Academic Technology - Florida State College at Jacksonville

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Become a Grammar Superstar!

Student Content, EdTechElizabeth Rodrigue

When it comes to writing, whether it is for work, school, or personal use, grammar and spelling can be a constant issue. Whether you compose with confidence or struggle with the written word, the proofreading app Grammarly can help ensure that your communications are fluid and polished. Grammarly is a free tool that checks for 250 types of spelling, grammar, and punctuation errors, and can also suggest citations for research papers. It is user-friendly regardless of your comfort with technology or writing.

To become a Grammarly user,  you must first make an account on their website, which is linked to the graphic above. Once you have signed up for your free account, you have the choice to either copy and paste English text into their online text editor, or to add the Grammarly extension to the Chrome or Safari web browser. The browser extension will correct any text entered into blogs, social media sites, or online word processors. It will also correct any punctuation or spelling errors in discussions on Blackboard or e-mails as well. The screen shot below displays the portal for creating a new account, while the red arrow in the right-hand corner points to the Grammarly extension within the browser itself. 

If you use Firefox, Internet Explorer, or the Edge browser, you have the option of using the online text editor, which is shown below. Text can be copied and pasted into this screen or typed directly into it. On the left, controls allow you to determine what sorts of grammar and punctuation issues you would like to correct.  

The online text editor is different from the plug-in on Chrome or Safari because the plug-in can correct your spelling and punctuation with just the click of a button. It works on websites like Gmail, Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Tumblr. The Grammarly website, on the other hand, provides extra opportunities to connect and learn. These include Grammarly Answers, an online community for writers to come together to ask and answer questions; the Grammarly Handbook, an online guide to help explain English writing, style, and grammar; and the Grammarly Facebook, Twitter, and blog communities.

During the sign up process, you can choose between the free and Premium versions of the service. Grammarly Premium is a supercharged form of the free app that includes an additional plug-in for Microsoft Office, as well as a plagiarism checker. You can choose from three different subscription plans: monthly, quarterly, or annually, and the price adjusts accordingly. The image below details the major differences between the free and premium versions of the service. 

Grammarly can help the simplest writer become polished and fluent. The plug-in will allow you to be sure that your discussion posts, social media posts, and blogs are written as professionally as possible, so that you can make a great impression. Give it a try today! 

FSCJ Safe App

Videos, DMP, Student Content, EdTechBrandi Bleak

Here's a list of the features on FSCJ's new easy-to-use safety app that everyone should have loaded on their mobile device.

1. FSCJ Twitter feed
An easy way to get to the FSCJ Official Twitter feed, which offers up-to-date information such as closures, emergencies, and event information.

2. Emergency Contacts
Instantly call security, 911, or JSO for off campus emergencies while on any campus.

3. Mobile Bluelight
This feature calls campus security for you as well as sends them your location through the GPS on your phone.

4. Friend Walk
This feature allows you to connect with one of your contacts and to them your location in real time. They can watch as you travel to your destination and call for help if needed.  There is an emergency button that allows you to notify your friend if you are in danger and connects you with the emergency number.

5. Virtual Walkhome
This is similar to friend walk however, instead of one of your contacts being notified, you can be monitored directly by security while you are on campus.  To use, simply select your location and wait for confirmation that you are being monitored. This option also includes an easily accessible emergency button.

6. Report a Tip
If you encounter a situation that you think should be brought to the attention of campus security this feature provides several ways to do that.  You can email a report, email a photo or video, or phone in a tip.

7.  Personal Safety Toolbox
This feature provides useful tools when in an emergency situation.  They include a flashlight, a loud alarm, and another way to send your location to security to indicate you need help.  This is also where you can find the emergency hotline for college employees.

8. Campus Maps
This is a useful feature even when you aren’t in an emergency situation. The detailed maps are available for each campus and are interactive.

9.  Emergency Plans
It’s a good idea to familiarize yourself with these plans before an emergency situation happens.  It contains detailed instructions on the correct procedure and safest behavior in several different situations, including evacuations and severe weather conditions.  It also connects you with the College emergency hotline.

10.  Helpful Resources
This feature provides basic College information such as academic schedules and catalog in an easy to navigate format.

 

How to Google Like a Pro

The Chat, Student Content, EdTechBrandi Bleak

Today on The Chat, I discussed a few features of the popular search engine many people aren't aware of.  Did you know that you could build with Legos right from your Chrome or Firefox browser?

Here's a list of the other tips I suggest:

SET A TIMER

Type in "set a timer for [x] minutes" and then get to work. I use this often to limit my social media time or to really focus on a task without interruptions. There's something about a countdown that makes you want to work faster! I actually set a 15 minute timer to finish this blog post - so, let's see how it works. You can also make this full screen, which could be useful for timing a speech, for example. It works in reverse if you prefer the stopwatch option.

SEARCH FOR FLIGHTS

What I like about the ability to search right from Google is that it uses your location for quicker search and suggests dates; for example, an upcoming Thursday to Sunday trip.  Now, just select where you would like to travel and you're all set. The calendar shows price differences on varying days if your plans are flexible, or you can view a map of your route which shows prices for flying into alternative cities for comparison. I didn't feel like there were as many options available as some other search sites, but they did offer the same low prices I was able to find on my usual sites. 

GOOGLE DOES MATH

From equations to conversions, it's there when you simply don't want to use your seventh grade math skills. When cooking, try using Google to help by typing "convert ten ounces to cups." When shopping for the best deal try, "What is 15% of $67?" It works at a restaurant too, when you may not know the perfect amount to tip. "What's 20% of $83?"

GOOGLE LIKE A BOSS

  • Be specific. Use keywords strategically and on purpose. You can leave out extra words to complete the sentence.
  • Google can answer many questions. Try searching nutrition facts like, "How many calories are in a Jimmy Johns turkey sub?" or "How long does it take to get to Dayton, Ohio?" The answers are 514 calories and 13 hours and 31 minutes, respectively.
  • Use quotation marks to search exact phrases. Otherwise, it will search those keywords, in any order with an article. Sometimes that matters!
  • If you keep getting searches that include a word you do not want to be a part of the search, use the minus symbol. Add it before any words you don't want to appear in your search. 
  • Use .. to search a date range. Add two periods between a date range to only search within those dates. 

And finally...

BUILD WITH LEGOS!

You can do practically anything on your computer, so why not build something with virtual Legos? This works with Chrome & Firefox browsers and is actually pretty fun! You can change the colors of the Lego bricks or choose from extras like doors or windows to add to your creation. Visit the site here to build!