Tech trends: Print vs. digital textbooks and Barnes & Noble’s new tablet

In the market for a new tablet? Rumors hinted at Barnes & Noble planning to release a new 7-inch NOOK tablet, designed to compete with the low-end price point of the bestselling Amazon Fire tablet, before the holiday shopping season. I’m a long time NOOK user, so this is exciting news for me, especially as my old tablet died over the summer. The news got me thinking about the old print vs. digital textbooks debate, and it looks like the jury is still out.

Print or digital textbooks, which do you prefer? (Credit: Pexels)

Print or digital textbooks, which do you prefer? (Credit: Pexels)

I read both in print and digital interchangeably, and I’ve expanded my reading in the past few years to include smaller devices, like my cell phone, among my displays. But a phone screen is certainly not the ideal way to read a textbook. What are the arguments for or against experiencing your textbooks digitally? Check it out to see whether or not digital textbooks are the way to go for your own learning style and budget. Read more

How to get the most from online research sources

It’s not even Halloween yet but you’re probably swamped with research paper assignments. Am I right? Your professors may assume that you know how to use research databases and how to find scholarly education resources to use. But the truth is that many college students struggle with doing anything more than a simple Google search.

Find out how online research can take your classwork to the next level. (Credit: Hotel School)

Find out how online research can take your classwork to the next level. (Credit: Hotel School)

So let’s take a look at some tips, tricks, and strategies that will help you gather the research you need to ace that next term paper. Read more

7 first day of college tips

My first day of college classes was daunting for me, as it is for most college students. You’re still finding your classroom buildings, navigating the college campus layout and meeting teachers and fellow students for the first time.

What tips do you suggest for the first day of college? (Credit: The Odyssey Online)

What tips do you suggest for the first day of college? (Credit: The Odyssey Online)

Here are some bits of freshman advice and college tips for your first day of class. Read more

Understand political terms with your very own dictionary

Now that the Democratic Party and Republican Party have chosen their candidates the rhetoric will really heat up. I’ve been watching a lot of political commentary on TV and, wow, there are plenty of political terms to keep track of.

Now is a good time to learn your political terms. (Credit: Mount Dora Citizen)

Now is a good time to learn your political terms. (Credit: Mount Dora Citizen)

What exactly do the candidates mean when they talk about being liberal or conservative? What is an oligarchy and why does it scare people? There are fewer than 100 days until the presidential election on November 8, 2016, so it’s about time we clarified all the political jargon. Read more

Ideas for your summer reading list

Odds are, you’re either finished with your semester or you’re almost finished. You might be dreaming of a summer filled with sun and fun and no books at all. Even though I take mostly lit classes, I still like to do a little summer reading. Some friends of mine put together a list of books they felt like other people had read and they’d missed, and check them off during the summer.

What books are on your summer reading list? (Credit: Pexels)

What books are on your summer reading list? (Credit: Pexels)

If you want to pick some of the best books to read over the summer, you can grab one of NPR’s best books list, or you can flesh out your summer reading with a checklist based on the Gilmore Girls. Even better? Take a look at your TBR pile and see if you can whittle it down while doing some beach reading! Read more

Does Skype in classrooms improve academics?

Today, college students who may need to miss a class due to illness, bad weather, family emergency or other reason can get their education from Webcam online, Skype video or other remote learning right in their college dorm or at home.

Do you think the use of Skype in the classroom is effective? (Credit: LaSalle.edu)

Do you think the use of Skype in the classroom is effective? (Credit: LaSalle.edu)

Skype in the Classroom is helping students and college professors improve academics. Your college professor is likely to bring the class to you. Read more

How the FREE MindTap Mobile App will meet your college needs

With a bit of research – wait, let me rephrase that – with an extensive amount of research, the MindTap Mobile App was officially built with the help of college students (who better to help?!) to determine how mobile access could most benefit them.

Based on those findings, there are several key features that will be available through the FREE MindTap Mobile App. Let’s get right to the point and show you how it will meet your academic needs. Read more

Where to find reliable sources in your own filter bubble [Hint: not Wikipedia!]

One of the great things about writing papers right now is how easy it is to type in your topic in a search engine and voila! Information, right at your fingertips! I love how quickly I can grab information on the go, just using my smart phone. But the tricky thing about all the information that’s available is sorting through the reliable sources and the not-so-reliable sources.

Can you tell what reliable sources look like? (Credit: Heahea.org)

Can you tell what reliable sources look like? (Credit: Heahea.org)

This is made even more difficult when you take into account something professors like Siva Vaidhyanathan calls Googlization, and writers like Eli Pariser call the Filter Bubble: helpful personalization of your search algorithm by your search engine ends up feeding you a search bias—your search results are more likely to show you information that supports your own ideas than contradicts them, which can be truly hazardous for a research paper. Here are some tips you need to know on sorting the good sources from the bad. Read more

College campuses catering to various religions and what they’re doing

Colleges and universities are catering to the religious and cultural diversity of their college students. My college campus has a few Christian student groups, but there is nothing for other religions, which is a shame.

Syracuse University's stone circle for pagan students is one way to cater to various religions. (Credit: Syracuse University)

Syracuse University’s stone circle for pagan students is one way to cater to various religions. (Credit: Syracuse University)

However, more colleges are catering to students of different religions, and are offering classes or extracurricular activities for anyone who wants to learn about a faith different from their own. This is happening in an era when Americans in general and millennials in particular, are identifying less and less with a specific religion. Read more

Got an exam survival kit? Don’t forget your phone

Duh, of course you’d never forget your phone no matter where you go, right?! It’d be a travesty to leave it behind when you head to the library (or elsewhere) to study for exams too. But aren’t phones supposed to be a huge distraction we should steer clear of when studying? Well, yes and no.

You will want your phone next time you leave the house to study. (Credit: Motivators.com)

You will want your phone next time you leave the house to study. (Credit: Motivators.com)

It ultimately depends on how you use your phone! Let’s delve deeper into why your phone should be included in your exam survival kit. Read more