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Tech Tips: Work Smarter, Not Harder

Read&Write, & the Read&Write LEARN Course

February 19, 2024

Hopefully we’ve sufficiently created “hype” around Read&Write and you know exactly what this software is, and how much it costs. But for those who may not have heard yet, let us formally introduce you to Read&Write!

Read&Write

Read&Write (also known as R&W) is an application with supports for, you guessed it, reading and writing. …but it’s so much more than that! R&W has features built in that allow students choice in how they interact with their course materials:

  • Don’t want to read that online content? Listen to it!
  • Don’t want to copy important information down by hand? Use the digital highlighters and export those highlights into a new document!
  • Still learning English, or understand information better in another language? Translate the text into another language, and (for most translated languages) listen to the translated text aloud!
  • Need a definition of a word but don’t want to open a new browser tab (because isn’t that a risky step towards distraction)? Use the built in dictionary or picture dictionary.
  • Want to listen to course content while multi-tasking (maybe folding laundry or walking your dog)? Go ahead!

R&W has features that allow you to do all of the above (and more)!

R&W Cost

Free. $0. No cost, no credit card needed!

R&W LEARN Course

Interested in using R&W, but not sure how to make it do all of the magical things we’ve talked about?! Don’t worry, we’ve put together a Read&Write Introduction course in LEARN that is designed to walk you through installing and using R&W.

Think of this “course” more of a tutorial, or a way for us to house information. This course is optional. You are not marked, and it does not impact your grades. Pick and choose which modules you want to go through, and when you want to go through them.

Accessing the R&W LEARN Course

If you are not already registered, you can self-enroll in the Read&Write Introduction Course.

Read&Write Live Demonstration – Today!

February 13, 2024

It’s not too late to register for the live demonstration of Read&Write happening today! Wednesday February 14th from noon to 1pm!

Join us in-person at the Notre Dame Campus in the Connected Classroom (G139) or virtually through Microsoft Teams.

RRC Polytech and Read&Write?

February 8, 2024

Read&Write (also known as R&W) is an application now available to all staff and students at Red River College Polytechnic, and boy, are we excited about to spread the word about this resource!

Who?

R&W is available for free to all staff and students

What?

R&W is an application with supports for reading, comprehension, writing, notetaking, translation, studying, and much more!

Where?

R&W is available for your laptop (Windows and Mac) and web browser (Edge & Chrome)

When?

Interested in a live demo of R&W? Join us for a live demo on Wednesday February 14th Noon-1pm!

  • In-Person at the Notre Dame Campus, in the Connected Classroom (G139)
  • Virtually through Microsoft Teams

Why?

Why are we excited to spread the word about this resource?

  • R&W is free (and for the long-time blog followers, you know how much we love free supports)!
  • R&W is amazing!

There are so many supports, and reasons why R&W is amazing, that we can’t contain them all in this blog post! Think of this post as us trying to generate some “buzz” or some “hype” about R&W, and spread the word about the live demonstration. There will be more information about R&W in the next weeks.

How?

Registration is recommended as there is a limit of 40 people for the in-person session:

Accessibility notice: The primary entrance to this classroom requires stairs, alternate entrance requires going outside. If you have any access needs for this, or require any other accommodations, please reach out to eament@rrc.ca (preferably with a weeks’ notice).

More Information?

Read&Write, RRC Polytech

Digital Sticky Notes

January 25, 2024

Last week we highlighted a great resource from the Academic Success Centre, and previous blog posts, all with supports for task & time management skills.
Time Management Skills (rrc.ca)

This week we’re going to build on those resources with a digital version of an office staple… that’s right, digital sticky notes (or digital post it notes)!

Why Digital Sticky Notes?

What we really love about using digital sticky notes is the fact that they automatically open when you turn on your computer. This can be really helpful if you’re one of the many who find their computer a major source of distraction. Instead of turning your computer on and surfing the web, online shopping, or scrolling through endless social media posts, that sticky note being the first thing you see when you turn your computer on might just convince you to start on your schoolwork first (and take a break later).

Uses for Digital Sticky Notes

While you can put almost anything onto your digital sticky note, here are a few suggestions on how to use them to support your newly found task & time management skills:

  • keep a running to do list
  • remind yourself of the most pressing tasks you need to complete
  • list upcoming assignment due dates or test dates
  • write down an inspirational/motivational quote
  • or a positive affirmation

Resources

“Understanding How You Learn” Workshop

January 18, 2024

Our friends over at the Academic Success Centre (ASC) are offering a four-part, totally online, drop in, no registration required, free, workshop series called Understanding How You Learn… and it starts tomorrow!

While this isn’t specifically technology related, it falls in line with our belief that everybody learns differently. This workshop explores four topics that impact learning in a very significant way, with the aim of understanding and leveraging the influence they have on learning.

Workshop Topics:

  1. The Brain and Learning – Friday January 19th, 12:15-12:45pm
    How does the brain learn? What can you do to maximize your brain’s learning potential?
  2. Critical Thinking and Learning – Friday January 26th 12:15-12:45pm
    What is critical thinking? Why do we talk about it so much?
  3. Stress and Learning – Friday February 2nd 12:15-12:45pm
    How does stress impact your ability to learn? What can you do about it?
  4. Procrastination and Learning – Friday February 9th 12:15-12:45pm
    Why do we all procrastinate so much? How can we control it?

For more information on the above topics please check out the ASC’s webpage: Understanding How You Learn Workshop Series

How to Attend?:

No registration is required for this event! Simply use this link to log on to the workshop!

Questions?

email: tutoring@rrc.ca

Time Management Skills

January 11, 2024

Let’s do a quick check-in after the first week of classes – how are things going? Are you finding it difficult to stay on top of all of your assignments, find time to study, read your textbook, and, generally keep up with your studies… not to mention having a social life, working, or finding time for hobbies.

Yeah, we hear you.

Self-Directed LEARN Tutorial

The Academic Success Centre at the College has developed a self-directed LEARN tutorial that is designed to help you manage your time, make healthy choices, and prioritize your tasks. This LEARN tutorial will specifically help you to:

  • Make time to be emotionally healthy by recreating your routine, preparing a workspace, and planning for leisure time
  • Make time to be physically healthy by implementing good eating, sleeping, and exercising habits
  • Establish a routine by avoiding procrastination and distractions, prioritizing tasks, and planning ahead
  • Stay organized by using a calendar to keep track of course requirements and personal events

Register for the self-directed Time Management Skills LEARN Tutorial

Previous Blog Posts

For more resources on task & time management, check out these past blog posts:

Other Supports?

Now, if this post and learning Time Management Skills is not the type of Tech Tips you were looking for, here’s two quick reminders that you can:

  1. Browse through past Tech Tips: Work Smarter, Not Harder blog posts
  2. Sign up for the “Accessibility Tech Tips” newsletter to receive email notifications when new blog posts are added – Newsletter Subscriptions : RRC Polytech

Welcome 2024!

January 4, 2024

Welcome 2024, and welcome to new and returning students! Hopefully you had a refreshing holiday season. 🙂

To start the year we wanted to do another (yes, another) post to summarize the different supports we’ve highlighted. Maybe your New Years Resolution is to be more organized, read more, be more focused, or maybe just generally, get better grades. …and that my friends, is why we’re doing another summary style post!

This time however, we’re formatting things a little differently! What’s the application, where is it available, what does it support, and blog posts for more information, all presented in a neat little table!

Don’t like information presented in a table?
Check out our last post of 2023 for a different style of a summary post! Tech Tips Blog Post: 2023 Wrap-Up

What’s the application, and how does it help?

ApplicationSupportsTech Tips Blog Posts
Kurzweil 3000
Available for: Windows, Mac & web extensions (Chrome, Edge)
Reading
Writing
Notetaking
Thought organization
Studying
Translation
Kurzweil 3000

Reading Week – Reading Supports

Graphic Organizers in Kurzweil 3000 

Graphic Organizers + Voice Dictation  
Immersive Reader
Built into: Microsoft 365 products (Word, OneNote, Outlook, Teams, Edge)
Reading
Focus
Comprehension
Translation
Immersive Reader 
Edge (Web Browser)
Available for: Windows, Mac, Android & iOS
Reading
Focus
Comprehension
Translation
Notetaking
PDF Files in Edge

Collections in Edge
OneNote
Available on: Windows, Mac & Online
Notetaking
Writing
Organization
Studying
OneNote

Top 8 Tips for OneNote 
Voice Dictation
Built into: Microsoft 365 products (Word, OneNote, Outlook)
Writing
Thought Transferring
Voice Dictation

Graphic Organizers + Voice Dictation 

Voice Commands for Editing and Formatting in Office 365
Editor
Built into: Microsoft 365 products (Word, OneNote, Outlook, Edge)
Edits for: spelling, grammar, clarity, conciseness, formality & vocabularyMicrosoft’s Editor
RefWorks
Web based application & integrated into Microsoft Word
Research
Citation
Organization
Bibliography creation
RefWorks
BrightSpace Pulse
Mobile app available for: Android & iOS
Task & Time Management
Organization
Brightspace Pulse
Microsoft To-Do
Available on: Windows & Mac
Task & Time Management
Organization
Microsoft To Do
Speaker Coach
Built into: Microsoft 365 – PowerPoint
Helps develop presentation skills: pace, pitch, use of filler words, informal speech/profanity, euphemisms, etc… Speaker Coach
Microsoft Word
Available on: Windows, Mac & Online
Focus
Organization
Translation
Reading
Writing
Fun Features of Microsoft Word (Part 1)

Fun Features of Microsoft Word (Part 2) 

Fun Features of Microsoft Word (Part 3)

Voice Dictation

Immersive Reader 
Table listing different applications and the supports available within them. The table has three rows, the first names the application and lists where it is available, the second lists the supports that application provides, and the third column has links to previous blog posts on that application.

Other (awesome) blog posts not listed above

In-Person IT Support at NDC and EDC

From January 2nd to 15th, there will be pop-up service desks at both the NDC (in DM18) and EDC (at the Lower Learning Commons Service Desk) campuses.

The pop-up service desks will assist Students, Faculty and Staff with their IT related issues such as: accessing Wi-Fi, setting up MFA and other account or IT issues. 

All traditional channels for requesting support will remain operational alongside the pop-up service desk:

Read&Write Live Demonstration!

January 3, 2024

Read&Write (also known as R&W) is a new, and free, application available to all staff and students at Red River College Polytechnic! Features in the application support learners with reading, comprehension, writing, studying, notetaking, translation, and more! To help promote this new application, we’re holding a live demonstration!

Event Details

Wednesday February 14th 2023, noon-1pm
Connected Classroom (G139)
Notre Dame Campus

Or attend virtually through Microsoft Teams!

Registration

Registration is recommended as there is a limit of 40 people for the in-person session:

Accessibility notice: The primary entrance to this classroom requires stairs, alternate entrance requires going outside. If you have any access needs for this, or require any other accommodations, please reach out to eament@rrc.ca (preferably with a weeks’ notice).

2023 Wrap-Up

December 21, 2023

…and just like that, 2023 is almost over! But what a year it’s been! Tech Tips: Work Smarter, Not Harder celebrated its first birthday (there was no cake), we had snowfall warnings in April that were no joke, and, well I’m sure you all can fill in another memory of 2023.

As we move into the Holiday season, we thought we’d “wrap” things up by outlining the different types of supports we’ve identified, and the tech resources highlighted for those supports. Links to previous blog posts are included in each section, and you may even find a new resource (or 2)!

Reading

So far on the blog we’ve looked at 2 main supports for Reading – Immersive Reader (a part of Microsoft Office) and Kurzweil 3000 (text-to-speech software). While this may not seem like a lot of options, both of these supports are amazing resources and are free to use for College students (and staff).

…and if you’re the type that wants to compare and contrast the two supports to one another, we’ve got you covered!

Bonus Support – LEARN Self-Directed Tutorial: Reading

Notetaking

Now when we say “notetaking” we don’t just mean during an in-person live lecture, and these notetaking supports have your back for both in-person, online, and notetaking while reading!

  • Tech Tips Blog Post: OneNote – A digital 3-ring binder allowing you to take notes, edit your notes, use Immersive Reader to listen to your notes, add in images and visual content, and more, across all of your courses, throughout your program.
    • Tech Tips Blog Post: Top 8 Tips for OneNote – quick tips in OneNote to help you convert text into a bullet or numbered list, create a table, move rows of information up or down in a table, link information from one page to another, and create shortcuts.
  • Tech Tips Blog Post: PDF Files in Edge (rrc.ca) – How to use Edge to read and take notes on PDFs.
  • Tech Tips Blog Post: Voice Dictation – Yes, we sure did mean to include voice dictation in the section on notetaking…why?… Well, voice dictation may help you write your notes (outside of class) or rewrite notes much faster than handwriting or typing! Plus, the more ways you interact with the same information, the stronger connections you’ll make in your mind to recall that information.

Writing Supports

Writing a paper is made up of many steps, and with each step, there is a technology resource available to support you!

Research

Organize your thoughts

Write

Refine/edit

References

  • Tech Tips Blog Post: RefWorks – Simplifies the process of research, collaboration, data organization, and writing by providing an easy-to-use-tool for citation, bibliography, and reference management.

Still looking for more help with Academic Writing and Citation? Check out the supports our friends over at the Academic Success Centre have!

Organization

Thought organization, time organization, task organization… *phew* Let’s just look at the supports we’ve highlighted!

Other

Tech resources that are amazing, but didn’t fit nicely into the categories above 😛

Wishing you and your loved ones a relaxing and memorable Holiday season, from all of us here at the Tech Tips: Work Smarter, Not Harder team!

Fun Features of Microsoft Word – Part 3!

December 7, 2023

We’re at it again, round three of Fun Features of Microsoft Word! But first, we have to take a moment and say, Word is great, there are so many features and modes, ribbons, toolbars and sections, and fun buttons to click on… but, at the same time having all of those different settings may also make it difficult to navigate Word or to find a particular setting. In walks in Fun Feature #8…

Fun Feature #8 – Quick Access Toolbar

One workaround for all of the different modes, ribbons, toolbars, sections, buttons, etc… would be to customize your Quick Access Toolbar with the most common features you use. This way you don’t have to navigate through the different ribbons and toolbars to find what you are looking for, the Quick Access Toolbar is always right at the top of Word!
LinkedIn Learning: Customize the Quick Access Toolbar

Fun Feature #9 – Styles in Word (& How to Create your Own)

Word comes with predefined “Styles” that you can use to format your document. By applying one of the predefined styles, you can automatically adjust text in your document to have consistent font, font size, font colors, and even spacing. The “heading” styles also create a means of navigating through your document (and don’t worry if you’re not sure what we’re talking about here, it may just be explained in an upcoming fun feature).

Now maybe you have a very particular font format you need to use for papers submitted to your instructors that doesn’t match any of the predefined styles. Guess what?… You can either modify an existing style to match what you need, or create a brand new style with the formatting required! Use the “Modify” option to essentially “save” the style to be used in future documents!
Microsoft Support: Customize or create new styles

Fun Feature #10 – Navigation Pane

Did you use headings in your document?! Well, from an accessibility perspective, Thank you! Headings create a means of navigating through a document with a screen reader, but you can also manually navigate through a document created with headings! So with the use of headings, you are creating a means of quickly finding different sections of information in your document! Wa-hoo!
Microsoft Support: Use the Navigation pane in Word

Fun Feature #11 – Emailing a Word Document (or PDF)

If you often need to email a Word document you worked on, there is a very quick (single click) way to do it! Plus, you can send the document as a Word doc or a PDF file! All you need to do is add “Email” and “Email as PDF attachment” to your quick access toolbar (Fun Feature #8 above)!
LinkedIn Learning: Email Word or PDF Docs

Reminder:

As a Red River College Polytechnic student, you have access to the latest version of Office 365, including Word, and to LinkedIn learning!

Previous Fun Features of Microsoft Word Blog Posts:

RRC Polytech campuses are located on the lands of Anishinaabe, Ininiwak, Anishininew, Dakota, and Dené, and the National Homeland of the Red River Métis.

We recognize and honour Treaty 3 Territory Shoal Lake 40 First Nation, the source of Winnipeg’s clean drinking water. In addition, we acknowledge Treaty Territories which provide us with access to electricity we use in both our personal and professional lives.

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