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  • drdianehamilton 10:35 am on December 12, 2011 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , Editing, , , , , Proquest, , , WritePoint   

    Successful Students Use Plagiarism and Editing Programs 

    Students who do not use their school’s library writing centers are missing important, helpful information, and their grades may be suffering because of this.  Online universities offer some very useful tools that can help students to edit their papers, locate scholarly journals, and even double-check for plagiarism issues.  Some of the programs available to students include professional editing software like WritePoint, a database search engine like Proquest, and a plagiarism checker like TurnItIn.  Some schools may use different programs other than WritePoint or TurnItIn, but the programs function similarly.  Students should check their online library for availability of specific writing tools.

    The successful student will do their research through the school’s library database search engines.  Once they have written their paper, and have double-checked that they have met all of the teacher’s requirements, they will submit it to the editing software (if available) and the plagiarism checker (required by many schools).  The following gives an explanation of how these three programs work:

    • Professional Editing Software – Example: WritePoint is a program that inserts comments directly into the student’s paper just like a professional editor.  The program will highlight grammar and spelling issues as well as other formatting issues including:  Capitalization issues, clichés, wording choices, use of second person, subject/verb agreement, weak or redundant wording, improper punctuation or hyphenation, and subject/pronoun disagreement.  The student will receive their paper back with comments. At this point, the student can make the appropriate suggested changes and then submit their paper as assigned.  This helps teach the student how to edit their own papers and dramatically improves their ability to get a higher grade.  This also allows professors to focus on the student’s content.  Not all schools offer editing software.

    • Database Search Engine – Example: Proquest is a program that offers over 30 databases of information including:  Dissertations, Newspapers and scholarly journals.  For students doing research that requires peer-reviewed scholarly sources, this can be a very helpful tool.  Students should use their school’s library search engine rather than researching through sites like Google or Yahoo!



    • Plagiarism Checker – Example: TurnItIn is the leading program that checks for plagiarism issues.  The program carries over 150 million archived papers.  There are a variety of websites where students can purchase papers.  Schools are very aware of these sites and programs like TurnItIn will catch these papers.  Students should be aware that professors will submit their papers to TurnItIn and will catch them if they try to submit work that is not their own.

    Students may have had some initial training regarding these programs when they first entered school.  However, with all of the other things they had to learn at the time, many may have forgotten the importance of these tools. Students with questions about what his or her school offers, should ask their guidance counselor. 

    The top articles on this site that are helpful to a student’s success include:

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  • drdianehamilton 12:08 am on November 18, 2010 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: Annoying Business Terms, , , Editing, , , Language Arts, Overused phrases, Paula LaRocque, , The Book on Writing, , , Writing Well   

    Develop Your Writing Skills and Avoid Annoying Phrases 

    I often include tips for my students to become better writers.  If you are looking to hone your writing skills, I highly recommend a book by Paula LaRocque.  LaRocque is the author of The Book on Writing:  The Ultimate Guide to Writing Well.  I wanted to write a blog highlighting the most important points from her book.  However, it was difficult to choose from so many wonderful tips.  I would suggest reading the entire book.  For now, I’d like to include part of a quiz she uses to teach some common grammar mistakes.  Check out the following examples to see if you would write correctly:  

    • If I was rich, I’d do something about the homeless.  This is incorrect.
    • If I were rich, I’d do something about the homeless. This is correct.

    To find out why this is correct, check out her book or look up subjunctive clauses.  

    • The administration hopes the faculty will set their own goals. This is incorrect.
    • The administration hopes the faculty will set up its own goals. This is correct.

    Why is this wrong?  This is a pronoun/antecedent agreement problem.   

    • We feel badly that we missed your call. This is incorrect.
    • We feel bad that we missed your call. This is correct.

    This one might surprise some people.  It should be bad because it modifies “we” as the subject.  It isn’t badly because badly describes an action and therefore would only modify a verb.

    Her book contains more examples.  What I think is helpful, is that she explains why one is correct and the other is not. 

    I particularly liked the section in her book that she referred to as “much-hated words and expressions”.  She suggested that the following words have enjoyed enough undeserved fame:

    • Closure
    • Empowerment
    • Got Game
    • Having Said That
    • Litmus Test
    • Make No Mistake About It
    • Push the Envelope
    • Raise the Bar
    • That Said
    • 24-7

    Her list has many more excellent examples.  However, I have a  few more words and phrases I would like to add her list of things that I am personally tired of hearing:

    • SNAFU
    • Heads Up (this may be number one on my list)
    • From the Get Go
    • Think Outside the Box
    • Paradigm Shift
    • FYI or PDQ
    • My Two Cents
    • Taking it to the Next Level
    • Bring Your “A” Game
    • I’d Like to Pick Your Brain
    • No Pain No Gain
    • Throw it Against the Wall and See What Sticks
    • Low Hanging Fruit
    • Win-Win
    • There’s no I in Team
    • Let’s Touch Base
    • Let’s Run it Up the Flagpole
    • Less is More
    • Mum’s the Word
    • Onward and Upward

    If any of you would like to add a few of your own, I’m “all ears”.  Oh . . .add that to the list as well.

  • drdianehamilton 2:15 pm on August 24, 2010 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , Audioswap, , , Editing, , Intellectual Property, , Video editing,   

    Are You Using AudioSwap on YouTube? 

    I have found audioswap to be a very convenient program that is offered on Youtube.  You can simply go to your uploaded presentation and pick the audioswap feature to upload music that is available on their site.  It avoids copyright issues and is convenient.  I like to pick the option of chosing music that is the same size file as the presentation.

    I would like to see more options in music choices.  There aren’t a lot of presentation-style selections. 

    For an example presentation that uses audioswap, click here.

  • drdianehamilton 5:02 pm on June 26, 2010 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , documents, , Editing, , paragraphs, spacing, , , Word document   

    Removing Extra Spaces Between Paragraphs 

    I often have students ask me how to remove that annoying extra space between paragraphs in their documents. Check out this video to find out some quick tips on setting up your papers in Word.

    • Wessam 4:44 am on February 13, 2012 Permalink | Reply

      I have 2 inquiries about the Originality report generated by Turnitin:
      1. If the student submitted his paper and found a high score, then he resubmit it after making small changes, and found the same high score or even more. what is the solution for this case? is it relating to writing skills?

      • drdianehamilton 6:09 am on February 13, 2012 Permalink | Reply

        Hi Wessam,

        There are a lot of factors that may affect your results. I think this link may be helpful in explaining the report: http://www.essex.ac.uk/plagiarism/turnitin.html
        It is possible the instructor did not create a revised submission capability for that paper and that could cause issues. I would show your report to your instructor and ask for their input.

    • Wessam 6:56 am on February 13, 2012 Permalink | Reply

      Thank you Dr. Diane. This is a general question, I just need your experiences in cases like that what are your solutions?

      • drdianehamilton 9:10 am on February 13, 2012 Permalink | Reply

        I think you need to know whether the faculty set up the revision assignment correctly because if they didn’t it may be comparing your paper as if it is plagiarized from your own work. As professors, we can set up revision submissions that account for initial submissions of the paper. You might need to contact your technical support at your school or the professor if it isn’t working correctly.

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