Category Archives: Website

What have you been pinning lately?

Pinterest is one of the newest social media websites that growing in popularity at a rapid rate. This website allows users to explore different things across the internet that interest them. Choose between categories and browse through the pins, and repin those that you want to keep on your personal boards.

One of the categories that you may not be familiar with on Pinterest is Technology. Next time you’re logged in, make sure to check out this category for some of the newest gadgets, infographics, newest apps, and other neat things trending in the technology world!

Maintaing your Machine

It’s the 3rd week of National Cyber Security Awareness Month and this week, we are talking about some ways to keep your machine clean! It’s important to give our computers the TLC and maintenance they need to keep running and being dependable for what we rely on them for!

Beware of viruses and spyware

  • Install current anti-virus and firewall protection to protect against viruses and spyware.
  • Visit UIS’ webstore for free programs for faculty, staff, and students!
  • Remove unnecessary and temporary files to make your machine faster-this can be done easily with a disk cleanup. Run a disk cleanup once a week to remove these files.

Avoiding Spam

  • To reduce the amount of spam you receive, you can edit your settings of your mail program, report spam so your email service will recognize it in the future, and remove your email address from appearing on public websites, such as your social networking profiles.
  • Avoid emails that seek personal information.  They may appear in the form of emails asking you to click a link or share some information.
  • Remember to never share or disclose personal information, ensure that a website is secure, and pay attention to the URL.

File Sharing

  • File sharing is dangerous and can put your computer at a great risk. Do not participate in using file sharing programs because doing so can put you at risk for unintentionally distributing personal information, viruses, and more.

If you have any questions or simply want to learn more about keeping your computer clean, feel free to contact us, or check out

Tips for browsing the web that everyone should know!

It’s the 2nd week of National Cyber Security Awareness Month and this week, we are talking about some basic guidelines for using the internet that you will be happy you knew!

Back Up your Files

  • First, make copies of all files on your computer. This can be done on your computer’s backup software program. After you have backed up all the files, they need to be stored on a device. You can use an external hard drive, flash drive, CD, or even a secure online backup service.
  • Try to back up your files once a week.

Be Smart about Wi-Fi

  • Remember is that when you access wi-fi in public places like coffee shops or restaurants, be careful what you post. It is recommended that you do not use passwords, access important accounts, or share any personal information over the web. Since the network is not secure, others may have access to information you are putting out there.
  • Make sure when you connect to a wireless network, you know what it is. Some networks are set up by criminals seeking to steal the information of those that automatically connect to their network. Make sure that when you are connected to wi-fi, you know the network you are connected to!

Social Media

  • Remember when something is posted online, it remains there.
  • Use privacy settings to ensure your profile is not visible to the public, and make sure it is clear of things you do not want to share with others.
  • Be thoughtful about what you choose to post online-when you put yourself out there, you never know who may be looking!
  • Keep your personal information personal! Sharing too much information could lead to identity theft, stalking, or even property theft.

If you have any questions or simply want to learn more about staying safe online, feel free to contact us, or check out

It’s National Cyber Security Awareness Month!

It’s National Cyber Security Awareness month, and we will be blogging all month tips and advice for you to stay safe on your computers, mobile devices, and on the internet!

Technological devices and the internet play an integral role in all aspects of our lives today-our jobs, personal lives, and social lives. With all the advances that are being made on a daily basis, there are risks that need to be considered. This week, we are focusing on protecting what matters to you!


Passwords protect just about everything we do on our computers and online. When choosing your password, there are a few things you should remember to ensure it is protecting other from accessing your information:

  1. Make sure it has at least eight characters
  2. Mix upper and lowercase letters
  3. Mix numbers and symbols
  4. Change your password several times a year
  5. Never share your password with others
  6. Have a different password for each online account
  7. Make sure your password is unique and cannot be easily guessed

Online Shopping

Shopping online is a great convenience and many people enjoy making purchases from the comfort of their couch rather than visiting the actual store. Prior to online shopping, make sure to consider:

  • Is your computer safe and secure? Make sure your machine is clean to make sure it is not infected with viruses or spyware that may be waiting for you to enter your personal information so it can snatch it right up.
  • Be smart about where you shop-make sure you make your purchase from a site with a padlock on your web browser’s address bar or a URL address that begins with shttp or https.  These indicate the purchase is encrypted or secured. Http:// is not secure.
  • Only use a secure network to shop online. This means that you should not be purchasing items on a wifi network that is insecure (think coffee shops, restaurants, other public places with wifi).
  • Always keep track of the details of your online purchases including confirmation numbers, dates, etc. and always check your credit report to make sure there are no unauthorized purchases.

If you have any questions or simply want to learn more about protecting your information online, feel free to contact us, or check out

Offline Web Pages

We use the internet so often that sometimes when there’s a glitch, it can be a little difficult to cope. (Trust me; I know…my internet has now been working at my home for the past two weeks!).

I remembered an app I had talked about before because of its ability to make situations like this just a little more bearable. I downloaded one of these and it really helped me out so much during this situation, so I thought it would be worthwhile to share in the event that your internet goes out unexpectedly and you do not feel up to spending hours on end at Starbucks.

Here are a few options for offline reading!

This app (formerly known as Read It Later) is free and simple to use. Pages that are saved for offline viewing are all tied to the same account so you can access them from any of your linked devices!

Another free option to try out! Use the built in browser and save pages offline with the icon. Save entire pages including the formatting and images!

This is one of the most notable and dependable apps in this area, and if you plan on doing a lot of offline reading, this is your app! Use the built in button within the app’s browser to save pages for offline viewing at any time.

Keep in mind, these apps are great for situations other than losing internet connection unexpectedly—think traveling on the airplane, while driving, etc.! Now you can be so much more productive in your “internet-down” time!

Tools to use to engage your students!

This week, we are doing exactly what we love to do on this blog-sharing some new great interactive resources we’ve found on the web! These free tools are great to use in your classrooms when school starts this fall, and great to share with students as resources that can be utilized outside of the classroom (think Flipped Classroom like we blogged about a few weeks ago!).

NBC Learn

Like Snag Films or TED, NBC Learn is a great resource offering several educational videos to play in class or share with your students. From series focusing on the changing climate of our world to the science of football, there are several series of high quality of videos and lesson plans available for you to share with your class.

Discovery Education

This is an all-around great resource for everyone in education. Administrators, teachers, students and parents all have tools and resources targeted towards them. View lesson plans and check out already created curriculums, puzzles, and resources organized by grade level.


If you incorporate politics into your educational curriculum, this is the tool for you! C-SPAN Video Library is a place for anyone to access a huge archive of videos from various events. Browse through various categories including healthcare, debates, global climate change, and more. This is a great way to bring in the outside world into your classroom and talk about real issues with your students!


Watch and Learn with!

There are so many great free web-based resources to use in the higher education classroom, but sometimes it can be a little overwhelming to decide where to begin. If you know what subject you are looking for, (for example, foreign language or philosophy) then we’ve found a great tool to find some of the best video resources available for free!

With, you can simply log on, search by subject and then browse for all the great resources offered! High quality, educational videos will then appear for you to browse through and select to share with your students in the classroom or for them to view at home!

The tool to stimulate discussion on YouTube!

This week’s new tool is one that is integrated with YouTube.  We’ve blogged in the past about how valuable YouTube is as a tool in higher education, and this tool makes it even more valuable!

YouTube allows users to communicate about videos through short comments that appear on a feed below a video. While this is a good way to share opinions and read the comments others have about the video, it is a limited feature. When it comes to educational videos, users may want to share more than simply short comments. They may have specific questions and desire thorough answers that cannot be covered in a short comment. This is where our new tool, Grockit Answers, comes in!

Simply search for a YouTube video and then post a question you have at any point in the video. When others watch the video, your question will appear at the same point in the video that you entered it. Others can then answer your question!

When videos are confusing or you could use additional clarification on the material presented, you can simply enter your question for others to answer. This stimulates discussion, thinking, and collaborating with others in an online environment. Be sure to share this tool with your students! It is a great addition to the online learning environment of YouTube.

The Best Websites from A to Z!

One thing we love to do on this blog is share with you some of the best free web-based tools and websites we come across. From file management to tools to express creativity, we’ve covered a lot of areas. Today, we are sharing with you’s list of 119 of the best websites. This list covers everything from news and music to files and documents and websites for when you are feeling a little bored! We’re sharing five of our favorites they found, but check out the entire list of all 119 websites here!


Pixenate is a simply and accessible photo editor, and the best part is that it’s free! Simply upload your photograph and make edits and fun additions to your picture. When you are finished, save it or upload it to Flickr!

Join Me

Join.Me is a free way to host online meetings, and the best part is how simple it is! Simply receive a code and share it with your attendees. Use free internet calling, a chat feature, give participants control of your screen, share files, and more! No downloads and no registration-it’s so simple!


Diigo is the ultimate information management tool. Collect bookmarks, highlighted notes, screenshots, documents, audio, and much more! Through Diigo, add highlights and sticky notes to documents to annotate. Everything that is collected is stored in the cloud, and can be easily accessed from anywhere.


If you have some time to waste or are just looking for a laugh, check out this site! Deemed as one of the best sites to cure boredom, you will stay busy reading tons of hilarious articles.

Have you been introduced to “Glogging”?

We love discovering free, new web-based tools that are interactive and can easily be used in higher education. Today, we have found exactly that for you! We are loving Glogster, a free tool that allows users to create interactive “posters”. But these aren’t just posters-they are glogs. A glog is essentially a web-based poster that includes text, images, graphics, videos, audio, links, and more. Users can create their posters and then share them through social media tools like Facebook or Twitter, or even check out the glogs created by other users in the Glogster community.

Glogster is a great way to encourage your students to express their creativity and think outside of the box for an upcoming project. By using various resources such as YouTube videos, links from other informational websites, images, and audio clips, creating a glog is an exciting multimedia project. Because Glogster is free and web-based, it can be accessed from anywhere with internet service-simply log in and create a new glog or access existing glogs. The ease and accessibility makes it a great tool for the busy college student.

If you are interested in using Glogster in your classroom, or would like to learn more about it, feel free to contact us! We would love to introduce you to “Glogging”!


“Tweeting”, “Posting”, and now… “Pinning”

If you are on top of social media and new tools, then Pinterest is no news to you. But, if you are a stranger to this new tool that recently gained significant popularity, then check out this post to see what it’s all about!

Pinterest is essentially an online pin board; a place where users can share pictures, videos, and links to websites they have found online. It is a great way to visually share information via the internet. Categories range from food to technology, and everything in between. Users are able to both browse through the pin boards of other users, and create their own. They can add their own original pins, re-pin things they like from other users, make comments or like pins, and even follow the pin boards that interest them the most! Pinterest is a great location to learn, share, and engage in new and exciting things that interest you!

So how can Pinterest be used in higher education? Pinterest creates a stimulating and exciting environment to deliver new information to users. Try creating a Pinterest for your class and include images, links to useful resources, videos, and other information that your students can browse through! Encourage them to make comments and even create their own pin boards for class so everyone is able to collaborate and share together.

Pinterest is a simple, cost-free, and new (and exciting!) way to share and consume information from the internet. Be sure to check it out and try to use it in your class!

Add some pizzazz to your lectures!

Ahh yes, February. The days are short, the weather is dreary, and the only thing that may be on the minds of your students is the fact that there is only one month until spring break. It’s that time of the semester where you may find yourself going above and beyond in an effort to stimulate your students.  We have put together a list of things you can do to add a little pizzazz to your lectures and keep your students motivated and focused!

  • If you are tired of using PowerPoint as your go-to presentation tool, check out Prezi. This free web-based tool will put a unique twist on your presentations and still allow you to add images, videos, and more!
  • To get students more involved in your lecture and keep them focused, try TurningPoint! Each student has their own clicker and can directly respond to questions and you will be provided with instant feedback!
  • Check out for speeches across the world on any subject you could imagine-a TED video could be a great addition to your lecture! If you like the idea of using educational videos to enhance your lectures, check out Snag Films, Academic Earth, or YouTube EDU for some more great videos.
  • If you like to walk around your classroom during lectures (or like to roam around making sure students aren’t spending the hour browsing Facebook) try out Engage. This tool is an extension of your computer and lets you navigate whatever is on the screen from anywhere in the classroom!



The world of Social Media in Higher Education

It seems everywhere you turn today there is some new social media tool that is instantly becoming viral all over the internet. As soon as you give in and create an account and learn how to use one thing-the next thing has already taken over. Here is a breakdown of some of the newest social media tools, and how they can be integrated into education to keep you and your students in sync with the evolution of technology!



If you are an avid user of Twitter, Timely is for you. It boasts that users get the most out of their tweets when they integrate their use with Timely. All you do is add your Tweet to Timely, and Timely will publish the Tweet so your Twitter followers will read it when it is anticipated to have the most impact and get you more followers, retweets and more. Seems like magic, but it is able to do this through analyzing your past Tweets and examining the patterns that have contributed to making some more popular than others. Amazing!


Connect your Google, Facebook and Twitter accounts to Summify, and you will get everything you want to see the most in one place. Essentially what Summify does is delivers the top stories from these other resources and delivers them to you so you can view what is most important, and skip having to weed through the rest. It does this by looking at both your personal and global social networks and selecting the news that has been shared, re-tweeted, or liked by others the most!


Pinterest is essentially a virtual “pin board” that allows users to share images that link to websites of really anything on the internet. Categories range in everything from recipes and DIY home décor to sports, education, and technology! Pinterest is a great way to explore your interests and get creative new ideas in tons of topics. Particularly in higher education, pinterest is a great way for students to explore new information, news, and tools in their particular areas of interest!

Facebook and Twitter

I have no doubt these tools sound unfamiliar to you, however, recent polls show they have continuously increased in use since 2008 and are becoming very popular in education. Tweet your students news stories relating to your class, or create a Facebook for your class to gather as a central location to share and retrieve information.

Tips for you:

One helpful tip to make the most of using social media tools in your classroom is to mix up the information you are sharing-tweet links to current articles on material-related research, events, and share images and videos with your students to keep them connected to your classroom in a variety of ways. Make it an interactive experience, and you will best engage your students!

Stay on top of these tools because not only can the be useful (and fun!) for you and your students, but they are becoming the way the world communicates.

Lectures from the world’s top scholars delivered directly to you!

Ever wonder what happens in a business class at Harvard or how physics is demonstrated at MIT? If you are someone with a craving for knowledge-or just curious of how lectures are at some of the world’s top academic institutions, check out Academic Earth.

Search by subject, university, or even by specific professors and then simply select your lecture, sit back, and learn! A great feature of Academic Earth is the playlists, which are essentially series of lectures presented on specific topics. Learn about all aspects of the financial crisis or even dive into the human psyche and learn how to live “a good life”. This site gives all individuals the opportunity to hear about topics that interest them the most from the individuals who know them the best.

Share this great resource with your students, and they may find it very helpful in the future! Whether they are just interested in learning about certain topics or need clarification on a specific subject area, Academic Earth brings the knowledge from some of the world’s top scholars directly to their computer screen.

A new tool to try-Turnitin

As educators at the university, I think it goes without saying you all have lots on your plates-whether it be juggling a number of classes, your career, or completing research and getting published, things can get a tad bit busy during the semester. Today, we are blogging about a tool offered here at UIS, Turnitin.

Turnitin is a program through which students turn in their assignments, and then these assignments are checked for plagiarism and originality through the comparison of online resources, other papers, and other materials students may utilize as references. An Originality Report is then presented to you outlining what parts of the report were taken from other sources, allowing instructors to compare the originality of the paper.

Turnitin can be just as beneficial to your students as it is to you as an educator. Aside from checking for originality and plagiarism, Turnitin gives students the opportunity to collaborate with their peers and read, review, and evaluate other student’s work while sharing their own work. There is also an anonymity feature to keep the work of all students anonymous. Additionally, Turnitn offers instructors tools for grading and evaluating students’ work, and a course management system.

Being the beginning of the semester, this is a great tool for you to begin utilizing to make your work load perhaps a little lighter when it comes time for students to begin turning in papers and other assignments. If you would like to learn more about using Turnitin, feel free to contact us and we can provide you with assistance and additional resources!