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Laura Reed's Archive

Avoid the Mess: Paint Digitally

If you’ve been looking for a creative outlet, and you’re into technology, why not try your hand at digital art?  In this post, I’ll share some resources to help you get started in a subset of digital art – digital painting.  With digital painting, you can express yourself without making a mess!

Here are two examples (both in the Public Domain) of digital paintings. Just like traditional paintings, they can be realistic, abstract, or somewhere in-between.

Digital paintings. CC0 Public Domain

For further examples, take a look at these 54 Mind-Blowing Digital Paintings. For more, check out some Amazing Digital Painting Landscapes, and these 30 Examples of Highly Creative Abstract Digital Art.

Now that you’re inspired to create, you’ll want to explore these resources for budding digital artists.

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Preserving your Digital Life

Illustration: DVD with snapshots and file type icons.

Preserve your digital life.

When I sat down to write about personal digital preservation I wasn’t sure where to start. I looked for a statistic telling how much data the average person produces each day, but I couldn’t find the exact answer to that question. I found an infographic from 2012 showing how much data is generated in one minute. It’s a crazy amount!

For example, every minute in 2012:

  • We were uploading 48 hours of YouTube videos.
  • We sent 100,00 tweets.
  • We shared over 680,000 pieces of content on Facebook.

See the infographic for the other numbers. If you like that kind of thing, you should visit the Internet Live Stats site.

The bottom line is that we are producing a lot of digital artifacts. I think of an artifact as something a human being produces that expresses some aspect of their humanity. If you think your digital creations are important, you’ll want to be able to see or hear them in the years to come.

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Using Office 365 at IU

IU students, faculty, and staff can now access Office 365 at no cost. Office 365 provides multiple options for accessing Office 2016 for Windows and OS X.  You can download the Office applications to your desktop and use cloud-based Office Online apps, and mobile apps for your smartphone or tablet.  You can install Office on up to five PCs or Macs, five tablets (Windows, iPad, and Android), and five phones.

Getting Started

To access Office 365,  go to https://office.iu.edu. Enter your username and passphrase when prompted. Click “Install now” to start the download. Notice that boxes are checked indicating that you will be making Bing your default search engine, and MSN your browser homepage. If you don’t want this to happen, deselect the boxes.

Screenshot of Office 2016 install page.

Screenshot of Office 2016 install page.

 

Run the download installation package and follow the on-screen directions. See the KB article “About Microsoft Office 365” for more information. Once you’ve installed Office, you will have to sign in to your Office 365 account at least once every 30 days to keep the software activated.

Features

Office 365 includes:

  • Office 2016 for Windows and OS X
  • Office Mobile apps for your smartphone or tablet
  • Office Online
  • OneDrive for Business (Learn more about OneDrive for Business here).

With the Office Online suite, you can create and edit files using lightweight versions of Office applications via your web browser. The Office Online apps include Word, Excel, PowerPoint, OneDrive, and OneNote. The Office Mobile apps are scaled-down versions of Word, Excel, PowerPoint, and OneNote. Learn how to access Office Mobile apps here.

More Software

IU students, faculty, and staff have access to numerous low and no-cost software titles. Read the KB article “At IU, how can I get university-licensed software?” to find out how to get it! And remember to check out the IT Training website when you’re ready to learn how to use your new software.

 

Explore Your Learning Options

Learning options

You may have heard that IU’s contract with lynda.com ends on June 30th. If you really can’t do without lynda, you can read about other ways to access the service by visiting the ‘Ways to still access lynda’ page. For those interested in other options available to the IU community, read on.

Learn on your own with our workshop materials

IU students, faculty, and staff can download PDF versions of our workshop materials for free. You can also download the accompanying exercise files for each workshop. Just visit the ‘Download Materials & Exercise Files‘ page and log in with your IU username and passphrase.

Watch IT Training recorded webinars

Check out the ‘Recorded Webinars and Tutorials’ page to find recorded sessions on topics ranging from Acrobat to WordPress. When you click a webinar link, you’ll be prompted to log-in to Connect with your IU account. You can learn more about Adobe Connect by viewing this IU Knowledge Base document.

Take a Microsoft eLearning course

Try online-based, self-paced elearning courses on Microsoft Windows, Office, Groove, InfoPath, Project, Lync, Sharepoint, and Visio. They’re free for IU students, faculty, and staff. You can even earn certificates by completing courses successfully. Learn more by visiting the ‘Microsoft eLearning Courses’ page.

Check out books and videos from Books 24×7 IT Pro

IU’s Libraries offer free access to the Books 24×7 IT Pro collection. This service, offered by Skillsoft,  offers access to online books and short videos on a wide range of desktop applications and advanced technology topics. Go to the ‘Books 24×7 IT Pro’ page to start using this resource.

Get advanced training with EdCert

EdCert, or Education Certification, is a UITS sponsored program aimed at delivering high-quality advanced technical training to departmental computing support providers, technical staff,  IU students, and faculty who teach advanced technology topics in their academic classes.  EdCert courses prepare you to take industry standard professional certification exams as well.

Try Skillsoft and Pluralsight at discounted prices

Skillsoft offers training in topics such as Information Technology, business, legal compliance and more. Courses come in video format, e-books, and mentoring. Training for industry standard certification is also available. Visit the ‘Skillsoft‘ page to learn more.

Pluralsight features training in advanced technical and creative design topics including Android, animation, Business Intelligence, 3D rendering, iOS, networking, programming, server admin, SharePoint, Tableau, video and more. Find out more on our ‘Pluralsight’ page.

Take an IT Training workshop or webinar

Don’t forget our instructor-led webinars and hands-on workshops where you can learn Microsoft Office applications, Adobe software, web development, programming, and a lot more.

Make sure to take advantage of all IT Training has to offer. Keep checking this blog for more training tips, and please do contact us if you have any questions or suggestions.

Web Accessibility Resources

Computer screen and wheelchair symbol illustration.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Web content accessibility is crucial for reaching the widest audience possible and is part of Indiana University’s commitment to equity and diversity. IT Training can show you what it means to be accessible, the laws and standards that govern web accessibility, and how to easily address some of the common concerns that prevent individuals with disabilities from using the web effectively. We offer workshops on evaluating and updating your existing content. We can also show you how to create new accessible content for your web presence using a variety of software tools.

Here’s a list of resources you might find helpful after you’ve attended our training sessions.

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Earn a Certificate from IT Training

Illustration of ribbon on certificate.

Earning a certificate from IT Training is a great way to enhance your skills in areas like Microsoft Office, web development, and creating graphics.  You’ll take a series of related IT Training workshops designed to build your skills in applications or topics in a comprehensive way! After you’ve attended all of the workshops in a series (within a one-year period), you’ll earn your certificate.

We offer certificates in six different areas, so you’re bound to find something to meet your needs.

Office 2013 Productivity (6 workshops)

We’ll introduce you to a variety of Microsoft Office applications and demonstrate ways make them work together. You’ll learn the basic skills for day-to-day office activities from creating a spreadsheet in Excel to creating a PowerPoint presentation. The required workshops are:

1. Outlook 2013: Calendar Essentials
2. Outlook 2013: Managing Your Email
3. Word 2013: The Essentials
4. PowerPoint 2013: The Basics
5. Excel 2013: The Basics
6. Access 2013: The Basics

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Photoshop Books at IU Libraries

Students walk in front of University Library as they go to classes Tuesday, January 8, 2013.

Students walk in front of University Library as they go to classes Tuesday, January 8, 2013.

Photoshop, in my opinion, is one of the greatest things since sliced bread. It’s a powerful piece of software, but you can’t fully realize that power until you learn how to use it. To help you along, I’ve put together a list of Adobe Photoshop related books you can get from an IU Library. Remember, you can use Interlibrary Loan to get books that are not housed on your campus. I found the books by doing a simple search on the term “Photoshop’ in IUCAT.

I limited the results to books falling under the Subject “Adobe Photoshop” that were published within the last three years. I got 15 books, but this list includes only the titles I found to be most relevant to the IU community.

Here’s the list:

And don’t forget to take advantage of your access to no-cost workshops from IU IT Training.

You can find our Photoshop offerings here.

 

Tech Tools for Better Writing

Do you like to write or do you hate it? When your instructor assigns a paper do you cheer or do you groan? Well, probably very few students cheer at the thought of writing an academic paper. If you’re one of those few, you have my respect and admiration. This post is for the less enthusiastic among us.

Writing comes easily to some people. I’ve always felt I had a knack for it, but I’ve come to realize that my grammar skills are a bit lacking. I was okay with the basics, but there were some rules that I just didn’t know or fully understand. If I wanted to be a better writer, I had to get better at grammar. Naturally, I turned to the Internet for help.

Of course, there is more to writing than grammar. When you write, you have to consider your: topic, audience, medium, etc. For now, I’ll focus on Internet resources for getting help with the mechanics of writing.

GRAMMARLY

Paste your text into the Grammarly web app and get a run-down of your wiring mistakes. You can also download the Grammarly plugin for MS Word to get better grammar and spell check results than you would with Word’s native checker. Grammarly has a free plan, but serious users will want to pay for the full product. There are other checkers out there, but I haven’t found anything better than this. Here’s a video demo of Grammarly in Word

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Get to know Canvas

IU Canvas Login Screen

IU’s online learning environment, Oncourse, is on its way out. Canvas is already here!

First, if you’ve used Oncourse in the past and have files stored in the Resources area, read this IU Knowledge Base document to find out how to move them. Your next step is learning how to use Canvas. In this post, I’ll point you to some resources that will help you do just that!

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Get the Most out of Word 2013

Microsoft Word Title Image

You can probably sit down, open Word 2013, and use it fairly proficiently. But why not bump up your skills from proficient to pretty awesome? Okay, pretty awesome might sound like too exciting a description when talking about word processing skills, but I’ve got to tell you that some of the things you can do in Word are actually pretty awesome. You can figure out how to do neat stuff in Word on your own by trial and error, using the help button, looking up tutorials on the Internet, or asking your friends. But wouldn’t it be easier to pop into an IT Training workshop or webinar and have a professional show you some of the software’s best secrets? If you like that idea, read on to find out what you can learn in our Word workshops.

Read the rest of “Get the Most out of Word 2013” »

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