Teaching in Higher Ed is a blog on PKM, educational technology, and curation as applied to higher education. The author is Bonni Stachowiak, who teaches courses in business, marketing, leadership, and human resources at Vanguard University. Check out, for example, her post Personal Knowledge Management Online Modules and Articles – she teaches PKM as part of classes for doctoral students.
Catherine Pope, in her Digital Researcher blog, has some clear and concise posts on using various tools for academic research. She has started a series on using Zotero, and one of the posts is How to Insert Citations Using Zotero, on how to insert citations into Word. Finding articles on how to use particular reference managers is easier than finding articles on adding to your word processor, and I expect the directions are similar for Libre Office and for other reference managers. I am not fond of Zotero myself, as I and others in my library have found the plug in slows down our computers by a major factor. Have installed and uninstalled it twice for this reason; however, I know that it is popular with many users.
Thorin Klosowski of LifeHacker explains the Important/Urgent decision matrix more clearly than I have seen it explained before. The difference is that urgent tasks require immediate action, while important tasks are ones that serve long term goals.
Ebooks for Free on Apps and Tools
MakeUseOf, a site I’d like to explore more in my copious spare time, offers free ebooks on computer-related topics, mostly of the how-to-use variety. It includes guides to most computer operating systems, tablets and smartphones, but also tools we’ve mentioned such as Scrivener, Evernote, IFTTT, Markdown, PHP, tumblr, Feedly, and many more. I don’t know their quality or currency, but it was recommended on the Scout Report’s best of the year list. They also have a Top List section, which has the best software for various platforms. Included is a section for the best Android productivity apps, and the best iPhone productivity apps.
Whiteboards, Webmeetings, Evernote, and Skitch is one of Jamie Todd Rubin‘s Going Paperless columns. It shows how he captures screens and whiteboards in meetings and marks them up with Evernote’s Skitch to keep them and be able to search them.
Springpad is a notebook software that is shutting down at the end of June. Springpad users have created a Google Drive spreadsheet with alternatives, including descriptions and features.
Jamie Todd Rubin‘s post 10 Ways I Used Evernote to Plan and Track Our Kitchen Remodel (part of his Going Paperless series), has, on the surface, nothing to do with academic work. However, it is an excellent example of the power of notebook software to organize projects, making it well worth a quick perusal .
IFTTT has introduced an email digest channel. “The Email Digest Channel is a native IFTTT Channel that collects content and sends you an email digest on a daily or weekly schedule.” There are plenty of example recipes to get you started.
AskBobRankin pointed to two useful sites: WordTips (Ribbon Interface) and Excel Tips (Ribbon Interface). Both offer loads of tips for using those programs, are searchable, have tips by category, and offer a weekly newsletter to which one can subscribe. There is also a similar site for Microsoft Windows tips.
Lifehacker‘s post Set a Procrastination Free Block to Get Important Tasks Done discusses the concept of adding a time to your calendar that is procrastination free. Start off small and build up to create a habit.
Chris Bailey took a year after graduating college to intensively study productivity, and his article discusses 10 Lessons I Learned from A Year of Productivity Experiments. I like particularly his discussion that productivity results from how well you manage your time, attention, and energy.
A Chrome extension called Dayboard takes an interesting approach to keeping you focused on tasks: every day you choose five or so goals that are most important to accomplish that day, and in every new tab you open those items are at the top. Should cut down on distractions!
A blog called Barking up the Wrong Tree, by Eric Barker, lists 6 Things the Most Productive People Do Every Day, taken from an interview with Tim Ferriss, author of the 4-hour Workweek. While I don’t find much new in the list of 6, it is a nice summary of some very useful productivity tips. In looking at Barker’s blog, I found another useful post – How to Motivate Yourself: 3 Steps Backed by Science. He’s right – the hardest part of a task is getting started!
Research Management Tools
Readcube has always been an interesting product, as it adds value to reading a research paper. For instance, it makes references live links when it can. Also offers annotation and other features for scholars. Now they are adding more functionality, according to Readcube Adds More Features to Its Popular Research Management Platform. It includes SmartCite, for easy citation of papers in a Readcube library, integration with institutional proxies, searching literature within the program, and more.
Waqas Ahmad on Addictive Tips has an article Blogtrottr Turns RSS Feeds into Email News Letters & Lets You Filter Stories – the title pretty much says it all. Blogtrottr lets you get email digests of your RSS feeds.
Data is increasingly being used and produced in all academic disciplines, including the sciences, social sciences, AND humanities. So many academics are learning to use R, an open source and powerful statistical analysis software. Andrea Zellner in a recent Gradhacker post Learning R has useful tips and tools for getting started.
An announcement by IFTTT that they now have a channel for Slack introduced me to that product which looks like it could serve as an intranet. It has a freemium model, and looks like the free version could be very useful for educators. “Slack brings all your communication together in one place. It’s real-time messaging, archiving and search for modern teams.” It is organized around a good search engine, so you can find any communication, document, etc. It also integrates with a lot of external services, though the free version limits you to five external integrations. Among the services are Dropbox, GitHub, Google Drive, Google+ Hangouts, IFTTT, MailChimp, RSS feeds, Trello, Twitter, and Zapier. The big one I see missing is Evernote. Please add a comment if you have used it.
Francis Wade of 2Time Labs has a library of academic papers relating to time management. The library is arranged with images of the first pages in the format of a slide show. He and his group do a good job of providing information on time management. I read his book Bill’s Im-perfect Tiime Management Adventure (and wish that all organizations were run by the principles it discusses) and am looking forward to his next book.
Top 100 Tools for Learning
Catherine Pope of The Digital Researcher blog is quickly becoming one of my favorite writers on academic workflow. Her article Using Twitter for Research has some wonderful tips for finding Twitter streams for specific academic disciplines as well as other useful tips.
Kelly Hanson‘s GradHacker post Scheduling Summer Writing integrates a number of academic productivity techniques and tools including setting realistic goals, using calendars and to-do lists for writing goals, and using techniques such as Pomodoro to get writing done.