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A Blog from GradHacker and MATRIX: The Center for Humane Arts, Letters and Social Sciences Online

December 11, 2012 - 9:10pm
One of the most frequent comments I receive on student evaluations is that my enthusiasm for the subjects I teach is infectious. Students tell me that I help to enliven topics they would be otherwise uninterested in, and that my obvious joy for what I teach motivates them to enjoy the topics as well. This enthusiasm often translates into electrified classroom meetings that are full of lively discussion and collaboration between students. Regardless of the topic, there are very seldom days when I am met with silence from my students.
December 6, 2012 - 7:39pm
Readers of ProfHacker and Lifehacker will likely be aware of text expansion software. Brian Croxall, Ethan Watrall, Ryan Cordell, and Jason Jones have shared their tips for using software like TextExpander for Mac and PhraseExpress in Windows that have aided their workflow.
December 4, 2012 - 8:26pm
When asked about how you're doing on your academic work, does your heart race, adrenaline spike, or do you just go numb? If you answered, “yes” to any of these questions, you are in “triage” mode, just trying to stem the bleeding of your time and energy enough to complete your tasks and (hopefully) get a few hours of sleep. However, you probably want more out of your life and work than this.
December 2, 2012 - 8:55pm
On average I get about an email a week from an undergrad who is thinking about going into my field or looking to attend Michigan State University and wants some advice on the process. The conversations quickly turn from archaeology specific to grad school in general.
November 29, 2012 - 9:05pm
n my program, we have two major milestones prior to the dissertation process. These tasks require that we conduct original research that we must orally defend in front of a faculty committee. I just successfully came through those milestones (woot! bring on the diss!) and thought I would share the collective wisdom that was graciously shared with me as I prepared for my defenses.
November 27, 2012 - 9:09pm
I'm inclined to leave the technical aspects of online pedagogy and teaching tools to those who, like Zellner and Katherine O'Flaherty (whose piece on Blackboard you can read here), have greater experience and expertise than I.  What I want to talk about here is whether or not online teaching makes sense for you as you strategize your trajectory through graduate school and into whatever professional future compels you.  So this is not about how to do it better, this is about whether, as a graduate student, to do it at all.  As with most questions you encounter in this business, there is no definitive answer—merely a disjointed collection of more questions and things to think about.
November 25, 2012 - 8:50pm
The last several semesters, I have been incorporating Twitter into my teaching style and lessons, and it has quickly become an inextricable part of my teaching tool box. Twitter allows me to stay in touch with my students quickly and easily, it fosters discussion in the classroom, and it helps to create a community among my students. I am able to engage students 140 characters at a time, and it makes sharing cat pictures way easier.
November 22, 2012 - 6:16pm
We hope that everyone had a wonderful thanksgiving, whether that meant flying home to see family, staying in with your friends, or just having the day off from work. This year, this is what we were thankful for in grad school.
November 19, 2012 - 9:04pm
Markdown, a text formatting syntax designed for easy readability but also transformability, gets a lot of love from geeks. Lincoln Mullen has written a great introduction to Markdown for Profhacker if you are unfamiliar with the syntax. My big question when I made the shift away from traditional word processors and began using plaintext and markdown was if it would be flexible enough to support the conventions of scholarly work.
November 18, 2012 - 8:40pm
About a year ago a colleague recommended some free courses being offered at the university, one of which was Foundations of Project Management. I’d considered it, but felt I didn’t have time. A few months later, a commenter on my post about managing deadlines in grad school noted that my description for managing project deadlines was similar to the basic principles of project management. It had me thinking that I should look more into this, but never did. Then I started to organize my thesis projects and all I could think was, “You know what I wish I knew more about…project management.”


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