My latest at ProfHacker: Keeping Track of Bills with FileThis

Bills! Sigh. There’s no getting around it: finances are one of the many things we have to keep track of. Fortunately, there are tools that help keep us organized and on top of things. Heather’s covered personal finance software, Erin’s suggested ways to check in on your insurance, and Adeline’s looked at a helpful tool for reorganizing your finances. I recently learned about another tool that may be helpful to some: FileThis. Using the service is simple: you connect your online accounts (including, in addition to banks and credit unions, accounts such as Amazon, Paypal, your mobile phone carrier, etc.). […]

My latest at ProfHacker: Using Google Forms for In-class Polling

Recently, I found myself involved in a conversation about clickers. The topic under discussion wasn’t their usefulness in the classroom, but the fact that there are a number of different types available, and as the manufacturers update their products, equipment that’s already in use may end up obsolete. As I listened to the concerns being raised, I thought that, if I needed to do in-class polling (which I’ve not as yet had occasion to do), I’d probably just use Google Forms. The thought wouldn’t have occurred to me a year ago, but some months back Googe started keeping Forms responses […]

My latest at ProfHacker: Data Visualization with Knoema

Anyone who’s had to deal with large amounts of data will be well aware that sometimes a visual can be extremely helpful in understanding that data. This map of states party to the Convention on the Rights of the Child that I tweeted out last November is a case in point: Even if I were particularly skilled at creating visualizations, I might not always have the time available to do so, or to locate the data I need. Having access to a service that already has the necessary data and that can use that data to create useful visualizations with […]

My latest at ProfHacker: On the Importance of Process

It’s been an interesting few months in academia, and not in a good way. Two institutions of higher education — Wheaton College in Wheaton, Illinois and Mount St. Mary’s University in Emmitsburg, Maryland — have found themselves in turmoil. Both stories are well known at this point.1 At Wheaton, Political Science Professor Dr. Larycia Hawkins made a statement about the relationship between Christianity and Islam; concern about the compatibility of her statement with the College’s Statement of Faith resulted in her being placed on administrative leave, “in order to give more time to explore significant questions regarding the theological implications […]

My latest at ProfHacker: Accessing Your WordPress Database with Adminer

In last week’s post, I wrote about a useful plugin for backing up your WordPress site. Backups are vitally important, especially for those of us who use our sites for professional purposes (for some of us, that includes our courses). This week, I’d like to make a brief note about another helpful WordPress plugin. Sometimes, particularly if you’re running a WordPress network, you might need to access data about your users (e.g. email address, username, registration date, etc.) That information resides in the wp_users table of your installation’s MySQL database, and it’s a relatively simple matter to export the data […]