Power Searching with Google

Google Inside Search has free classes on Power Searching with Google. There are six classes that include short videos and activities to do on your own.

  • Class 1 – Introduction
  • Class 2 – Interpreting results
  • Class 3 – Advanced techniques
  • Class 4 – Finding facts faster
  • Class 5 – Checking your facts
  • Class 6 – Putting it all together
There’s also a Power Searching Quick Guide to help get you started!

Surviving Finals

The Thanksgiving holiday is over and that means finals will soon be here! It’s time to finish up those final projects, reports and missing assignments. Add studying for finals on top of that and it can seem a bit overwhelming! But with a few simple tips it can be manageable. Below are a few of these simple tips from Texas Tech University’s Support Operations for Academic Retention. Don’t forget to check out our tutorials on How to Study and Test Taking Tips!


Unplug This Weekend

Social media conceptSophia Breene wrote a great article on Why Everyone Should Unplug This Weekend (And The One After That). She points out the importance of taking technology breaks and how staying plugged in 24/7 can be problematic. It’s “bad for our brains, bad for our relationships, and bad for our productivity.” A few of her points are:

  • Social media encourages brief, unfocused, multitasking-friendly “check ins” rather than long periods of absorption
  • Multitasking is a form of procrastination that distracts us from what’s important and inhibits the formation of short-term memories
  • Studies show spending tons of time online can actively harm relationships, interpersonal communication skills, and mental health
  • Constantly checking email, in particular, prevents people from distancing themselves from the work environment — which can make it impossible to keep stress in check

Breene, Sophia. “Why Everyone Should Unplug This Weekend (And The One After That).” Greatist, 9 August 2013. Web. 26 November 2013.

Take a few minutes and read the article. We have a long holiday weekend coming up; and yes, you probably want to connect with friends and family. Why not do it with a phone call instead of a tweet, Facebook status or text message? If you are lucky enough to be spending your holiday with friends and family – then spend it with them and not on your devices. Stop browsing and start participating!

Image: ©iStockphoto.com/scanrail

Multitasking Makes You Feel Successful But May Hurt Your Productivity

multitaskingMany of us multitask because we are overwhelmed with daily responsibilities at work, home or school. We try to get ahead by working on multiple things at one time. We may write an email, chat online, and carry on a phone conversation all at the same time. But how well are we doing it? Research is showing that multitasking is bad for us and our brains can’t do it! Below are two interesting articles on what researchers are discovering.

Findings from research at Ohio State University “showed that multitasking often gave students an emotional boost, even when it hurt their cognitive functions, such as studying.” They found that people felt more satisfied, not necessarily more productive, when multitasking.

Clifford Nass, a professor at Standford researched Cognitive and Social Effects of Multitasking and stated in an 2010 interview “…in fact, we’re starting to see some higher-level effects [of multitasking]. For example, recent work we’ve done suggests we’re worse at analytic reasoning, which of course is extremely valuable for school, for life, etc. So we’re very troubled about, on the one hand, the growth, and on the other hand, the essential incompetence or failure…” In one experiment Nass was shocked with the results. “It turns out multitaskers are terrible at every aspect of multitasking. They’re terrible at ignoring irrelevant information; they’re terrible at keeping information in their head nicely and neatly organized; and they’re terrible at switching from one task to another.”

So what’s a multitasker to do? One idea is to try organizing your day and activities using a To-Do list. We discussed getting organized, setting priorities and using To-Do lists in our Time Management for Students tutorial. Also, try to limit your distractions. Turn off your phone and TV when you need to study or do homework. Close out of your email program completely during part of your day and respond to emails at set times. I need to try this last one… I’ve been back and forth writing this post all morning because I was responding to emails (and working on another project). This post could have been done in 15 minutes had I just turned everything else off!

Image: ©clipart.com

Get Organized!

School, work, email, social media, chores, family… how do we get it all done? Staying organized helps! Here’s a great infographic from Greatist on How to be the Most Organized Person in the World with quick, useful tips! Also, be sure to check out our short tutorial on Time Management.


(Click on the image to view full infographic.)

Primary Sources

Need to do research for an essay? Primary sources can be a great way to learn more about a historical event.

Primary sources are original records created at the time historical events occurred or well after events in the form of memoirs and oral histories. Primary sources may include letters, manuscripts, diaries, journals, newspapers, speeches, interviews, memoirs, documents produced by government agencies such as Congress or the Office of the President, photographs, audio recordings, moving pictures or video recordings, research data, and objects or artifacts such as works of art or ancient roads, buildings, tools, and weapons (www.ala.org).

The Google News archive is a good place to find primary sources. Check out this short 3 minute video to see how easy it is. REMEMBER! You should aways use caution when using the internet for research. Review this advice from the Reference and User Services Association on evaluating primary source web sites.


The Successful Online Student

Reblogged from b online learning. Written by Reese Jones, July 30, 2013.laptop with books and apple

What Does It Take To Be An Online Student?

  1. Have excellent skills in technology
  2. Be motivated to learn
  3. Communicate effectively and intellectually
  4. Time management is everything
  5. Develop critical thinking skills

Read Reese’s short article on each of these qualities.

Image: ©iStockphoto.com/Michal_edo