So, You Want Some Tips On: Searching and Researching

As students we have to search and research things on the internet, unfortunately. By the time most of us have hit college, we already know how to use a search engine, usually Google, to find information on what we want. But, most of us use search engines inefficiently like in the videos below… Since the goal is to dominate the internet, I have compiled a list of tips to help you be more effective and efficient when searching and researching.

Rule 1: Always ask, is the site that I am on reliable? Do not use Urban Dictionary as a source. If you don’t know who to contact (or blame) for shoddy information, don’t use it.sources

Rule 2: If you aren’t sure about something, check other sites. If there is a discrepancy, don’t use it. We only want sites that have backup.



Rule 3: If the page is covered in ads and/or has broken links within it, be weary…

Rule 4: If the page is linked to a bunch of unrelated nonsense, see above…

Rule 5: Google is your friend. It has many cool features to help you to find what you are looking for, so you should explore them! Use the Advanced Search and Scholar Google options.go

Rule 6: Don’t be afraid to use a library catalogue to help you find information! When you are researching, you should look for information from many different mediums.

Rule 7: Use Google’s special syntax quirks to your advantage… you can find some of them here.

Rule 8: Remember to always cite your sources using whatever format that your professor prefers… (EasyBib for the win!)

Rule 9: Don’t allow yourself to get distracted.

Rule 10: And, most importantly, remember that this is the internet! Customize your search to fit you… Maybe try a different search engine look. Or try a different search engine, I don’t know why….

Here are some engines/types to try: SleekSearch, TechnoGoogle (turn your sound on for this one), Bing, Yahoo, AOL,, BackwardsGoogle, Google Terminal, Underwater Google, Snake Game Google, and many more! (Try some of these or check out some of these.)

Now go forth and dominate your searches!

So, You Want Some Tips On: Web-Enhanced Listening and Viewing Strategies

As students we have to listen to and view things (or people a.k.a lecturers), unfortunately. The real challenge, though, is to do these tasks effectively in order to not only learn the material, but also to get that most desirable grade of not a failure. Sound familiar? It should, after all it is the same goal as before! To do this, you should take notes and augment your lectures with videos and podcasts. I have compiled some general rules for these aspects of college/school studies to help you out.

Rules for Taking Notes:

  1. Take notes2
  2. Use pen
  3. Use abbreviations
  4. Only write what is important or what you don’t understand
  5. If there are powerpoints available, print them
  6. Type them if you want
  7. Always date and title them
  8. Keep a record of any urls you visited that helped with the information
  9. Write the main ideas
  10. Write the keywords5
  11. Organize them
  12. Personalize them6
  13. Leave plenty of space for more notes
  14. Attend class
  15. Write down things that are repeated
  16. Paraphrase
  17. Write the notes on loose-leaf paper and keep them in a binder
  18. Stay on topic
  19. Write them in a way to help you learn, so if you need pictures, use pictures


Rules for Listening:

Announcement: Podcasts can be helpful tools to help you learn and augment your education. iTunes U is a great source of podcasts…

Anyway… after that public service announcement, back to the rules!

  1. Take notes
  2. Listen to inflection changes to find indications of importance
  3. Focus
  4. Take notes1

Rules for Watching/Viewing:

  1. Take notes
  2. Body language is telling, if they act like it is important, write it down
  3. If they write it down, it’s important
  4. Take notes

Remember: Sites like Khan Academy, Academic Earth, Utubersity, and Youtube are great sources of educational videos… Use them. 3

My Challenge: Educational Video…

I was challenged to find an educational video, of interest to me, to post here. Below, you will find that video. It is contains visual representations of 15 different sorting methods that can be, and are, used in computer programs. I felt like this was, and is, an especially helpful video because it takes a rather abstract and not very easily understood process and shows the inner workings of it in an interesting and rather mesmerizing way. Although it is rather unconventional, I do believe that it is very educational and inspirational even, especially when you are having issues writing a code to sort something.

In this video, you will find 15 different sorting methods. These methods are- Selection sort: 0:00, Insertion sort: 0:10, Quick sort {LR ptrs}: 0:39, Merge sort: 1:06,Heap sort: 1:29, Radix sort {LSD} : 1:55, Radix sort {MSD}: 2:11, std::sort (GCC) : 2:33, std::stable_sort (GCC): 3:05, Shell sort: 3:37, Bubble sort: 4:01, Cocktail shaker sort: 4:19, Gnome sort: 4:33, Bitonic sort: 4:53, and Bogo sort: 5:17. Every method is displayed by lines, or rectangles, of varying lengths in a randomized order. Throughout the approximately 20 seconds of time, per method, the lines, or rectangles, are sorted in various ways, all resulting in an arrangement from least to greatest starting from the left of the screen to the right of the screen. Every sort is played to completion except for the Bogo sort, the last one, as its method involves moving a piece, or line, to a random location and checking if the whole thing is sorted, so it can take a long time….


So, You Want Some Tips On: Web-Enhanced Reading and Study Strategies

As students we have to read and study, unfortunately. The real challenge, though, is to do these tasks effectively in order to not only learn the material, but also to get that most desirable grade of not a failure. To do this, I have compiled some general rules for some of the major aspects of college/school studies.

Rules for Reading:

  1. Take notes. Color code them to help with retention; try using crayons, it has been found that the combination of scent and color helps people to remember what they wrote.
  2. At least skim the book before lecture to familiarize yourself with the content.
  3. Read the book after lecture, this way it makes more sense when you are reading.

Rules for Writing:

  1. Only have one idea per paragraph.
  2. Get to the point, don’t ramble.
  3. Don’t start multiple sentences in your paragraph with the same word, unless you are going for a repetitive emphasis.
  4. Even if you use spellcheck, that doesn’t guarantee that the word you are looking for is correct. Eye should no.
  5. Watch your use of rite, right, write, Wright, its, it’s, there, they’re, their, affect, effect, etc. (also goes with the spell check rule).
  6. Look here for more tips.
  7. Watch this (below) for some help.

Rules for Studying:

  1. Make your studying more involved than just reading. Make pictures, videos, speeches, lectures, artwork, etc that relates to the topic. Prove to yourself and others that you know the topic and make it interesting.
  2. Take notes, have separate notebooks/binders/folders for each subject
  3. Ask questions.
  4. Research the topic online if you need more help, there is a list of websites that are helpful below.
  5. Rewrite your notes.
  6. Rewrite your rewritten notes.
  7. Repetition helps. Remember to repeatedly look over things.
  8. Get some sleep, it helps with retention.
  9. Spread your studying time out, study daily, not just before exams

Rules for Managing Time:

  1. Have goals.
  2. Have priorities.
  3. Have a plan.
  4. Have scheduled breaks.
  5. Will work for food…
  6. Always have a to-do list, laminate it for shower times.
  7. Sleep 7-8 hours daily/nightly.

Websites That You Should Use:

  1. Khan Academy – Here you can find video tutorials and practice exercises on various subjects. This is really useful if you need things explained in a different, step-by-step, way, if you missed class, want to learn something new, or you just need some more practice. The videos all contain visuals as the problem is worked out and explained, and the practice problems relate well to the lessons which makes it easier to get the practice you need and to jump in at any point of the sequence of lessons if you feel like you understand everything.
  2. Chegg – This website sells textbooks, but more importantly it has solutions for the questions found in those textbooks. It is a great utility to have when you  are stuck on a question because most, if not all of the solutions, are worked out with explanations. Which is great, even if the questions numbers are not the same as the problem you are working on it acts as a great example to use where you can plug-n-chug through the equations or get an explanation as to where the values are coming from and apply that knowledge to your problem.
  3. Wolfram Alfa – If you are in a math heavy class, definitely add this to your favorites. This website is like a virtual calculator. It does all the basics, such as add, subtract, multiply, and divide; but, it also integrates, mods, sums, takes limits, and graphs pretty much anything you through at it. Also, if you have a subscription, use your student email it costs less that way, it will also show the work for how it came to the answer.
  4. EasyBib – Works Cited pages, also known as Bibliographies, are a pain to make. MLA, APA, AMA, ASA doesn’t matter which, all of them can be irritating to remember the rules for. With this site, you can copy in the url of a website or pdf, or even search for the title and authors of your book and it will generate the citation for you. If it can’t find all of the information it will as you for that information if you can find it. Then you can print it out, hanging indents and all, in perfect whatever your professor wants format.
  5. – I know, this one seems random… but when it comes to creative writing, or just writing in general, adjectives and varying word choices can definitely make your life easier, as well as expand your vocabulary. This site will, much like a dictionary, give the definition of whatever word you input but unlike a dictionary its main focus are the synonyms and antonyms of that word. If you are a few words short on your word count, instead of adjusting your settings just add some adjectives to your nouns and help bump up that word count!
  6. Sparknotes – Who didn’t use this in high school? Here you can find study guides for various subjects, but more importantly you can find detailed summaries for literature that schools often, for some reason, insist that you read. These summaries are often divided up by every couple of chapters (or acts for Shakespearean plays). Usually people need this link here.
  7. StudyStack – Allows you to make online flashcards and creates playable online games with the information input.
  8. StudyBlue – Also allows you to make online flashcards, but also allows you to search for flashcards made by others on the topic you are looking for.
  9. The Purdue OWL – Most professors’ go-to when it comes to how they want you to cite, well, anything. A great resource to have bookmarked and used in conjunction with EasyBib. Click here for the MLA formatting guide.

So, You Want Some Tips On: Netiquette, Communicating Online, and Using the Internet to Your Advantage

As students in modern, 21st century, society we know all about the internet and social media. By the time most of us have hit college, we already have an internet presence. There are stories, on the internet, of people who have had possible employers look them up online or friend them on Facebook. We have all seen videos such as the ones below, where some unsuspecting person has their minds blown by what some stranger knows about them; so, I won’t go into the whole spiel on being careful of what you post. But, I will touch on some general netiquette rules of thumb for many different occasions.

Rule 1: Social Media-Here is the one time I’ll say it, think before you post/send/tweet/text/forward/etc. If you don’t want someone to see it or you could get in trouble, don’t put it out there.

Rule 2: Discussion Boards-Definitely use discussion boards to your advantage for classes, projects, homework, really anything that has one. Although, when you are posting on one 1)Don’t lie and 2)Don’t rage. Discussion boards are all about sharing knowledge and ideas, not drama.

Rule 3: Email-Don’t be afraid to email your professors, no matter if you need clarification on a homework question, you missed a class, or you just need to schedule a meeting. When you email them write a letter along this format…

Email Tips

Rule 4: Blogs-These are great places to learn! Take advantage of them and read them or create one to help you organise your thoughts and reinforce what you know.

Rule 5: Group Projects-Not specifically online but the internet can definitely help with these. Create shared wikis, Google Docs, Dropboxes, schedules, polls, websites, and Blogs with your teammates to keep connected and on task. It makes projects much easier.

With these tips you are definitely a few steps closer in successfully using the internet to your advantage… INTERNET DOMINATION!!!!