungary when, three days into my two and a half month stay, my laptop, camera, and passport were stolen. Although the theft made my research trip much more difficult, it was not devastating and I was able to complete the research I had set out to do. By taking a couple of simple measures beforehand and asking for support from the academic community when I needed it, I survived my worst-case scenario.

Some Helpful Posts for the New Academic Year

With the beginning of the semester upon us, I thought I’d bring together some posts that may be helpful for getting going this academic year. If you’re looking for something different to do with your class this semester, you might want to think about Google Hangout, one of the easiest ways to do videoconferencing in […]

Using Scrivener to Revise Your Dissertation (or Other Project) in Fifteen Minutes a Day

The commenting feature on Scrivener helps me work through my "zero draft."

This is the second post of two about using Scrivener to write your dissertation (or other writing project) while following Joan Bolker’s advice in her book Writing Your Dissertation in Fifteen Minutes a Day. Check out the first post, on getting started writing here.

In my last post, I talked about Bolker’s idea of developing an addiction to writing, and her advice on setting daily writing goals. When I did these things, they really worked, and since I was using word processing application Scrivener (which I talk about in more detail in this post), it was that much easier to get a good word momentum built up. Since starting, I’ve gotten two of four dissertation chapters drafted, and am well into the third. Speaking of that third chapter, I’ve reached what is always a very difficult stage for me: revising that bulk of words I’ve already written.

Five Selfish Reasons to Blog

Writing something down can help you clarify your ideas.

Often blogs are discussed in terms of their public expression … sharing information and experiences, creating a community, disseminating your ideas to a potentially large audience, etc. Obviously the flow from the blogger “outwards” is a very important aspect, but here I’d like to mention five reasons why you should consider blogging for what it can do for you rather than for your readers. The reasons below are applicable to any blogger, but perhaps even more so to academics, where blogs if properly used can become a wonderful compliment to more traditional methods of disseminating ideas.

Using Scrivener to Get Started Writing Your Dissertation (or Other Project) in Fifteen Minutes a Day

This no-nonsense message lets you know when you can stop writing and start watching YouTube videos again.

Getting a started writing a dissertation or other similarly large writing projects can be a huge challenge. I’ve found that the advice in Joan Bolker’s Writing Your Dissertation in Fifteen Minutes a Day to be some of the most helpful that I’ve come across while writing my own dissertation. Using her advice on getting started writing, along with word processing application Scrivener makes for a pretty good combination for success. In this post I talk about writing every single day to create what Bolker calls a “writing addiction” as well as daily writing goals and Scrivener’s “target goals” feature. So read on if you’re struggling to get words down on the page.

The Inline Grading Tool: Blackboard’s Electronic Red Pen

red pen

You might miss the feeling of the red pen in your hand, not to mention its ability to clearly mark portions of an assignment, when students submit assignments electronically through Blackboard. Thankfully, Blackboard’s inline grading process is a red pen for the electronic age.

Online Assignments and Student Privacy

Keeping an online course space private is one option, but it may undermine some of your teaching objectives.

The more that instructors incorporate online writing assignments into their courses, the more we need to think about the issues surrounding student-produced Web content. One of these issues is that of ensuring students’ privacy online while having them produce public-facing online work. So, what exactly is the concern for student-produced Web projects, and what can we do as instructors to protect our students’ privacy?

Secure Digital Media? Forgeddaboudit.

Are guys like this trying to get at your digital media when you don't want them to?

Once your media is on a screen you don’t control, you don’t control it anymore! So what do you do with your video and audio files you want to share but still want to keep secure, that is, prevent someone else from downloading?

Finding Images for Your Web Content


If you’ve ever created a website or written a blog post, you’ve probably thought about adding images to your site. But where do you find images that are safe to use without having to worry about copyright violations?