Personal Websites and Academic Social Networks: Why? How?

People think that I’m a pretty tech savvy person. So I get a lot of questions about how to make personal websites and how to use academic social networks. In this blog post I will finally answer these questions in one place. First, I’ll go over the evidence about the unique value that academic social networks and personal websites can provide. And then I’ll show you how to make a website in under 10 minutes.

So when you finish this blog post, you should not only be able to make a decision about making an academic social profile and about making a website. You should also be able to make a website in a jiffy!

1.  Why?

There are lots of reasons why researchers will want to use (i) academic social networks (ASNs) and (ii) personal websites. It all comes down to making our research visible, accessible, and followable. But there are lots of things to say about how this works and what your options are. Here are some slides to help you understand the process and make a decision.


If you want to view, download, or share just the slideshow, then follow the bolded links directly below the slideshow.

2.  How?

Here’s a video about how to make a personal website …in just 9 minutes. No coding necessary! Just drag, drop, and type! Super easy! And free!

All you need is a computer, a Google account (e.g., Gmail), and either Google Chrome or Firefox.

Have questions? I am happy to help by answering questions below. But if you want an immediate answer, check out Google’s help page.


If you’ve got questions, write them below. I’ll get back to you ASAP. Happy website making and academic social networking! And, of course, feel free to share this with people who might be interested.


Classroom Poster Sessions: A win for you and your students

Last week, the Free Will & Science course finished up their poster sessions. It was one of the most enriching classroom experiences I’ve ever witnessed.† In case you’re interested, here’s a post about the why and how of classroom poster sessions — including templates for your own classroom. Continue reading Classroom Poster Sessions: A win for you and your students

Grading Shorthand: Quick, Consistent, and Constructive Feedback

Grading with shorthand allows me to grade papers quickly. This is great for me, of course, but —more importantly — it’s great for students. Using grading shorthand means that students get prompt, consistent, and constructive feedback.

I’ve included the key to my grading shorthand below. I’ve also included the printer-friendly, PDF version of the key that I give to students.  Continue reading Grading Shorthand: Quick, Consistent, and Constructive Feedback

30+ Online Resources For Studying & Teaching Philosophy

Below is a list of online resources for studying and teaching philosophy. Feel free to share it and/or add your own suggestions. Continue reading 30+ Online Resources For Studying & Teaching Philosophy

On Grading (Or “How To Get An A”)

I’m a tough grader. But am I unreasonably tough? No. At least that’s the view I’ll arrive at in this post. 🙂 I’ll compare my grading to (a small and biased sample of) others’ grading, mention a few of my own grading experiences, summarize my grading philosophy, and present the basics of how my students can get an A.

1. Groundwork

First, my grade distributions often form bell curves centered in the low B range — sometimes the C range. So unless students’ work is exceptional, students tend to get a B or C. (NB: This is not a justification; it is a description.)

Second, I take myself to have been a pretty serious student. (Flashback: in high school, I used my free periods to write papers …not assigned papers. Just papers that I wanted to write.) With a few exceptions in my entire life, I have paid attention in class, done all the homework, and tried to actually learn the material. Nonetheless, I have definitely earned a few Bs and even Cs.

Yeah. Earned. 

I emphasize this because Continue reading On Grading (Or “How To Get An A”)