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6 Technological Advancements to Hone Your Academic Writing Skills

girl is writing her academic essayWhat do you do when you can’t get a paper started? Imagine yourself sitting in front of your laptop, staring at the screen, holding your fingers across the keyboard yet nothing happens. You can’t get anything off the ground, and as much as you “want to” do something, the “how to” is just as important. A decade ago we didn’t use the internet as much as we use it today, and most college students had to hit their local library to grab the information that they needed for writing assignments and make their academic papers sound polished and error-free.

However, now it’s easy to overlook the vast amount of information because we have it at our fingertips. Did you know that today’s average student has access to 20 times more information than the president of the USA 50 years ago? Shocking, right? That is why we’ve prepared a number of tools for you to use these opportunities to the maximum and develop your academic writing skills.

1.Online Courses

Now that we’re aware of the knowledge we have access to, it’s time to talk about using it to our benefit. It’s easier now than ever to get your writing skills honed to perfection with a few helpful websites and guides to get you started. We’re focusing on academic papers, so let’s look at a few free online courses to get you up and running:

  • How to Write a First Year Report: The University of Edinburgh offers this course and it is aimed at newbie academic students. It provides a wealth of information on how to compose an introduction and it gives further insight on formatting literary references properly;
  • Technical Writing: The New Jersey Institute of Technology offers this course and it is aimed at experienced writers. It provides excellent information on the hidden secrets of technical writing. 40 video lectures are made available, and each offers solutions to complex technical problems;
  • The Writing Process: The Purdue University offers this course. Students are given access to the information on how to write the perfect academic paper. The topics included in the course are: proofreading tips, reverse outlining, pre-writing, audience analysis and more.

2.Grammar and Spelling Checkers

Students today don’t have to spend hours checking and rechecking their papers anymore. The internet comes to the rescue. There are several amazing online grammar checkers students can use without spending a dime. These online tools help the student understand and correct mistakes. Two of the best spell checkers available right now are Ginger and SpellCheckPlus.

3.Research Tools for Students

Wrong or unreliable information is bound to get you into trouble when submitting papers. Double check your sources and make sure to properly quote them. It will make your student life a lot easier. To help you understand how research tools work, the following online tools will make your paper look and sound exquisite.

  • Google Scholar: an excellent web search engine with access to a wealth of reliable works for your papers; it detects all kinds of academic articles you can use, including journals, theses, patents, and more;
  • Google Books: a free, trustworthy “online library” that students can use for their papers and academic writings;
  • EBSCO: a diverse collection of e-books, digital archives, medical references, and full-text databases;
  • JSTOR: a home to more than 2000 academic journals, JSTOR is a student’s best online source for research.

4.Vocabulary Builders

Whether you’re an enthusiastic student or a newbie writer, it’s always good to expand your knowledge and enrich your vocabulary. Do you want to write the best papers and make yourself stand out in the classroom? Well, then you might want to check out the following online tools to help improve and widen your lexis:

  • Merriam-Webster Dictionary,
  • OneLook.com,
  • Vocabulary.com,
  • Synonym.com,
  • Visual-Thesaurus.com,
  • Free-Rice.com.

5.Writing Apps

Correct writing skills are fundamental in college. Regardless of your academic level or discipline, it is important to know how to write and stay organized when doing so. Sound skills will help you develop excellent writing abilities, and that will definitely set your paper apart. Here are some online writing tools that you cannot ignore.

  • Good Drive: a great app for sharing and editing files and folders;
  • OmmWriter: particularly aimed at students who get distracted when writing their papers. The app crafts the perfect writing environment; it even allows students to set their own background and music;
  • EasyBib: an app that makes text quoting run a lot smoother. It will assist with source managing and proper citing formatting;
  • More.

6.Audio to Text Technology

Transcribing audios can be a real challenge. Writing after dictation is nearly impossible, not to mention that adding timestamps manually can be a real struggle. An excellent tool you can use is Transbribe.Wreally.com. This tool makes audio transcribing a lot easier. Students can slow down the audio, and thus be able to write after dictation; they can also use the appointed keys to add timestamps automatically, pause and rewind, and then export their work onto a Word doc file.

The bottom line is that it takes time and practice to create a decent academic paper. Don’t give up even when you feel like failing at capturing the core of what you want to express. Practice and patience will go a long way in making you a perfect writer.

About the Author

Jane Copland is a passionate PR manager at ThePensters.com – the community of freelance academic writers. She’s into writing, technology and psychology.

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