Category Archives: Tips from ed2go Instructors

“Is a Stand-Alone Blog a Better Choice for Me?”


“Is a Stand-Alone Blog a Better Choice for Me?”

By ed2go Instructor  Linda Aksomitis.

One of my students in Introduction to Internet Writing Markets asked this question recently. Here’s how I responded:

Blogging is a big topic, isn’t it? The main difference between a hosted blog and a stand-alone blog is whether you control what you do completely or whether someone else does . . . although the control may be in varying degrees depending on whether the service is free or at a cost.

Let’s compare hosted and stand-alone blogs to renting or buying a house.

Renting a house is like having a hosted blog (from Blogger, WordPress, or another blog service). When you rent, someone else takes care of the technology and sets the rules about what you can do.

Having a stand-alone blog is like buying a house. You own it and have to fix it when it breaks, although if you have a good webhost you may be able to get help from technical support. The only restrictions you have are what’s legal or illegal in the country you live in.

With a hosted blog, you just sign up, decide what you want your blog to look like, and start posting. With a stand-alone blog, you buy a domain name and space from a webhost. Then you install the blogging platform, such as WordPress, on your site. It’s more complicated, but your reward is that you’re in charge.

Quiz: What Skills Do You Need to Be an Effective Team Player?


Quiz: What Skills Do You Need to Be an Effective Team Player?

Excerpt From Building Teams That Work Course by ed2go Instructor Vivian Harte

How well suited are you to team membership? This quiz from Building Teams That Work can give you some insight into your abilities and motivations. Don’t think about any of the statements for a long time. Just take them one at a time, and answer as honestly as possible.

Give one of three answers: 1) agree, 2) neither agree nor disagree, or 3) disagree.

1.Whenever I face a challenge, I want to solve it myself

2. I generally want to control what I’m responsible for.

3. I haven’t spent much time thinking about my strengths and weaknesses.

4. I have a hard time admitting mistakes I make.

5. It annoys me when other people do better on a task than I do. Read more

jQuery for Absolute Beginners by ed2go Instructor Alan Simpson


jQuery for Absolute Beginners by ed2go instructor Alan Simpson

Okay, so what is jQuery?

jQuery is an immensely popular “write less, do more” library of JavaScript code for Web developers. We use it in conjunction with HTML and CSS in Web development, primarily to add more interactivity or animation to a page.

If you’re familiar with CSS and HTML but are struggling with jQuery, I feel your pain. It can be difficult to wrap your head around it when you only read bits and pieces about it while doing Web searches.

This is the article you want to read. I’ll talk about the absolute basics—the things that everyone else assumes you already know!

Accessing the Library

Unlike JavaScript code, which all Web browsers can execute on their own, jQuery is a library of prewritten code that’s not built into the Web browser. You can only use jQuery in pages that have access to the jQuery library.

One way to provide that access is to download the library yourself and link the page to your copy of the library. But these days, most developers are using CDN (Content Delivery Networks) to host the library. It simplifies things and generally provides better performance.

To link to a jQuery library on a CDN, you put tags like these between the <head> and </head> tags of the page that needs access to the library:

<script src=”” >


That links to version 1.10.2 on Google’s CDN. You’ll find several versions of jQuery at any CDN. Typically, you want to link to the latest one. But if your pages need to support Internet Explorer Versions 6, 7, and 8, be aware that the 2.x versions don’t support those older Internet Explorer versions. Only the 1.x library versions support older Internet Explorer browsers.

Notice that inside the script tag, the URL after src= starts with http:. In other examples, you may not see that in front of the URL. When the page is being served by a Web server from an actual site or a local server on your development machine, then it’s okay to omit the http. But if you’re testing and developing by opening files directly, make sure you use the http: address. Otherwise, jQuery won’t work or it’ll be painfully slow. Read more

Taking the Mystery Out of LinkedIn by ed2go Instructor Ron Nash

ed2go Introduction to LinkedIn Career Networking

Taking the Mystery Out of LinkedIn by ed2go Instructor Ron Nash

You’ve probably heard about how great LinkedIn is, and you’ve likely gotten some invitations from friends and colleagues to connect. But if you’re like a lot of people out there, you don’t really get why you should be using it. What’s in it for you?

Well, I’m happy to explain. If you’re serious about your career or job search, you’ll want to learn how to leverage LinkedIn.

Why LinkedIn?

I was an early adapter to LinkedIn, and I’ve benefited from it for more than a decade. There are too many uses for me to state in this article, but here are a few ways LinkedIn can help you:

  • Get a job offer before you graduate
  • Change careers
  • Transition back into the workplace
  • Find mentors in your industry
  • Find a job or an internship while in school
  • Generate business opportunities
  • Build new relationships with potential employers
  • Increase your face-to-face networking effectiveness
  • Research people and companies
  • Connect with business associates and colleagues
  • Maintain connections with your past classmates and alumni

If I were a student or a professional, I’d create a LinkedIn network in my desired industry that consisted of:

  • Decision makers
  • Industry thought leaders
  • Industry-specific recruiters
  • Industry peers
  • LinkedIn industry-specific groups

This would give me access to industry professionals within three degrees of myself at all times. In other words, I could connect with people who are connected to people who are connected to people I’m connected to! Wait. What?

Three degrees of separation. And this means that if I ever needed anything—including a new job—I’d have the resources available within my network.

Here’s a rule to keep in mind: Reciprocation is part of networking. Friends help friends!


Learning to Use LinkedIn Effectively

It’s not difficult to use LinkedIn. If it were difficult, it wouldn’t be one of the most successful business networking sites on the Web. Millions of people around the globe are using it, and millions of people are benefiting from it.

I’m here to give you some tips for using it effectively. This is simple to do—it just takes time and commitment. The good thing is that we’re all lifelong learners. You already know that the more time you put in, the more efficient you become.

So let’s look at a few quick tips for how to use LinkedIn:

  • Create a LinkedIn Profile. LinkedIn basic accounts are free!
  • Connect with everyone in your class or alumni. This will help build your network quickly with people you have something in common with.
  • Connect with all of your friends. Adding as many people as you can to your network will increase access to the vast database of more than 240 million professionals.
  • Join a LinkedIn Group. A LinkedIn group is an industry-specific community that anyone can join or start.
  • Find an industry-specific headhunter. There are many recruiters using LinkedIn who are looking for talent every day.
  • Use LinkedIn Jobs. LinkedIn is a significant job aggregator. And many of the postings you’ll find on LinkedIn you won’t find anywhere else.
  • Research potential employers. Before you apply for an opportunity, research and interview employees who work there. In many cases, you make new friends who are willing to help.
  • Be consistent. Schedule your usage of LinkedIn, and visit the site regularly to check for updates, make connections, improve your profile, and search for jobs.

My Online Course on LinkedIn

Introduction to LinkedIn Career Networking is an online course that you can take over 6 weeks with 24/7 access. Not only will you learn everything you need to know about LinkedIn and how to use it effectively, this course will also give you the tools you need to succeed in today’s competitive market.

Think of me as your personal career coach. I’ll walk you down the path to success, and along the way, I’ll show you how to use LinkedIn and what to do with the connections and leads you get from this 21st century business networking platform. We’ll cover the hidden job market, online research tools, email and correspondence etiquette, netiquette (etiquette for online communication), interviewing techniques for phone, Skype, and in-person meetings—and we’ll even discuss how creative individuals can use LinkedIn to boost their careers.

As you can see, we cover a lot in this course. It’s 6 weeks packed full of helpful career strategies that you won’t find anywhere else. Introduction to LinkedIn Career Networking will take the mystery out of LinkedIn and career networking. I hope to see you there!


Drawing for the Absolute Beginner by ed2go Instructor Chad Walker

Drawing for the Absolute Beginner

Drawing for the Absolute Beginner by ed2go Instructor Chad Walker

Observation skills: These are great tools that artists have, and ones that carry through in all aspects of life. As we draw still lifes in a studio or sketch people traveling on the subway, we have the chance to sit and stare for long periods of time.

As a beginning artist, you get an opportunity to begin perceiving the world, taking it in and then expressing it through your drawings. Think about, for instance, when you walked into your room and sat down in front of the computer. Can you tell me (without looking) what type of doorknob is on your door? Or better yet, which side of the door the hinges are on?

Becoming more aware of your surroundings by increasing your level of observation is just one of the many exciting steps you can take on the path to becoming an artist.

Chad Walker teaches Drawing for the Absolute Beginner for ed2go

Speeding Up a Sluggish PC by ed2go Instructor Scott Jernigan

ed2go Introduction to PC Troubleshooting

Speeding Up a Sluggish PC by ed2go Instructor Scott Jernigan

A friend complained recently that her year-old PC was running really slowly. Browsing the Web was crazy. She’d click something and have to wait almost a minute before the page would load. It wasn’t the Internet, and her cable speeds hadn’t changed. What was making her PC so sluggish?

This situation is pretty common with almost every Windows PC. Background programs designed to optimize performance of certain applications—like Adobe Reader or Microsoft Office—often clutter the computer, taking up memory and slowing down the operating system. My friend had over 40 of these programs running! The good news is, they’re not necessary. You can safely and easily stop these programs from auto-starting—often with dramatic results.

Here’s how: (1) Click the Start button, type msconfig, and press ENTER. (2) When the System Configuration utility comes up, select the Startup tab and deselect auto-starting programs like Adobe Reader, Microsoft Office, QuickTime, Java, and anything that says “update.” Don’t deselect programs that say “Catalyst,” come from NVIDIA (these work with your screen), or say “point” or “pointer.” (3) Reboot your computer. (Be sure to try out things you regularly do to make sure you didn’t turn off an essential program. If something suddenly isn’t working, just go back to msconfig, re-enable that program, and reboot again.) Your PC should be much more responsive!

Scott Jernigan teaches Introduction to PC Troubleshooting for ed2go

Don’t Tear Your Hair Out; Learn to Spell

ed2go Writing Essentials

Don’t Tear Your Hair Out; Learn to Spell by ed2go Instructor Ann Linquist

Spelling in English isn’t easy! In case you need convincing, here’s an anonymous poem that illustrates many of the problem words for English spelling. It’s believed to have appeared first in The Times of London in 1936. Try reading this aloud.

I take it you already know
Of tough and bough and cough and dough?
Others may stumble, but not you,
On hiccough, thorough, lough, and through?
Well done! And now you wish, perhaps,
To learn of less familiar traps?
Beware of heard, a dreadful word
That looks like beard and sounds like bird,
And dead: it’s said like bed, not bead
For goodness’ sake, don’t call it “deed”!
Watch out for meat and great and threat
(They rhyme with suite and straight and debt).
A moth is not a moth in mother,
Nor both in bother, broth in brother,
And here is not a match for there
Nor dear and fear for bear and pear;
And then there’s dose and rose and lose
Just look them up—and goose and choose,
And cork and work and card and ward,
And font and front and word and sword,
And do and go and thwart and cart
Come, come, I’ve hardly made a start!
A dreadful language? Man alive!
I’d mastered it when I was five!

On top of this burden, there’s the auto-correct feature on many a computer or tablet that wants to correct your spelling even when you haven’t made a mistake. Pity the innocent salesperson hoping to make a sale with this email:

Dear Sir or Madman:

Thank you for your interest in our Steakholder Pension Plan. I’m sorry you had trouble finding the sight on the Internet, and I assure you that you can view the details of the plan by exploring our website: www.noveltynightwear [auto-corrected from www.novellenetware]. I apologize for any incontinence I may have caused.

So why are English words so hard to spell correctly? My search for the answer has revealed three main reasons.

  1. Our alphabet was invented for Latin—a language that’s no longer in common use. The letters we use aren’t always adequate to convey the sounds they represent in a given word.
  2. The English language began as a mixture of French and German, but throughout history, we’ve added words from other languages, including Greek, Latin, and the Scandinavian languages. This conglomeration results in many exceptions to any spelling rule.
  3. When the printing press came into use, English spelling became more standardized. The problem with standardizing spelling was that pronunciations continued to change. A word that was once spelled as it sounded—for example, knee was once pronounced with an audible k—is no longer spoken that way.

I teach an online course called Writing Essentials that includes a five-chapter lesson, a quiz, and a fun word-matching game . . . all to help you learn to be a better speller. Check it out at ed2go.

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