December 04, 2013
The Internet is certainly a wonderful thing. It has allowed us to stay informed about the political upheavals of countries thousands of miles away, stay connected with friends and family across oceans, take part in the latest viral dance craze, and of course, lets students from around the world obtain a degree by removing barriers like time and place. Because of the availability of resources at our disposal, we can find information on any topic, in any language, from any time, with the tap of a button through the 634 million websites available.
But like all good things, it can be misused. The sheer volume of accessible and free sources at our fingertips has provided for increased confusion and error, giving even greater rise to plagiarism than ever before. Plagiarism is considered the unattributed use of intellectual property protected under U.S. law (you can read more about that here). And while colleges and universities have serious disciplinary action policies regarding plagiarism, the practice can also prevent you from developing key writing skills.
Whether intentional or accidental, plagiarism can be avoided by simply including citations and acknowledging any borrowed content. Here are 5 essential tools to help you avoid plagiarism and ensure your work is original and accurate:
An online plagiarism detector, TurnitIn.com provides an originality report identifying any feedback or information that alludes to non-original work, even if the text has been reworded or reformatted. Typically a paid service, it is accessible for free to enrolled Thomas Edison State College students taking online courses. TurnitIn.com allows you to not only see your slip-ups and clean them up on your own, but the final originality report can also be submitted to your mentor as evidence of your efforts.
Another online tutorial service, Thomas Edison State College students registered in courses can use this tool for free. Live, expert educators are available to provide you writing assistance and personalized feedback on your work. To allow for the live nature of this resource, submit your drafts at least 48 hours in advance to receive your review.
Similar to the previous two tools, WriteCheck.com is another fee-based plagiarism checker, offering an analysis of your content, citations and sources cross-referenced with other works. The service also offers a grammar check to ensure a proper writing style, as well as professional tutoring services to critique your submissions.
More an option than a tool, Thomas Edison State College’s Request for Course Extension form can be obtained through your mentor if you require more time to complete an assignment because of an illness, financial difficulty or military deployment. You can use the 8-week extension time valuably to review and edit your paper on your own by conducting a Google search on select passages.
A resource that provides more how-to’s and explanations than services, Plagiarism.org describes different citation styles and a glossary of terms, while also providing guides on how to cite your resources, paraphrase, use quotes and more. If you are unsure about a source, plagiarism.org can give you a definitive answer.
Whether you are answering a question on a discussion board, or submitting a lengthy, footnoted research paper, you should be proud of what you have written; it is a reflection of you. Using the resources available to you to help critique your work can be an immense confidence booster when that final grade comes in. Ultimately, every writing assignment will help you develop and sharpen the writing skills necessary to lead you on the educational and professional paths of success that you have already begun by becoming a college student.
November 26, 2013
Somewhere along the way, the giving season became a time of discounts, deals and savings. This year, let’s give bigger, better and smarter by giving back. Join us for a new national day of giving deemed #GivingTuesday on December 3rd, and show the world that when we unite together, we can fulfill dreams.
The following post is an excerpt from Thomas Edison State College Foundation’s article, “Meet Kristy Marchese, W. Cary Edwards Foundation Scholarship Recipient:
“The memories you create, good or bad, are the memories that make you the nurse you are and the person you become.”
When you ask a child what they want to be when they grow-up, their answer can range from astronaut to Spiderman. When Kristy Marchese was a child, her answer remained constant – she wanted to be either a teacher or a nurse. Then, at the young age of 14, Kristy tragically lost her mother to cervical cancer. It was at that point in her life that she realized her true calling was nursing.
When her mother passed away, Kristy took on the responsibilities of caring for her two younger sisters. She took on the role of a mother while her father often worked multiple jobs to provide for the family and pay the medical bills. Kristy’s teenage years passed not as one would imagine. Instead of going out with friends and worrying about boys, she spent her time cooking dinners, doing laundry and helping with homework. Kristy took on her mother’s role and lived by a unique motto “What would my mother do?” This motto inspired her to pursue her nursing degree and after graduating from high school, she worked and paid her way through college ultimately earning her BSN from Widener University.
Fresh out of college she applied to nursing positions at Cooper Health. During her first interview she met with the oncology nurse manager for a position in the same unit where her mother had passed away 10 years earlier. Her interview started as any interview would – the nurse manager asked her why she was interested in oncology. Kristy remembers this conversation like none other; she started to explain that her mother passed away from cervical cancer 10 years prior and as a young girl, Kristy was left to care for her two sisters. Before she could say more, her interviewer jumped out of her seat and started to cry. The nurse manager recognized Kristy and remembered her mother. Unbeknownst to Kristy…”
Read the rest of Kristy’s story in Thomas Edison State College Foundation’s original article. If you would like to help students on #GivingTuesday, like Kristy, fulfill their dreams, please donate to the Thomas Edison State College Foundation.
November 08, 2013
Undoubtedly, Thomas Jefferson had many great achievements and a brilliant mind, but when the two came together, the result was none so recognizable and significant as the Declaration of Independence. His words are the backbone for which this great experiment, the United States of America, was founded; “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.”
Consider the words of our country’s foremost document, and by extension, the foundation for our Constitution; the pursuit of happiness is not a privilege or a luxury – it is a RIGHT. Unfortunately, while we all want to be happy, most of us don’t know how to actually pursue it. Enter National Pursuit of Happiness Week, beginning on November 8th through the 14th, a little-known, weeklong observance that reminds us to be a little more introspective. Obviously, the best way to celebrate this week is to examine what is really important in your life and what your life is for. To find your path to happiness, start by asking yourself these 10 questions:
Did you get the answers you wanted? What can you do to change those answers?
Begin with a plan. Write down where you are right now (your beginning) and where you want to be (your end). Fill in with what you need to do to get from your beginning to your end, by using the answers you wished you gave for the questions above as your guide. Happiness is a choice, and you make the decisions. And whenever you are in doubt, look at the paper you just created. Turns out, a blueprint for happiness exists after all.
Tags: tips and advice
November 05, 2013
Are you new to research? Haven't used a research library in 5, 10 or 20 years? Received your first written assignment and unsure where to begin?
Research is not a complicated process. There are many resources, services and online tools available to help students find the research materials – books, articles, journals, databases and more – necessary to begin writing. Librarians can help you track down difficult-to-find items in print or electronic collections and assist with research.
Take the mystery out of conducting research by following this simple, 6-step plan:
For more information on conducting research, watch the New Jersey State Library's pre-recorded webinar "Research Made Simple: Resources and Services of the NJ State Library," here.
October 29, 2013
Transitioning from a teenager to an adult is never easy. Compound the pressures and demands of time, family and jobs, financial resources and an inadequate preparation for the amount of academic work. Perhaps then it doesn’t seem so unbelievable that nearly half of the students who began college at a traditional four-year institution at 18-years-old didn’t graduate. Sound familiar?
Missteps happen. Life intervenes. However, now you are older, wiser, and more experienced in the world. You fully understand the importance of an education, and feel you are ready and motivated to finish the degree you started all those years ago. But, like with any new endeavor, you are anxious. This time, you want to succeed and earn your degree. Today, adult learners like you have more resources and tools available to help you reach your goal that go way beyond online courses and taking classes at night or on weekends. As you begin the road to your degree, consider these five tips to help ensure that you find success:
Pursue a passion. Select an area of study that interests you. What you learn should be your choice, as it is a reflection of you. If you are passionate about what you are learning, your curiosity and fascination will likely give you more drive you to succeed. Learning is not about getting the highest grade or score on an exam. As you progress in your career, no one will ever ask you for a report card. But they will assess your motivation and ambition. The best way to develop these qualities is to love what you do.
Set goals and accomplish them. Envision your goal, finishing your degree, and keep working towards it. Even if it takes one step at a time. “Each day, each class, you’re closer to your goal,” posted Linda Wells on Facebook. “Once you get there, no one can take it away. Do it!” Every step, no matter how small, will eventually take you to where you need to be. “Just begin. Take the first step. Time is your friend, not your enemy,” posted Michael Burns on LinkedIn. “Right now you just need to focus on the beginning, not the end. At a later point in time, when you look up, you will see that you have completed more classes than you have remaining. At that point you will be inspired…. You will know that you will finish.”
Recognize your time commitments to school, work and family. Assess your obligations and realize how you will be able to fit school in. You might do well at a college that understands your commitment to family and career, and offers flexibility offers flexibility for motivated adult learners through programs that do not require traditional classroom attendance. “It first takes determination and desire,” posted Robert Scott Gardner on LinkedIn. “Make a schedule and stick to it!” Also, consider schools that accept a wide variety of transfer credits and those that let you take a break from course work for personal or professional reasons without any academic or financial penalties.
Understand the resources available to you. At this point in your life, you should have realized the type of learner you are. Think about your needs as a busy adult. Do you prefer interaction with other classmates or would you rather work independently? Does the program work around your schedule? What course formats and learning options are available, in addition to a traditional classroom setting? As an adult learner, there are many more course options to choose from that not only fit into your lifestyle, but also your learning style.
Also, remember that you have different needs today than you had when you were a fresh-faced teen who just graduated from high school. You may have earned college credits at another institution or acquired college-level knowledge that can be applied as college transfer credit toward a degree. Will the school you are considering accept previously earned credits from other institutions? How many credits will you have to repeat?
There are a variety of ways to earn college credit that do not require sitting in a classroom or even taking a formal course. If you already possess specialized expertise, you may be able to earn additional credit for demonstrating you possess that college-level knowledge. You may also be able to earn credit for any licenses and certificates, or training programs you completed through your profession. Before you select a school, ask the admissions office what prior learning assessment programs they offer.
Talk to your family. Sit down and discuss with your family why you are pursuing this goal, and why it is important to you. Make sure they realize the commitment you are making and the potential role they can play in helping you. Their encouragement can prove essential as you complete your degree. “Surround yourself with a good support system, “ posted Mark De Luca on Facebook. “So you have others helping you get through the times when you think you [want to] give up!” Discuss with your family what you are learning. Including your family in this facet of your life will help strengthen the support system you have.
And remember, that when you finally do earn that degree, you will have received a lot more than a piece of paper that hangs on a wall. “Keep in mind that when you take risks, go outside your comfort zone,” Aura Rose posted on Facebook. “Wonderful things start to happen – horizons expand [and] the world opens for you.” For Wayne Sos, “Going back to school not only improved my critical thinking and earned me a degree,” he posted on LinkedIn. “It also set an example for my children that focus, commitment, and goals are needed to improve your life.”
There is always time and opportunity to try again. After all, it took Thomas Edison 10,000 tries to come up with a light bulb that worked. “Our greatest weakness lies in giving up,” said Edison. “The most certain way to succeed is always to try just one more time.” And he will always be right.
Featuring stories and information about Thomas Edison State College and going back to college as a busy adult.