Using Discourse.org for a class discussion board

10 May 2019

For the past two semesters I have been using Discourse for my class discussion board. I started using it mainly due to the restricted nature of Canvas’s built-in discussion boards, which are terribly designed for actual discussion. Using Discourse, I’m able to have real conversations with my class, and my students are encouraged to interact with each other.

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How Much is that Service in the Window?

13 December 2015

About 2 years into grad school I began to realize the importance of paying for the things that you love. So many of the apps and services that I used offered a free tier that I used and abused as much as possible because I was a student with very little extra money to spend. A probably embarrassing amount of time was spent looking for free alternatives to the things I really wanted to use. I preferred Zotero over EndNote, I used R instead of SPSS, and I endlessly waffled between Dropbox, Google Drive, and OneDrive depending on who was offering the most free GBs. But I also found that many of the things I loved disappeared because they didn’t find a way to support themselves. Several online services that I enjoyed, like Turntable.fm, disappeared because they could not create the revenue they needed to continue operation. And as a perpetual mooch, I was a part of the problem. So I resolved that, when I could, I would support the applications that I loved to use, because I want them to stick around.

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Back in Action

04 September 2015

Man, it’s been a while. With the craziness of first trying to finish a dissertation in time, then trying to defend that dissertation, then packing and moving half-way across the country, then staring a new job, teaching a class (I’ve taught it before, but I’m trying to make it more awesome), and all that those entail, I haven’t even had time to think about the blog. Add to that the complication that I ended up removing my Linux server VM from my computer when I screwed something up horribly and had to reinstall. That broke my Octopress deployment process, so for a while there I didn’t even know how to update my blog, even if I’d had time to do it.

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LaTeX vs Word (again)

05 January 2015

A recently published article in PLoS ONE, entitled “An Efficiency Comparison of Document Preparation Systems Used in Academic Research and Development” (link here) lit the world on fire. Okay, not really. In fact, most people, including researchers and even LaTeX enthusiasts have probably not read it. And that’s fine. Because it’s not very good. And I’m not the only one who thinks so.

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LaTeX for Researchers, Part 3: Figures

31 May 2014

If you’re just joining us, it’s probably best to start out with my first two posts:

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