Student resources

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1 Tech tips: Helpful software

The following are some applications and tools that you might find useful.

1.1 Dropbox

File backup and synchronization program. You can instal Dropbox on your various computers (and smartphones and iPad) to synchronize the same files across multiple devices. This allows you to work on or view the same file on different computers or devices, without having to transfer files yourself. The files are also backed up on the Dropbox server, which you can access online, in case your computer crashes or you need to remotely access a file. You can sign up for the free version, which gives you 2GB of free space.

Use my referral code below to sign up for a Dropbox account, and get a bonus 500 MB: db.tt/d659tDi OR db.tt/ZIhyqiQ7 (enter "http://" plus one of these "DB.TT" URLs in your browser).

1.2 Prezi

A web-based presentation application, and a cooler, more interactive alternative to PPT. Go to www.prezi.com

1.3 Firefox

Free, fast, customizable web browser; functionality can be enhanced with many add-ons. www.getfirefox.com

1.4 Google Chrome

Free, fast web browser. www.google.com/chrome

1.5 LibreOffice

Free word processor / office software (based on the same code as IBM Lotus and the earlier OpenOffice). For formatting and ease of use, this is superior to MS Office. www.libreoffice.org

1.6 PDF Creator

Free program for creating PDF files; works like a virtual printer on your PC. http://sourceforge.net/projects/pdfcreator


2 Websites

  1. www.dictionary.com: Probably the best online dictionary, as it aggregates information from other online dictionaries; linked to thesaurus.com
  2. www.thesaurus.com: Synonym and antonym dictionary, which also aggregates information from other dictionaries
  3. www.urbandictionary.com: Dictionary for slang and some idioms (including those that would be too informal or inappropriate for academic contexts)
  4. owl.english.purdue.edu: Online Writer's Lab at Purdue University: Online handouts on all aspects of writing, including grammar, mechanics, ESL issues, MLA, and APA
  5. www.kentlee7com: My website has various handouts on writing and teaching; go to ‘Writing' for various handouts on writing.
  6. OCW sites: Many universities host online courseware sites, especially in North America, which can be found via simple Google searches; see also www.ocwconsortium.org and ocw.korea.ac.kr.
  7. TED.com: Online speeches by popular speakers from academia, business, and other fields; often, transcripts and subtitles are available, with the option of downloading subtitled videos.
  8. www.uiowa.edu/~acadtech/phonetics: Iowa phonetics site - flash videos showing how English sounds are pronounced in the mouth.


3 Source citation systems

  1. Virginia Tech Library guide
  2. NCSU Library guide
  3. Queen's Univ. Library guide
  4. Univ. Queensland Library guide


4 Reference books

  1. Cowan, Ron. (2008). The Teacher's Grammar of English. Cambridge Univ. Press. [A linguistically informed grammar book, mainly for ESL teachers; strangely organized, but good contents.]
  2. Lindstromberg, Seth. (2010). English Prepositions Explained. John Benjamins Pub. [This explains the core meaning and other meanings of prepositions; also applicable to phrasal verbs.]
  3. Oxford Collocations Dictionary. (2009). Oxford Univ. Press.
  4. Oxford Phrasal Verbs Dictionary. (2006). Oxford Univ. Press. [This has an appendix that explains the meanings or uses of verb particles like up, on, over, etc.]
  5. Swales, John M. & Feak, Christine B. (2004). Academic Writing for Graduate Students. Univ. Michigan Press. [The presentation seems a bit dry or boring, but it has good information on advanced academic writing.]