UoPeople – Other Online Aids Available

J. Francois Barnard – 20 October 2019

When studying online, Google is your best friend. You ask, and many answers appear. But not all search results are equal. If you really want authoritative answers, try Google Scholar instead, which will give you more academic sources to work from.

The website which surprised me most was Khan Academy. Salman Khan’s TED Talk is just as good to watch as Shai Reshef’s. Check it out. I first encountered Khan Academy in the Art History class. Then when doing Algebra, Sal Khan got the rusted mathematical gears in my head turning again.

In 1985, I scraped through in Algebra with such a low score that I am too embarrassed to mention it here. Sal Khan helped me to score a healthy B+ in Algebra in 2018.

When it got to statistics, again Khan Academy was a great help.

study007Remember that Wikipedia, as rich a source it is, is not allowed to be referenced. The reason is that Wikipedia is open to everyone to be edited. Not that people will rewrite it at will, but it is, therefore, less reliable and should not be referenced.

That said, it does not mean that Wikipedia is totally useless.

Wikipedia can give you a good bird’s eye view of a subject, and then you can go to the sources referenced in it and extract your information from more reliable sources. Nothing wrong with that!

A great help in any course is Grammarly.

As the name suggests, Grammarly checks your grammar and spelling. A word of caution, though: When using Grammarly, set it to use American English. We know those Americans cannot spell as the Brits do, but that is where UoPeople is situated. Instead, stick to American English.

Some students use Grammarly in their peer assessments and write in the comments that Grammarly found so many grammar and spelling errors. They do not consider that Grammarly can also make mistakes. Do not rely on Grammarly 100%. Still, use your common sense!

If you have the financial capacity, you can use the paid version of Grammarly, which is much better.

What about Chegg and CourseHero? They regularly pop up in Google search results. Both of these are paid for services. Some students pay to go there, submit their work on these sites, and earn extra “unlocks” to help them later again.

If you find some answers there and you submit it as your own work, you commit fraud and plagiarism. That is a stupid thing to do and will cause more trouble than what it is worth. The chance is that you then submit an assignment that your instructor read the previous term and remembers it. You can get expelled from the university.

Moreover, some students submit a lot of hogwash on both Chegg and CourseHero. Wikipedia is a more reliable source than these. But if it helps you to get a general idea of what to do, use it. Both of these sites have “experts” who can answer questions for you, but I do not have any experience of how good their expertise is.

You are studying to better yourself. The most excellent resource you have is right there between your left and your right ear.

Use it!