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  • drdianehamilton 2:45 pm on October 2, 2015 Permalink | Reply
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    Grammar: When It Just Does Not Sound Correct 


    My job has taught me that a lot of people struggle with grammar and spelling. My first sentence brought to mind one of the most common spelling errors. Many of my students type “a lot” as one word, which is incorrect. There is no such word as “alot”. If spelling is not hard enough, grammar is just as tricky because some things that are correct, do not sound correct. I know I tend to say things incorrectly just to sound like everyone else. For example, people might look at you funny if you correctly stated, “that is she” instead of incorrectly stated “that is her”.

    Here are some of the most common mistakes I run into when grading papers:

    • It is not correct to state: in regards; it should be: in regard
    • It is not correct to state: between you and I; it should be: between you and me
    • It is not correct to state: me and Bob went; it should be: Bob and I went
    • It is not correct to state: please contact myself; it should be: please contact me
    • It is not correct to state: it has been a good year for Bob and I; it should be: it has been a good year for Bob and me.

    We are all guilty of making grammatically incorrect statements. I often find things that I have written where I have made mistakes. One mistake I recently noticed was that I incorrectly referred to CEO as an acronym. That is incorrect. It is an abbreviation. It is only an acronym if the letters may be used as a word as in the example of RADAR.

    I was always taught never to end sentences with a preposition. I have seen several debates regarding rules like this one. Some incorrectly written things become so common that they change the rules.

    With all of the confusion, where can you find help with grammar? Even the most educated people make mistakes. I believe a good editor can help. I am a fan of I am also a big fan of the Grammar Girl website. Another website that may be particularly helpful is Grammarly. There are also some wonderful books, which include:

    The Bugaboo Review: A Lighthearted Guide to Exterminating Confusion about Words, Spelling and Grammar by Sue Sommer.
    Between You and I: A Little Book of Bad English by James Cochrane.
    Eats, Shoots, & Leaves: The Zero Tolerance Approach to Punctuation by Lynne Truss.

    Related Articles:
    Have Some Fun with Some Common Grammar Mistakes
    Euphemisms, Metaphors, Clichés, Oxymorons, and More
    What is a Backronym or a Bacronym?
    Anthropomorphisms: When Not to Use Them
    Top 100 Vocabulary Words Adult Should Know
    APA and Writing Help Page

    • garrymaurice 3:05 pm on October 2, 2015 Permalink | Reply

      Interesting read. I’ve just started to study language more seriously so I look forward to reading more of your stuff.

    • Michelle Kenny 3:18 pm on October 2, 2015 Permalink | Reply

      Hi Diane, How right you are. A friend’s friend has also written a series on grammar.

      Thank you, Michelle

  • drdianehamilton 2:30 pm on September 11, 2015 Permalink | Reply
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    Professors’ Media Choices in Online Classes 


    There is limited research regarding the use of social media or other types of media in online courses. In 2013, I surveyed 110 adjunct professors from a Linkedin group to determine if they added media (including social media) to already developed curriculum. Due to the prevalence of online classes, it might help curriculum designers to determine media preferences. This type of study may also demonstrate the flexibility of online courses, the perception of content requirements in online courses, and professors’ best practices.

    Some of the social sites that professors used included Facebook, Twitter, and Youtube; female professors used these sites more than male. Sites like Twitter were chosen for this study because they have shown to be useful for marketing courses for product trending. However, Youtube was the most frequently used of the social media sites. The most popular links added to courses included news-based websites like NBC, CBS, CNN, and the Wall Street Journal. Most of the professors believed these news sites were appropriate additions to the classroom. Many of the respondents were over 46 years of age with more than eight years of experience. The results were published in the Journal of Scholastic Inquiry: Education, Volume 1, Issue 1 in Fall of 2013.

    The following demonstrates professors’ choices of media based on years of experience.  The Facebook category included other social media sites like Twitter.  The Websites/Official category includes news sites.  To see the video presentation of this study regarding online professors’ media choices at the Journal of Scholastic Inquiry Conference, click here.


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    • Rosario Carbone 3:01 pm on September 11, 2015 Permalink | Reply

      Excellent Presentation Dr. Diane,

      Thank you so much for getting me signed up to your blog, as you are the best teacher I have ever had at any level of my education. You are a Dynamic individual, and I’m hoping to continue to follow your blog long after Organizational Behavior ends on Monday. I wish the class never ended, and you would be my professor during the entire MBA🎓🙏 program at Ashford. I have told my entire family what an Amazing teacher you are. Do you ever Mentor students, as I would be first person on your line. Thank you for teaching me so much about Organizational behavior! You have inspired me to continue to work hard, and maybe I can follow your lead and become an online instructor. Hope to hear your thoughts on my Business future after being on Disability, and out of the workforce for over a decade.
      This is my first comment on your “blog” , and hope it’s not too long.
      See you in class, as I’m working diligently on my final paper for your class. Have a great night, and keep up the inspiring, motivating, and positive work. I hope to get an video and article everyday, just like my 2015 New York Mets!!!

      Rosario Carbone

  • drdianehamilton 3:38 pm on August 4, 2015 Permalink | Reply
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    Adjunct Faculty Members’ Perceptions of Online Education Compared to Traditional Education 


    I am often asked to give my opinion regarding online education versus traditional education.  Because it is such a popular topic, I decided to conduct some research to determine how online instructors’ perceive online versus traditional degrees. The following is an abstract from my most recent study published in the Journal for Online Doctoral Education.

    “Due to the growth of online courses and universities, the quality and benefits of distance education warrant
    scholarly attention. Previous researchers have focused on students’, employers’, and traditional professors’
    perspectives of online courses. Although adjunct professors teach the majority of online courses, few
    researchers have explored their opinions of online education compared to traditional, face-to-face education.
    Also lacking is information about online instructors’ perceptions of the online teaching position. The purpose
    of this report was to present online adjunct faculty members’ perceptions of online education in relation to
    traditional education. Sixty-eight adjunct faculty members who were recruited through LinkedIn voluntarily
    completed an instrument that was developed for this purpose. Given that this report represents an initial
    attempt to understand this phenomenon, preliminary results are reported as descriptive statistics. Overall,
    the online adjunct faculty members held favorable opinions of online education and believed that others did
    as well. Although they reported grading similarly in online courses as in traditional courses, the online
    adjunct faculty members reported that students thought that online professors graded more easily.
    Limitations and recommendations for future research are discussed.”

    To read the entire study, please click the following link: Adjunct Faculty Members’ Perceptions of Online Education Compared to Traditional Education

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  • drdianehamilton 4:43 pm on July 21, 2015 Permalink | Reply
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    Forbes School of Business Mentor Week 


    Forbes Mentor Week was held on August 31, 2015. It was an excellent chance to learn career-changing habits and problem solving techniques critical in today’s workplace. This five-day online event brought together influencers and innovators from all corners of the business community for an interactive boot camp to sharpen your personal and professional skills.

    Please see my recorded session here:

  • drdianehamilton 6:44 am on November 21, 2014 Permalink | Reply
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    Professors’ Expectations: Helpful Writing Tips for College Students 


    Students often struggle with writing essays.  Some have difficulty with structure. Others dread dealing with APA formatting. I teach everything from bachelor-level to doctoral-level courses.  The following contains some helpful writing tips that I have found may make writing essays a little easier.

    Citations and References:

    Many of the courses I teach require that students master the use of citations and references.  I have found that students often become confused about how to include these.  One common mistake that students make is to include a reference page without including any citations.  That is not correct. The problem with that is there is no way to determine what part, if any, of the paper was paraphrased or cited from that source.  Students sometimes think that listing a reference is a way to show that they used that information for the paper.  However, there is more that must be done than simply including the source on the reference page. There must also be citations.  Citations may be paraphrased or directly quoted.  If there is a reference, there must be at least one corresponding citation.

    • A paraphrased citation looks something like this: Hamilton (2014) explained the importance of citations.

    Students may also want to include directly quoted material.  I teach some courses where I allow this and other courses where I only allow paraphrased citations.

    • If directly quoted citations are allowed, they look something like this: “Citations may be paraphrased or directly quoted” (Hamilton, 2014, p. 1).

    I prefer that my students paraphrase their citations. This may help demonstrate that they understand the content. However, it is important that if any information is paraphrased or quoted directly from a source, the author and year information must be included (list n.d. if no date is listed).  There may be specific guidelines listed in the APA manual for listing page numbers and other identifying information. Students should be aware of the following:

    • Do not list citations without references.
    • Do not list references without citations.
    • Do not list the author and year information at the end of the paragraph and assume it covers the entire paragraph of content.  Author and year information must be included for any paraphrased sentence or directly quoted block of content.
    • Citations and references must be in APA format (for most courses). Do not include footnotes if APA is required.
    • Do not number the references; list them in APA format.
    • Alphabetize references in APA format.
    • Long direct quotes have unique indentation requirements.  I recommend avoid any long direct quotes. They are usually used by students to fill up space.  Professors may not like that.
    • Be sure the alignment of references is correct on the reference page. The first line of each source should be at the left margin and every line after that indented ½ inch.  See APA guidelines for help.
    • Use peer-reviewed scholarly journals for citing.
    • Double-check with the Owl Purdue Writing Lab for help with how to cite unusual sources.

    It may be a challenge for students to get into the habit of citing correctly.  There are some sources like Perrla that may help.

    Use of Appropriate Sources:

    Another common citing mistake is to use less-than-scholarly sources. Although I enjoy writing blogs and doing research, I do not recommend that students use this or any other similar site as a source in their research papers.  Blogs may sometimes contain news-worthy information. However, usually they contain opinion and other information that has not been peer-reviewed.

    There are many sites that students use that are not considered appropriate sources for research.  Blogs are just one of them.  The following list contains some sources that students should not use:

    • Blogs – Blogs are meant for things other than research. They may be helpful in giving insight into how to do things.  They may be fun to read in terms of content.  However, students need to realize that some blogs may not contain accurate information.
    • Wikipedia – Wikipedia is a common student favorite.  It contains some very good information. However, the content is written on a wiki. A wiki allows more than one person to add or change information.  Any wiki should not be used as a source for citing.  Wikipedia may have some very good sources listed at the bottom of the page.  If students start at Wikipedia to research a topic, they could look at the bottom to find the original source of information. At that point, students can search their school’s library for that source to see if it comes up under peer-reviewed scholarly sources.
    • eHow, Quora, or other Q&A Sites – There are plenty of Q&A sites that allow people to answer questions on the Internet.  Just because there is an answer on these sites, does not mean that the answer is correct or has been reviewed by anyone.  Think of these sites as you would a blog.  They may or may not contain accurate information.  Therefore, they should not be used to cite.
    • Dictionary – This is a source students tend to like to cite.  Although it is accurate and will give a good definition, some professors look at this as a kind of “cop out” source.  It is easy to look up a definition in the dictionary.  It is better to show scholarly research that explains the subject in more detail.
    • Books – Some books should not be used as sources.  If there is a textbook assigned to the course, it is usually a good source to cite.  However, not all books are considered “scholarly”.  It is best to stick to peer-reviewed journals if there is any doubt.

    Some professors will allow just about any source for citations.  Others are extremely picky.  To be safe, it is a good idea to get in the habit of using only peer-reviewed scholarly sources.  For more information, check out:  What is a Peer-Reviewed Journal.

    Schools usually have an online library where students can find appropriate sources.  Near the search bar, there may be a box that can be checked to ensure that the search only delivers peer-reviewed scholarly sources.  The wise students stick to the school’s library for research.  It is as easy to search as Google and the chances of coming up with proper research are enhanced.

    Other Common Mistakes:

    I notice that many students make similar mistakes.  I make comments on their papers to address these issues.  Many of them disregard my comments and continue to submit the papers with the same mistakes.  I thought it might be helpful to create a checklist of some of the most common mistakes that I see and give some guidelines as how to correct them.

    • Tense – Students should stick to third person rather than first or second person unless the paper is specifically about them. In this blog, I write in first person. I use words like I, me, us, and we. Those are fine in this type of setting.  In undergraduate and graduate courses, students must be able to write as if they are an observer.  It is also incorrect to write in second person. Second person includes words like you and your.  Students must learn how to write in third person.  Do not write a paper that begins with something like: I chose to write about this because blah blah blah. There is no need to mention the author (aka the student).  Just write about the topic.
    • Paragraph/Overall Structure – I often include a link in class that directs student to this Youtube Video that explains how to write a well-constructed paper.  It is important not to have an overly long or overly short paragraph.  I have seen students submit entire papers that included only one paragraph.  I prefer to see paragraphs include around 4-8 sentences.  If citing is required, it is better to begin a paragraph with a statement and then follow it with citations.  The citations are there to support any points.  Students must make their points before they can support them.  Students often forget to set up their papers to include an introduction, body and conclusion.  I recommend watching the Youtube video for help with this and many other structural and writing issues.
    • Microsoft Word Issues – Students often have difficulty with formatting issues.  I have created the following videos that  may be helpful with some of these problems:  How to Remove Extra Spaces from in Between Paragraphs, Working with Headers and Page Numbers, How to Change Period Spacing.
    • Using Scholarly Sources – Students may have difficulty distinguishing between the kinds of sources that are allowed for citations. If students’ first inclination is to search for answers on Google or if Wikipedia is their best friend, I recommend that they check out their school’s library search engine instead.
    • Font Issues – Students must be sure that their papers meet APA guidelines.  The font needs to be set at 12 point.  There should not be any special bold, ALL CAPS, or underlined information that does not meet these guidelines.
    • Confusion Between Citations and References – I recommend reading:  What is the Difference Between Citations and References. The reference page must be titled References and not Works Cited.
    • Amount of Citations – Students often do not include enough citations.  They must be able to demonstrate their research and back up any points.  I find that many students like to write in a story-telling fashion.  Others may already know information about a topic and write based on experience. It is important to cite even if you are a subject expert.  Some may be tempted to cite too often.  Every single sentence should not be a citation.  That is called patchworking.  It is important to make a point and then back it up with citations to demonstrate your research.
    • Follow Rubrics and Guidelines – If there are specific requirements for the assignment, it is important that students follow the guidelines.  If five pages are required, then submit at least five complete pages.  The title page and reference pages do not count toward page requirements.  If the professor has posted any additional requirements in class, it is important to go through that checklist to determine that all requirements have been met.

    Graduate-Level Expectations:

    Graduate-level students may be required to have a higher level of writing expertise.  These requirements may cause students to become frustrated. Some of my online students have not taken courses in a very long time.  Many of them have not learned how to write properly in APA format. I have a surprisingly high number of students who have difficulty with sentence and paragraph structure. Graduate students should not use contractions.  For example, words like cannot should not be written as can’t.  Papers should be written in third person unless it specifically states that the assignment should be written in first person. Students should support all major points and information that is not common knowledge with peer-reviewed scholarly sources.  The school’s library should be the main search source. Whenever information is not common knowledge or is paraphrased, it should be cited. 

    I have had some students who get annoyed when I take off points for these issues.  I post my requirements on the first day of class, so that there are no excuses for not following my guidelines.  However, there will always be some students who feel it is their right to write incorrectly.  They may not truly understand the narrative mode issue or how to cite in APA format.

    At the graduate level, it is up to students to learn these things.  It is important to write in a scholarly tone.  I think students should write as if their paper could be printed in a journal.  It is important that students do not write in an informal tone.  Some students like to insert personal anecdotes or other information that is not appropriate for the assignment or this level of work.  Unless the instructor specifically states that papers may be written informally or in some other format, graduate-level students should stick to a scholarly third-person tone that is supported consistently throughout with peer-reviewed research.

    There may come a time when an assigned essay involves something that the student has experienced or already has studied.  For example, an assignment might be to write about a famous entrepreneur.  I have many students that are fans of Steve Jobs or Oprah Winfrey.  They may know everything there is to know about these people because they have followed their careers.

    Many students make the mistake of writing in a storytelling-fashion, based on their own interpretation of what they think they already know.  If it is a graduate-level assignment, usually citations and research are required.  That means that students will need to find sources to support their writing.

    I commonly I see students write something like this:  I chose Oprah Winfrey because she makes me feel blah blah blah.  There are several problems with this sentence.  First of all, the paper should be about Oprah and not about the student.  There is no need to write in first person.  Unless the professor specifically stated that students should explain their feelings, the assignment should stick to what Oprah has accomplished.

    Students often like to refer to their feelings in their writing.  They also like to include personal anecdotes.  For most of the classes that I teach, this is not appropriate.

    Sometimes a student will drop me a note that states something like this:  “I already know everything about this subject, so I didn’t include citations.”  I understand what they mean. However, even if the student knows everything about a topic, the point of the assignment is to show what they have learned through research.

    Students must get into the habit of finding solid scholarly sources to back up what they have written.  Without citations, they have written opinion and not research.

    There are certain expectations of higher-level students.  They should be able to write in complete paragraphs that include around four to eight sentences.  Students should cite consistently throughout each of those paragraphs to support major points.  A strong introduction and conclusion should be included.

    When students cite, it is a good idea to paraphrase those citations whenever possible.  Some students try to fill space by including many long direct quotations. I have corrected papers where students had about 10% of their own information and the rest was directly quoted from another source. This is not acceptable. Some schools do not allow more than 10% directly quoted material.  It is easy to copy and paste what others have written.  That does not really show that the student has learned anything.  It is far better to paraphrase citations to show that the information has been processed and understood.

     Related Articles:

    Also check out this video for helpful tips I give my students to help them succeed in class:

  • drdianehamilton 4:10 pm on November 7, 2013 Permalink | Reply
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    NCU Interviews Dr. Diane Hamilton 

    NCU Interviews Dr. Diane Hamilton

    For more see the full article at Northcentral University Higher Degrees Fall 2013

  • drdianehamilton 9:32 am on July 25, 2013 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , James Franco, , , Melissa Joan Hart, Veronica Mars, , Zach Braff   

    Entrepreneurs and Celebrities Use Kickstarter for Funding 


    Kickstarter has been a successful crowdfunding option for potential entrepreneurs to garner cash.  However it has not been without some issues.  According to The Wall Street Journal article The Trouble With Kickstarter, “The only thing worse than having to watch your friend’s arty movie is having to pay for it too.” Aside from the problems associated with pestering friends to donate, there have been some successful ventures thanks to this site.  The following list contains some of names of celebrities who have used the site:

    Some people get annoyed by celebrities using Kickstarter.   Celebrities like Kevin Smith have stated they believed Kickstarter is unfair to other filmmakers. Not all stars have had success with the site. Some stars like Melissa Joan Hart have been booted from Kickstarter for lackluster results.

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  • drdianehamilton 10:14 am on July 24, 2013 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , Extraversion-Introversion, , , , Susan Cain, Tom Rath,   

    Researchers Debate Importance of Introverts Acting like Extroverts 


    Several courses I teach include discussion regarding the importance of understanding personality preferences.  Students often take personality tests to determine their “type”.  Part of their type includes whether they are introverts or extraverts (Myers Briggs spells extravert with an “a” instead of an “o”).  In my training to become a qualified Myers Briggs MBTI trainer, I learned that people have preferences for how they like to receive and process information.  We were told it was similar to how people prefer to write with their right or left hand.  That is why I found the recent Wall Street Journal article titled How an Introvert Can Be Happier:  Act Like an Extrovert to be so interesting.  The title contradicts some of what I learned in my training.

    Some interesting highlights from this article include:

    • Introverts who are more withdrawn in nature, will feel a greater sense of happiness if they act extroverted (according to research from 2012 in the Journal of Personality).
    • Extraverts are more motivated than introverts due to a greater sensitivity to dopamine that drives rewards.
    • Genetics plays a large role in whether people are introverts or extroverts.
    • Introverts misjudge the amount of anxiety and embarrassment they feel when they must act like extroverts.
    • It was tiring for introverts to act like extroverts than for extroverts to act like introverts.

    If Myers Briggs information teaches us that people have certain preferences and feel more comfortable with those preferences, this research contradicts that.  However, not all researchers agree with these results.  Some of the researchers in this article believed that trying to act against type would deplete glucose resources due to the concentration involved.  If genetics truly plays a role in whether someone is introverted or extroverted, then people may find it difficult to constantly fight their natural tendencies.

    Susan Cain, author of the book Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World that Can’t Stop Talking, argued that the people should draw on their strengths rather than try to be something they are not.  This is not unlike the position Tom Rath, author of Strengths Finder 2.0 takes in his book that embraces working on strengths rather than weaknesses.  In the book, It’s Not Your It’s Your Personality, several of the top personality theories and assessments are addressed including Myers Briggs and Strengths Finders, DISC, and Emotional Intelligence.

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  • drdianehamilton 12:56 pm on July 23, 2013 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , Entitlement, , , , , ,   

    Millennial Student Entitlement Issues 


    The word Millennials is used to describe adults born between the years of 1980 and 2000.  They are also known as Generation Y.  Jean Twenge, author of Generation Me explained Millennials tend to be more self-focused and may expect to receive a lot of recognition. Sixty Minutes aired an interesting story titled The Millennials are Coming.  In this show, they explained how this younger generation expects good things and expects them with little effort. I have noticed that this sense of entitlement has carried into the online classroom setting.

    Most of my students are very respectful. They follow directions.  They ask questions with the proper tone.  However, there are a few that are more demanding.  Although I have not formally studied the age group of the students who demonstrate issues with entitlement, I have noticed that my older Baby Boomer students seem to demonstrate more respect.

    Some students become frustrated with expectations as they enter higher level programs.  Some of my students have managed to get through their undergraduate program with poor writing skills.  If I make comments about things that they need to work on for future assignments, some of them become upset or angry.  It is as if they expect to receive an A with very little effort.  They may make comments that express their indignation that I would even suggest that they might write “a lot” as two words, or indent a paragraph per APA guidelines.  I might even receive a note from them about how other professors did not mark down for certain things.

    I do not take that many points off for writing or APA-related issues. I teach business-related courses and should not have to make grammar or structure my main focus.  What is interesting to me is that their anger does not seem to be about the score received as much as the fact that I have pointed out something they have done incorrectly.

    Many students tell me that professors do not insert comments on their assignments. Perhaps that is why some of them react the way they do.  However, it seems to me that a graduate-level student should write at a graduate level.

    Based on the reaction I get from the younger students, I often wonder if some professors “let things go” in order to keep the peace.  I have spoken to other professors who perform peer-reviews and deal with conflict resolution.  They have told me that students will complain about many little things.  If students complain, professors must respond, and then that creates more of a hassle for them.

    The squeaky wheel may get the grease. If professors do not want to tell students the truth, for fear of reprimand, they may just let things slide.  My concern is that younger students’ entitlement issues have made them complain too easily and kept them from developing important skills.

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    • Rex 11:08 am on August 4, 2014 Permalink | Reply

      As a student in your BA500 Management course, I found your instructions insightful and helpful.
      With that said, I am a non-millennial.

  • drdianehamilton 11:03 am on July 16, 2013 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , , , , , , Syndication and Feeds   

    Facebook Better for Following Blogs than RSS 


    Facebook has made it so much easier to follow just about anything.  RSS feeds and Twitter are still an option for many people. However, with Facebook, once someone “likes” a page, it shows up in their feed on their homepage whenever anything from that page is updated.  Unlike Twitter and RSS feeds, on Facebook, it is easier to see pictures and information.

    It is simple to create a Facebook page that includes links to blogs like this one.  What I think is great about a Facebook page is that I can incorporate links to this blog, to my other blogs, and any other sites.  It is an all-in-one spot to access information. To see my Facebook page, click here.

    With a Facebook page, it is so simple to like or unlike a page.  Once a page is “liked”, people who regularly sign onto Facebook may be more likely to see the information.  Anyone who has a blog could benefit from creating a free page.  It is easy to create and share.

    Check out the following helpful articles:

    How to Create a Facebook Business Page

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    • Tammy Wilson 7:31 pm on July 16, 2013 Permalink | Reply

      Just wanted to say thank you for sending how to create face book business pages. I do not know anything in reference to blogs etc. I do so much appreciate all of your helpful hints on everything!!

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