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Friday, October 28, 2011

Site of the Week: Wolfram Alpha

Wolfram Alpha Teaches You Math, One Step at a Time (Among Other Things)

You can think of Wolfram Alpha as a synthesis of Google, Wikipedia, a Calculator, and a Textbook, in that it provides you with answers and a step-by-step guide rather than leaving you to search for them. Wolfram Alpha, according to Wikipedia, is an answer-engine and online service that, rather than providing a list of web pages that might contain the answer (like Google), it actually answers factual queries directly by computing the answer from structured data.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

The 9 Skills Needed to Become a Super-Connector

Invest In Your Future By Building Your Network Now

James Altucher, an investor, programmer, author, and entrepreneur, guest wrote an article over at TechCrunch on how to become a "super-connector." In other words, he provides some great insights and advice to becoming better at networking with others - a skill that is extremely important to develop, and a necessary practice to put into action while in college.

As the old saying goes, it's not what you know, but who you know. This is partially true, as simply knowing others isn't enough either.

  1. First, you must also produce something of value in order to leverage your ties with others - whether through your knowledge, skills, experience ideas, or connections. Producing something of value is the first step you need to take in order to become a super-connector. 
    • So how do you produce something of value in college? Work for free! You can join a student organization, do volunteer work, take on an internship, and help professors with their research, among others.
  2. Then, you can begin to "bridge" those ties. For example, someone I know is starting a newspaper but doesn't know anyone who can be the editor. I know someone that is a major in Journalism and English that is interested in one day becoming an editor, so I introduce the two, they kick it off, and we all benefit from it. 
    • What I did was create a bridge between my two ties - they didn't know each other, but the both knew me, and thus I became the bridge that connected the two of them.

Remember, universities are highly coveted for their networking potential, so invest in your future by building your social network now!

Check out the link below to find more tips on becoming a "super-connector."
Link: 9 Skills Needed to Be a Super-Connector by James Altucher


Monday, October 24, 2011

5 Browser Extensions Everyone Should Have

Top 5 Must-Have Browser Extensions

The browser you use will determine the level with which you can customize your web browsing experience, as well as your level of privacy, safety, and speed when browsing. Chrome or Firefox are two browsers that are on the rise in terms of popularity and usage, and provide more customization features than any other browser.

To learn about some of the features, pros, and cons of different web browsers, check out Lifehacker's series on the Best Web Browser for Mac and the Best Web Browser for Windows.

Otherwise, continue reading below for a list of our Top 5 favorite, must-have browser extensions.

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Quick Tips: Keyboard Shortcuts

Keyboard Shortcuts for Microsoft Word
Use these shortcuts to reduce repetitive tasks when writing papers, notes, or assignments in Microsoft word.

Some of them are easy to remember because the letters match up (B = bold; I = italicize, etc.)

  • Ctrl + B:  Bold (Make highlighted words bold)
  • Ctrl + I:    Italicize 
  • Ctrl + U:  Underline
  • Ctrl + Z:   Undo
  • Ctrl + S:  Save document
  • Ctrl + Backspace:    Delete previous word
Practice using these often and you will save yourself tons of time from pointing and clicking with your mouse.

Go here for a full list of Keyboard Shortcuts in Word:

Make your To-Do List Doable

You Are the Boss of You
Have you ever started a to-do list, only to let it build dust until you scrap it completely? It is easy to let a whole day or week go by without marking off a task on your list, but why? The answer lies in your technique: How you write it and treat it. A To-Do list can be a tool that guides you through your work, or it can be a field of land-mines taunting you and your unproductive inadequacy. 

Done the right way, To-Do lists can be one of the most satisfying things in the world, providing you with a visual representation of your recent productivity and accomplishments as you check off your completed tasks. 

Below we detail 10 tips to staying on track with your to-do list, to help you push your career, education, and life forward. 

Refer to our previous post for further tips on keeping a daily planner.

Friday, October 21, 2011

Advice By the Students, For the Students:

Keep a Planner to Stay Organized and on Task

A common theme in the advice given by OU students in Bobcat Connections is to work on staying organized with a planner or to-do list of some sort. Caitlin, Katelyn, Riley, and Laura each discussed the importance of having a planner in college, and for a good reason.

Having a carefully laid out day planner helps to optimize time management and contributes to getting more done in a day. It can also be rewarding to cross off items you have completed – giving you a visual representation of your accomplishments.

This post discusses 10 tips to using a daily planner to stay on track.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Become a Pro at Using Google: Part Deuce (II)

Using Advanced Google Search Operators:
Did you know that you could tell Google to only return results from websites with a .edu domain (thus cutting out results from .com, .gov, etc.)?

Part II of becoming a pro at using Google will explore advanced search functions that will lead you to better, more relevant information and online resources, whether for research projects, personal information, or anything else.

Before you continue reading, you should refer to Part I of Becoming a Pro at Using Google, which details some basic guidelines and tips to using Google that you may not know about.

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Ask the Readers: College Knowledge

What Do You Know Now That You Wish You Knew in College?

Part of the reason I started this blog is because there is much I have learned over the years which I wish I had known earlier. As the saying goes, there is no greater teacher than experience.

To help today's new crop of college students, we're wondering:
What do you wish you had known when you were in college? OR
Is there certain advice students should follow?

Update: See bottom of post below.

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Organize your Data with Dropbox

Staying Organized with Dropbox
Dropbox is a great tool for staying organized and accessing your data from anywhere, but it can become difficult to find what you need if it gets cluttered. This post will detail some simple ways in which you can organize your folders and documents. Use this as a chance to start fresh, and save yourself from unnecessary future work and stress.

Note: If you don’t have Dropbox, see my previous post, or visit and download it for free. These tips apply for other Document folders as well.

Friday, October 14, 2011

Frugal Friday: Saving Money on Tuition

Tuition: Money-Saving Tips for College Students

Frugal Friday is a weekly post, which will examine the many ways in which you can save and spend money more wisely as a college student. 

This week, we are looking at how you can save money on your tuition, and potentially graduate earlier in the process.

Quick Tips: Keyboard Shortcuts

Helpful Keyboard Shortcuts
Reduce the time wasted on repetitive tasks with these basic and commonly used keyboard shortcuts.
Become part of the 10% that know about CTRL+F (recent data shows that 90% of people don't know how to use this keyboard shortcut).

Mac users: Use the "Command" button instead of "Ctrl"
  • Ctrl + F: Find or search for specific words (you can use this anywhere with text - Word documents, Web sites, PDFs, etc.)
  • Ctrl + C: Copy highlighted text
  • Ctrl + X: Cut
  • Ctrl + V: Paste

List of Microsoft Keyboard Shortcuts:
List of Mac OSX Keyboard Shortcuts:

Friday, October 7, 2011

Frugal Friday: Saving Money on Textbooks

Textbooks: Money-Saving Tips for College Students

Frugal Friday is a weekly post, which will examine the many ways in which you can save and spend money more wisely as a college student.

Click the "Continue Reading" link below to learn how to save money on Textbooks.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Become a Pro at Using Google: Part I

A recent series of studies found that students aren't very good at using Google. “They were basically clueless about the logic underlying how the search engine organizes and displays its results,” adds an article on the study by Inside Higher Ed. “Consequently, the students did not know how to build a search that would return good sources.”

Google is a tool we use daily, and as such, we should understand how to use it appropriately. This is Part I of a series exploring how you can more effectively use Google to find the information and resources you need.

Monday, October 3, 2011

Taking Better Notes in College: Part I

   Note Taking Hacks
As a college student you are going to be taking notes. Whether you’re headed to a student organization meeting, a university lecture, a business meeting, or a public speaker’s presentation on campus, taking effective notes is a critical skill that moves your projects, your career, and your education forward. 

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Get your Data on the Go with Dropbox

Dropbox ( is an easy to use and free desktop application and web service, which helps you keep your data, papers, assignments, and so on, organized and accessible from any device. It can be used on any operating system (Mac, Windows, etc.) or smartphone. If I had to suggest any one tool to college students, it would be this.

No more e-mailing yourself multiple drafts and littering your inbox with old papers and assignments, no more losing USB drives that hold all your important data, no more worrying about losing all your files because your computer got a virus and had to be rebuilt. With Dropbox, all of your important documents, assignments, pictures, and so on are backed up on the Internet for you.

Click "Read More" for some Tips on getting extra free space for your Dropbox.