Background noise is your friend when you’re trying to concentrate

College sImage of White Noise app screenshottudents often need to study or sleep in environments that are crowded or noisy, and background noise like your trusty fan can be helpful or even essential. There are also white noise apps for smartphones and online noise generators than can help. Check out:


No more selling your first born to the bookstore for a textbook!

BookFinder lets you compare prices on new and used books from various sellers.

“ can find you the cheapest new and used textbooks by simultaneously searching for your textbooks on all of the top textbook websites.”

BookFinder lets you compare prices easily and see what the best deal is whether it be for a textbook or book.


How Secure is Your Password?

Imagine how much this would stink: someone hacks your email and changes the password. Ten years of personnel correspondence on your is lost forever.
Having a hard-to-guess, hard-to-hack password is one of the first keys to online security. The How Secure Is My Password? site at will tell you how long it would take a PC to guess your password. It’s fun, fast, and recommended by our friends at LifeHacker.

How Secure is My Password?
And to all the info pirates out there, it will take your little desktop computer with the skull-and-crossbones screensaver SIX THOUSAND years to guess my new password.

The roses by the tennis courts at Franklin Pierce campus

Beautiful sweet-smelling flowers on a beautiful summer day



Taking the GREs? Have an interview? Want to add some new vocabulary words to your repertoire? Vocab Sushi is an easy and fun way to build your vocabulary.

VocabSushi provides thousands of sentences that demonstrate any vocab word’s contemporary usage in news articles. Compared to the brute force method of flashcard definitions, a deeper understanding of the word can be attained simply by reading several interesting sentences that contain that word.”


Challenge yourself to learn a new word everyday!


Image courtesy of site linked to in post

The dog ate your homework excuse doesn’t work anymore

Having a difficult time managing homework? Can’t seem to fit it into your busy schedule? The solution to questions like these can be found with the program Gradefix which generates a homework schedule for you.


 “GradeFix is the world’s most advanced homework planner. You enter how much time you have and what you need to do and GradeFix will automatically optimize your homework schedule.”


Keeping to a schedule like this could help to boost grades and allow for more free-time.



Here are my notes for a presentation I give on citing sources in college writing.
Son of Citation Machine, Easy Bib and More Web and Old-school Tools for Citing Your Work
-Academic discourse and research
-Current cultural climate of plagiarism
-Changeover from printed texts with physical locations to disembodied etexts
-Competing interests between academic disciplines
-However, it doesn’t need to be so hard anymore! Use one of the systems on page 2 below to make your life easier.
1. Clearly mark in your writing the beginning of any words, ideas, or sequence of ideas that you borrow from someone else; use signal phrases and quotation marks
2. Mark the end of borrowed language/ideas with an in-text citation (APA or MLA) or footnote (CMS), which briefly identifies the source, and when appropriate closing quotation marks
3. Put a list of references at the end of the paper that tells the reader everything they need to know to find your sources.
Use a particular style of format and stick to it through the paper: APA, CMS, MLA, or another
APA American Psychological Assn In-text citations include author’s last name and year, and the page number for quotes: At least one writer (Mendham, 2010) has complained that APA style “makes her brain hurt” (p. 1)
CMS Chicago Manual of Style Raised (superscript) numbers to refer to footnotes or endnotes. Tracy Mendham says “Chicago is the mob boss of documentation systems.”2
MLA Modern Lang. Assn In-text citations include author’s last name and the page number. At least one writing specialist claims that “MLA style rocks” (Mendham 3).

-Easy Bib: for FPU free account or for MLA-only
-Microsoft Word 2007 and later:
-Son of Citation Machine:
I always show students how to use Easy Bib if they’re struggling with sources. You can paste in a website to autocite or enter info manually. Easy Bib can will save your references—if you find out you have to write about the same book again, or use a different format style, Easy Bib or
Son of Citation Machine is similar and popular with some students:
This will make your life so much easier it should be worth the $35 the student edition will cost from IT and the time it will take to learn to use it.
A short YouTube tutorial:
Zotero needs to be downloaded and added to your Firefox browser, but it is plain awesome for collecting sources when you are working on more than one computer and it will “grab” information off Amazon web pages about book info and journal info from online databases. It will also automatically add items by ISBN or DOI.
Here’s a demo video:
The Cite feature in EBSCOhost and the good old Diana Hacker Writer’s Reference. I mark the pages I use most and now it’s faster than a website for tasks I do most often.
Come to the Center for Academic Excellence or use the Wensberg Writing Center for more help with writing or to learn to use the tools in this handout.
The Center for Academic Excellence
DiPietro Library, 1st floor,

Audio learners will enjoy this one

Librivox provides free audiobooks that have been read by volunteers. If you retain information better by listening to someone talk than this might be the solution for book assignments.

“LibriVox volunteers record chapters of books in the public domain and release the audio files back onto the net. Our goal is to make all public domain books available as free audio books.”

 Instead of buying the book and reading it this could prove to be a more effective way of retaining the information of Frankenstein.


Deleting your Face (book)

Facebook icon

Life without Facebook is almost impossible to imagine. Our days revolve around checking friends’ statuses, looking at friends’ vacations pictures and secretly being jealous, and changing our own profile picture to that one that makes us look 10 pounds skinnier than we actually are. This post from Huffington Post is from one father whose son took a vacation from Facebook; to his surprise he ended up getting more work done and had more face-to-face contact with his friends. Read this interesting (for some this may be a horror story) account of taking a vacation from Facebook. Here is the link:
Taking a break from Facebook might be a smart choice especially if you find yourself becoming too distracted by the networking site.

Being a college student does not have to be a 24/7 job

Happy go lucky college student

This link,, offers advice on how to survive college while still having a life. Between attending class and doing homework for class it sometimes seems like there is no “me” time or a time to hang out and enjoy what you love to do the most. This blog post written by a college student (so you know he isn’t fooling you!) voices his opinion on how to maintain your two different lives: your student life (class.homework.class.repeat) and your fun self (the self that gets to read a book for fun or go sailing).

 Because college has no defined work/not work boundaries, it is incredibly easy to just work all the time and completely lose any ability to do things that are not assigned to you. This isn’t healthy. Side projects and hobbies (for example, this site) are the sorts of things that not only get you noticed from a pack of job applicants post-graduation, but which make you a non-boring, fully-functional human being.

 This list might make you realize just how much you missed “me” time and how little you get if you don’t prioritize!