Recent posts by Shane

Prise these programs away from my cold, dead hands

September 4th, 2009 by shane

Today I am going to share a few of the programs (on windows) that make life a little bit more easier and I can’t live without. We  might make this a series if the other bloggers want in the action.


Stop powerpointing and start outlining

February 4th, 2009 by shane

Powerpoint is ubiquitous in academic presentations, yet it is often roundly criticised. One of the major problems with powerpoint is that it focuses on form over content. Powerpoint is a what-you-see-is-what-you-get editor. This makes it easy to spend more time on the form than content, as if you start writing a presentation in powerpoint from scratch, the bells and whistles can easily be distracting, and rather than writing your presentation you can end up spending hours tweaking fonts. (more…)

Tools for online academic collaboration?

September 11th, 2008 by shane

A reader writes:

“Dear Academic Productivity,

After having finished a phd project, I am starting a new research project together with a colleague. As a collaborative project requires, well, collaboration and coordination, I wonder if you or perhaps your readers happen to have any good advice, both on best practices and concrete suggestions for web-based collaboration tools. (more…)

The non application of cognitive psychology to learning

August 15th, 2008 by shane

I was recently involved in a project where I needed to examine some research literature on learning and memory. In particular, I was investigating the spaced learning effect on memory. Memory research has been central to psychology for as long as  psychology has existed as an academic discipline, and the spacing effect (also known as distributed practice) has been studied for well over an hundred years. Studies of the spacing effect have shown that when you space learning over separate learning intervals, long term retention is normally much higher compared with the equivalent amount of training from a single or “massed” session. This effect is robust across different time scales, different kinds of learning, and is even true across different species. Another effect, not quite as well studied, is the testing effect. Repeated testing over time is also beneficial for learning, mainly because testing involves effortful memory retrieval, which is advantageous for the formation of long term memories. (more…)

Writing a paper is difficult with the non-stop party next door…

February 19th, 2008 by shane

From why that’s delightful, via omnibrain.