English for Emails: Email etiquette

Unit 9: Email etiquette

 

Email dos and don’ts

A lot of people still have problems writing emails. I should know – I receive badly written emails every day! So I hope these suggestions will help.

Rule 1:
Always check you’ve got the right name in the ‘To’ box. And make sure your email only goes to the people who need to read it. Remember that if you reply to all, then everyone will get your email. Does the whole sales team really need to read your email to one person about something unimportant?

Rule 2:
This sounds obvious, but don’t forget to attach them! A word of advice – attach the file you want to send before you start writing. That way, you can’t forget to attach it!

Rule 3:
No. If you write ‘CAN YOU LET ME KNOW THIS WEEK?’ you are basically shouting at your reader. They will think you are very rude. So just don’t do it.

Rule 4:
Short emails sometimes sound rude. People won’t read very long emails. Keep emails short, but remember to be polite and friendly, too.

Rule 5:
This is important, especially if it’s a work email. If you make mistakes in your email, people will think you also make mistakes in your work. So always check everything carefully. Ask a colleague to read and check it before you hit ‘Send’.

Source : learnenglish.britishcouncil.org

Great Ways to Improve Your Memory: Proven Techniques That Really Work

memory

1. Focus your attention on the materials you are studying.

Attention is one of the major components of memory. In order for information to move from short-term memory into long-term memory, you need to actively attend to this information. Try to study in a place free of distractions such as television, music, and other diversions.Getting rid of distractions might be a challenge, especially if you are surrounded by boisterous roommates or noisy children. One thing you can do is to set aside a short period of time to be alone.

focus

2. Avoid cramming by establishing regular study sessions.

According to Bjork (2001), studying materials over a number of session’s gives you the time you need to adequately process the information. Research has shown that students who study regularly remember the material far better than those who do all of their studying in one marathon session.

cram

3. Structure and organize the information you are studying.

Researchers have found that information is organized in memory in related clusters. You can take advantage of this by structuring and organizing the materials you are studying. Try grouping similar concepts and terms together, or make an outline of your notes and textbook readings to help group related concepts.

4. Utilize mnemonic devices to remember information.

Mnemonic devices are a technique often used by students to aid in recall. A mnemonic is simply a way to remember information. For example, you might associate a term you need to remember with a common item that you are very familiar with. The best mnemonics are those that utilize positive imagery, humor, or novelty. You might come up with a rhyme, song, or joke to help remember a specific segment of information.

5. Elaborate and rehearse the information you are studying.

In order to recall information, you need to encode what you are studying into long-term memory. One of the most effective encoding techniques is known as elaborative rehearsal. An example of this technique would be to read the definition of a key term, study the definition of that term and then read a more detailed description of what that term means. After repeating this process a few times, you’ll probably notice that recalling the information is much easier.

visualize

6. Visualize concepts to improve memory and recall.

Many people benefit greatly from visualizing the information they study. Pay attention to the photographs, charts, and other graphics in your textbooks. If you do not have visual cues to help, try creating your own. Draw charts or figures in the margins of your notes or use highlighters or pens in different colors to group related ideas in your written study materials.

7. Relate new information to things you already know.

When you are studying unfamiliar material, take the time to think about how this information relates to things that you already know. By establishing relationships between new ideas and previously existing memories, you can dramatically increase the likelihood of recalling the recently learned information.

another

8. Teach new concepts to another person.

Research suggests that reading materials out loud significantly improves memory of the material. Educators and psychologists have also discovered that having students actually teach new concepts to others enhances understanding and recall. You can use this approach in your own studies by teaching new concepts and information to a friend or study partner.

difficult

9.Pay extra attention to difficult information.

Have you ever noticed how it’s sometimes easier to remember information at the beginning or end of a chapter? Researchers have found that the order of information can play a role in recall, which is known as the serial position effect.While recalling middle information can be difficult, you can overcome this problem by spending extra time rehearsing this information. Another strategy is to try restructuring what you have learned so it will be easier to remember.
When you come across an especially difficult concept, devote some extra time to memorizing the information.

routine

10. Vary your study routine.

Another great way to increase your recall is to occasionally change your study routine. If you are accustomed to studying in one specific location, try moving to a different spot during your next study session. If you study in the evening, try spending a few minutes each morning reviewing the information you studied the previous night. By adding an element of novelty to your study sessions, you can increase the effectiveness of your efforts and significantly improve your long-term recall.

sleep

11. Get some sleep.

Researchers have long known that sleep is important for memory and learning. Some recent research has shown that taking a nap after you learn something new can actually help you learn faster and remember better.One study actually found that sleeping after learning something new actually leads to physical changes in the brain. Sleep deprived mice experienced less dendtritic growth following a learning task than well-rested mice.
So the next time you are struggling to learn new information, consider getting a good night’s sleep after you study.

Source: Psychologyabout.com

Where Did April Fools’ Day Come From?

April fools' main frame

April Fools’ Day – The History of the Fools

April Fools’ Day, also called All Fools’ Day, is celebrated every April 1st in the United States. While it is not officially recognized as a holiday, many celebrate by pranking, or pulling practical jokes on, their colleagues or by organizing larger-scale hoaxes.

As April Fools’ is celebrated in different ways throughout the world, it is unknown exactly how the tradition originated. Some cultures saw it as the first day of spring, celebrating with general merriment and feasting, and certain calendars may consider it the first day of the year. One theory for the terming of an April Fool was that some refused to follow these calendars that recognized April 1st as the first day of the year, which resulted in being called an April Fool.

There are a few other theories as to precursors to the holiday tradition. Hilaria, a Roman festival, which celebrated Cybele, an Anatolian goddess, was celebrated around March 25th. The Feast of Fools was a term given to many medieval festivals celebrated during the fifth-sixteenth centuries in Europe, but particularly at the end of December. These celebrations developed a tradition of practical jokes, especially when observed in Spain.

However, the tradition of practical jokes had been well established by 1632, when legend states that the Duke of Lorraine and his wife escaped a prison at Nantes by dressing as peasants, walking right out the front gate. When the guards were alerted to the escape, they laughed at what they thought was an April Fools’ prank. One of the first April Fools’ pranks occurred in 1698, when citizens of London were tricked into attending the lion-washing ceremony at the Tower of London, a ceremony that did not actually exist.

April Fools’ Day Pranks

  • While Americans will typically shout, “April Fools!” after pulling off a prank, Europeans sometimes refer to the holiday as “April Fish,” as many observers will tack a paper fish to another’s back and yell “April Fish!” However, the individual pranked is still referred to as the “Fool.” Fish are often featured on European April Fools’ Day cards. Traditional pranking often stops at midday in the United Kingdom, and if one pranks after this time, they themselves become the fool.
  • Hunt-the-Gowk Day is Scotland’s version of the holiday, where one sends a messenger back and forth between another person, each time saying that they need to contact the other before the issue can be resolved. However, this practice is dying out in modern times. The Persian New Year falls on April 1st, which is marked in Iran with one of the oldest pranking traditions that still exist. This is actually another theater as to the holiday’s origin.
  • Many other cultures celebrate April Fools’ day similarly to the United States, and others may designate a “joke” day on another day of the year, such as May 1st for those living in Denmark.

    April fools' day 2nd pix

Historic April Fools’ Pranks

  1. Millionaire auctions off iceberg: in 1978, a businessman and adventurer named Dick Smith announced he would be towing an iceberg from Antarctica to break into smaller cubes for sale. He advertised that these Antarctic ice cubes would freshen the taste of any drink for the price of ten cents a cube. The media was on site in the Sydney Harbor to report on the barge towing the iceberg, which was revealed to actually sheets covered with shaving cream and fire extinguishing foam.
  2. The Derbyshire Fairy: Lebanon Circle Magik Co. (which should have been the first clue) posted a picture of what looked like a small mummified fairy on their website in 2007, stating that a man had found the creature while walking his dog out in the country. The photo attracted thousands of visitors to the sites and resulted in many interested emails. But on April 1st, the site’s owner admitted the creature was an April Fools’ hoax. However, the most interesting part of this story is that many continued to contact the website stating that they did not believe that the fairy was fake.
  3. Big Ben Goes Digital: The BBC reported in 1980 that the famous Big Ben clock tower would be converted to a digital clock in order to modernize the tower’s look. This outraged many citizens, as the clock tower was a historical part of London’s culture. BBC Japan even offered the clock hands in a contest to the first four callers, which actually resulted in some bidding.
  4. Loch Ness Monster Found: In 1972, a photo surfaced that the Flamingo Park Zoo in Yorkshire claimed to be the body of the Lock Ness Monster, discovered by a team of zoologists at Loch Ness. However, upon further inspection, the photo appeared to be of a seal. The zoo’s education officer eventually confessed to the hoax, saying that he’d placed the seal in the water after shaving its whiskers.
  5. Sweden Covers their TVs in Tights: in 1962, Sweden’s only television channel announced that the station could be viewed in color if one cut up tights and placed it over the television’s screen, which would bend the television’s light to make it appear in color. Thousands of Swedes cut up stockings and taped them over their television only to realize they were victims of a hoax.
  6. The Earth Loses Gravity: in 1976, BBC Radio 2 reported that due to rare astronomical alignment of Pluto behind Jupiter, the Earth’s gravity would decrease. Listeners were told to jump in the air at 9:47 AM to take advantage of this, which would result in a floating feeling. Many reported that they had felt this floating sensation, one even stating that she and her friends lifted from their chairs to float around the room together.
  7. Home Grown Spaghetti Trees: one of the most famous April Fools’ pranks occurred in 1957, when BBC news program Panorama reported on Switzerland’s spaghetti harvest. The region’s mild winter and lack of natural spaghetti pests allowed for the fruitful production of home-grown spaghetti. The BBC received many calls from people interested in growing their own spaghetti, who were told that they should place a sprig of spaghetti in tomato sauce.

Nuts Linked to Better Heart Health for Teens

teens peanuts

Eating a modest amount of nuts appears to lower the risk for teens of developing conditions that raise the chances of heart disease later in life, new research suggests.

By “modest,” investigators mean eating at least three small handfuls of nuts a week. In the study, nut-eating teens had less than half the risk for developing metabolic syndrome as those who did not eat nuts.

Metabolic syndrome is a cluster of symptoms that heighten the risk of early heart disease and type 2 diabetes.

The bad news is that roughly 75 percent of U.S. teens eat no nuts, the study authors said.

“The surprising finding is that, in spite of what we know about their health benefits, the majority of teens eat no nuts at all on a typical day,” said lead investigator Dr. Roy Kim, an assistant professor of pediatrics at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center and Children’s Health in Dallas.

“Metabolic syndrome is a major public health problem. [But] our findings at this stage show only a correlation and do not prove that the risk of metabolic disease in teens will go down by eating nuts,” Kim said. “However, the results suggest the possibility that a simple dietary recommendation could have a significant impact on the metabolic health of adolescents.”

Kim and his colleagues are to present their findings Friday at the Endocrine Society’s annual meeting in San Diego. Research presented at meetings should be viewed as preliminary until published in a peer-reviewed medical journal.

nuts

About one in nine teens has metabolic syndrome, prior research has shown. The diagnosis is made when a child over age 10 is found to have at least three telltale conditions: obesity in the abdominal region, high triglycerides, low “good” cholesterol (HDL), high blood pressure or high blood sugar.

The new study findings stem from an analysis involving more than 2,000 teens who participated in the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey between 2003 and 2010.

The research team found that every additional gram of nuts consumed per day led to a drop in metabolic syndrome risk, though the benefit topped out at 50 grams per day (equal to almost 2 ounces).

The benefit may be traced back to the unsaturated fat and fiber typically found in nuts.

That said, less than 9 percent of teens were found to consume the minimum amount of nuts needed to see a benefit.

The finding comes on the heels of a U.S. National Cancer Institute study released earlier this week that eating nuts, including peanuts and peanut butter, is linked to a lower risk of death from heart disease.

SOURCE: Endocrine Society, news release, March, 6, 2015

HealthDay

The Best Brain Foods for Breakfast

Creating Better Students with Good Breakfast

main frame breakfast

Everyone has probably heard the saying one time or another in their lives that “breakfast is the most important meal of the day.” Well, it’s the truth and especially important for growing children. Eating a healthy breakfast ensures children start the day off with proper nutrition to help them to be successful at school. Dozens of studies over the last sixty years have consistently shown that children who eat breakfast perform better academically than those who don’t.

This doesn’t mean feeding your children doughnuts or honey buns every morning, either. The types of food your kids eat is also very important. Certain foods can boost a child’s brain growth, and can improve memory and concentration. Once your child skips breakfast or they start to feel hungry because their breakfast did not last very long, it leads to other unhealthy choices throughout the day. Skipping breakfast decreases the ability to concentrate and do our best at school and work. How can your child get good grades at school if they are thinking about being hungry and not what the teacher is saying?

Breakfast is a priority in my house every day with my family. It gives us a chance to spend time together in the morning and gets us all off to a healthy start.

milk and yoghurt

Milk and yogurt: Dairy products are excellent sources of protein and B vitamins, which are both essential for the growth of the brain tissue and neurotransmitters. The protein and carbohydrates contained in dairy are also a source of energy for the brain.

sliced fruits
Fruit: Fruits contain powerful antioxidants and vitamins and minerals important for growing children. Studies have shown kids who eat berries regularly had improved memory. The nutrients contained in fruits will also keep brain cells strong and healthy.

flavored oats

Oats: Oats are one of my all time favorite breakfast foods and are also a great grain for the brain. Oats energizes kids and contains vitamins B, E, potassium, and zinc which help brain development and help the brain to function at full capacity. The fiber contained in oats (my kids love oatmeal) will also provide a lasting breakfast so your child will stay full longer.

peanut butter
Peanut butter: Peanut butter has 30 essential vitamins and minerals! It’s also a great source of protein, which is important for brain function as well as helping your children to stay full longer so they are able to concentrate. Did you know that 90% of households in the U.S. have peanut butter in their pantry? Talk about a convenient staple! Get creative and use it beyond just the traditional PBJ. Check out my recent appearance on The Daily Buzz where I talk about the benefits of peanut butter!

eggs 2

Eggs: I can’t say enough great things about eggs. They are not only cheap, but are also a great source of protein and are very versatile. My kids like them scrambled, in omelets, hardboiled –the possibilities are endless. The choline found in eggs plays a big role in brain function and memory.

Start your children’s day (and your own day) off right by incorporating these foods into your daily breakfast routine. You can’t go wrong with any of them!

Source: healthline

Ten (10) Reasons Behind The Quirks Of The English Alphabet

The English alphabet, along with every other Western alphabet, originated from the Roman (Latin) alphabet. The Roman alphabet itself originated from the Etruscan alphabet, which originated from the Greek alphabet. The Greek alphabet is a modified version of the Phoenician alphabet. The Greeks formed their alphabet by adding vowels to the existing vowel-less Phoenician alphabet. With that kind of a history, it’s no surprise that our modern English alphabet is filled with oddities.

the and

10. There Used To Be A 27th Letter
The ampersand (“&”), used today by the likes of Barnes & Noble and Dolce & Gabbana, was once the 27th letter of the alphabet. Its invention dates to the first century. Roman scribes, who wrote in cursive, joined together the e and t in the Latin word “et,” which meant “and.” The character was introduced into the English alphabet in the 19th century.

Although its pronunciation remained “and,” its name changed thanks to school pupils. The pupils, reciting their alphabet, ended with “XYZ and per se and“; per se means “by itself.” Just as “et” was slurred together to form the & character, “and per se and” was slurred together to form “ampersand.”Aside being used as a replacement for “and” and joining names together, ampersand also still replaces et. For example, et cetera (“etc”) can also be written as “&c.”

the Q9. Why ‘U’ Always Follows ‘Q’
Can you think of an English word with a letter q not followed by a letter u? While English language contains some words like that—qibla, niqab, qigong, qawwali—they all derive directly from other languages. The only true English exception to the rule is “QWERTY,” and it is debatable whether that’s even a word at all. Q is always followed by a u because we always use q to denote the sound /kw/.

The /kw/ sound is a diagraph, which means that two letters come together to form a single speech sound. Before the Normans invaded England in 1066, there was no letter q in the English language.
Words like “queen” and “quick” were spelled “cwin” and “cwic” respectively. It was the French-speaking Normans who began the practice of using qu to represent the /kw/ sound. The Normans themselves had copied the use of “qu” from Latin, which used it for the /k/ sound if it appeared before w. If it did not appear before w, they used c instead.

the doublw u

8. Why ‘W’ Is Called ‘Double-U’
W is the only letter in the alphabet with a polysyllabic name. It is also the only letter whose name in no way tells how it is phonetically used. W is called “double-u” because that is how it used to be written—”uu.”Originally, u and v represented the same sound. U was used in the middle of a word, while v was used in the beginning. So “upon” was written as “vpon,” and “save” was written as “saue.” When Latin was used in Old English early in the seventh century, it became imperative that a character had to be created for the w sound.

Two u‘s (“uu”) were adopted to form the /uu/ sound. It was called “double-u.”
In the eighth century, “uu” was removed from the alphabet and was replaced by another character called the wynn (“ƿ”). W was reintroduced in the 11th century after the Normans conquered England. The Normans joined the two u‘s together and made the bottom sharper to form the w we know today. The look of the character changed, but the name did not. Even with its reintroduction, w took time to become a common letter. Early printers used two v‘s (“vv”).

Franklyn7. Benjamin Franklin Tried To Replace The Alphabet
Founding father Benjamin Franklin is often misquoted as lobbying for the turkey as the national bird over the bald eagle, but other stories of his quirky nationalist reform are entirely true.Franklin created his own alphabet in 1768 to set the Americans apart from the British. Some schools even used it.
The new alphabet modified the English alphabet, preferring sounds formed by breath without the use of the tongue, teeth, or lips. He removed the letters c, j, q, w, x, and y, which he believed were not useful. The hard-c sound was replaced by k, while s replaced the soft-c sound. He also introduced six new letters. One denoted the /o/ sound in words like “folly” and “ball.” One replaced the /sh/ sound in “ship” and “function.” Another replaced “um” and “un.” He also created a letter to represent the /ng/ sound and two to replace the /th/ sound. Benjamin Franklin believed that his new alphabet would be easier to learn and reduce poor spelling. But it found few fans and soon faded away.

washington6. Why Washington Has No J Street
Streets in Washington, D.C. are lettered alphabetically, from “A” to “I.” Then comes “K.” Urban legend says that city planner Washington-Pierre L’Enfant deliberately left out “J” because he held a grudge against Supreme Court Chief Justice John Jay. Pierre also didn’t include a courthouse in his plan for Washington, forcing Jay’s Supreme Court to meet in the basement of the capitol building between 1801 and 1810. This rumor is false. There is no J Street in Washington because back then, J was just another form of letter I. J started off as a design of I, and it was also used to show the end of a Roman numeral—”XIII,” for instance, was written “XIIJ.” In 1524, Italian grammarian Gian Giorgio Trissino differentiated between sounds /i/ and /j/, but the two were still used interchangeably in the 18th century.

x mas
5. Why ‘X’ Is Used In ‘Xmas’
Some Christians take offense at how the letter x replaces “Christ” in “Christmas.” They think that x is used in its capacity as a placeholder for an unknown quantity, in an attempt to secularize Christmas. They are wrong in this belief.The origin of x itself is bizarre and muddled, which is why it represents the unknown in both English and mathematics. X began as the Phoenician letter samekh, which means “fish.” The Phoenicians used it to represent the hard /s/ sound. When the Greeks borrowed it, they renamed it chi and used it to represent the /ks/ sound. The Romans later took the x from the Greek alphabet and paired it with the /x/ sound from the Chalcidian alphabet. The x used in “Xmas” comes from the Greek chi.
Chi is the first letter from the Greek word Χριστoς, which means Christ. As a result, “Xmas” has been used since the 16th century by religious people, and it has been common since the 19th century.

UC and LC

4. Uppercase And Lowercase 
Ours is one of the few alphabets that has uppercase and lowercase letters. Their origin can be traced back to the Latin and Greek alphabets, from which the English alphabet was derived. The Latin and Greek alphabets initially had only capital letters. Small letters were formed when scribes, who had to copy and recopy text, began adding upward or downward strokes to make writing faster.
The change in writing surfaces from rough rock to smooth parchment or vellum also led scribes to write in small letters, as they were now able to make single round strokes instead of multiple strokes. By A.D. 9, small letters had become established, and capital letters were used for emphasis. While some pairs of capital and small letters—Cc, Ff, Ll, Hh, Xx, Oo—look alike, and their origin can be easily guessed, others—Aa, Ee, Gg, Rr—look different. Take r, for instance. The Greeks invented a small r that resembles our present one. Medieval scribes later formed a small r that looked like the capital R. They called it “r rotunda.” The “r rotunda” was later dumped for the Greek small version, which was easier to write and more easily distinguished from the uppercase counterpart.

keyboards
3. Why Keyboards Use ‘QWERTY’
It is commonly said that Christopher Sholes, the inventor of the typewriter, used the QWERTY layout because commonly used letters jammed the machine when set close to each other. This claim hasn’t been confirmed. The first typewriters looked like pianos, with the letters arranged alphabetically. Researchers at Kyoto University found that alphabetical arrangement was changed to QWERTY because telegraph operators found it confusing and inefficient when translating Morse code.
Back then, telegraph operators were usually the first users of new typewriters. In fact, Sholes almost inserted the Morse dot in the place of the r key, making the “qwe.ty” keyboard.Sholes and his associates reached an agreement with gunmaker Remington to help them mass produce the QWERTY typewriter. Remington trained typists, and any organization that wanted to hire them would need to buy Remington QWERTY typewriters. The five largest typewriter companies—Remington, Caligraph, Yost, Densmore, and Smith-Premier—then merged to form the United Typewriter Company. This made the QWERTY system so popular and successful that even Sholes himself could not change it when he wanted to.
When computers came along, they simply adopted the already popular QWERTY keyboard layout. There are typewriter and computer keyboard layouts apart from QWERTY. Dvorak, a typewriter keyboard layout invented by August Dvorak and William Dealey, requires less finger movement than QWERTY so allows faster typing. Other alternatives include “Colemak” and “Capewell.” When the crew at Mashable tested various layouts, they found that QWERTY is the least efficient.

writing

2. How We Began Writing From Left To Right
Unlike Egyptian and Indian hieroglyphics, which used shapes to represent objects, the cuneiform writing system used letters to represent sounds. Cuneiform began to appear around 3500 B.C. It led to the formation of the Phonemic alphabet, on which all modern alphabets are based. Cuneiform was written from left to right. While unconfirmed, it is said that the scribes writing with cuneiform wrote from left to right because they were right-handed and would mess up their work if they wrote from right to left. When Greek first appeared, it was written from right to left. This was later changed to boustrophedon, meaning “ox-turning.” In boustrophedon, the direction of writing changed with every new line. If the first line started from the left, the next would start from the right, the third would start from the left, and so on. Boustrophedon was confusing because individual letters also changed direction as the lines changed. If a word looked normal in one line, it would look inverted in the line directly above or below it, as if viewed through a mirror. Thankfully, boustrophedon soon became obsolete. Writing from left to right became the standard with Greek and Latin alphabets. This was later passed down to the English alphabet.

elimination of Z
1. The Elimination Of ‘Z’
In 2010, the Internet was awash with rumors that the English Language Central Commission (ELCC) had agreed to remove z from the alphabet starting in June. The commission said that it had decided to remove the letter so that pronunciation would be simplified and British and American spelling would be similar. All words that began with z would have x in its place, and those with z elsewhere would gain a new s. So, we would have “xoo,” “xodiac,” and “xero” and “materialise,” “analise,” and “visualise.” The English Language Central Commission had really suggested nothing of the kind.
The whole thing was just an April Fools’ Day prank. But there actually was a time when z was removed from the alphabet.Around 300 B.C., Roman censor Appius Claudius Caecus removed z because it was hardly used and had become archaic. Its pronunciation /z/ had become /r/, a process called rhotacism. The letter z was later restored to the Roman alphabet, but it was used only for words borrowed from Greek. Since it was rarely used, it was placed at the end of the alphabet, where it remained even after the English alphabet formed.

Source : listverse.com

How to Make Sure You Succeed in Online Courses

Make sure

Online classes have a lot to recommend . There’s no commute and the schedule is flexible. But the lack of regular face-to-face contact with an instructor can also make it challenging for some students to meet all the deadlines and make sure they’re absorbing all the material.

As an instructor  of Improving English As a Second Language on line, may I offer these tips for getting the most out of an online class:

Log in consistently
Self-discipline and good planning are keys to success in online courses.man on line
Logging in several times per week lets students see messages from the professor, go through the content and make sure they are on top of the due dates for class materials. Because the classroom is online, students who fail to log in often can find it difficult to keep up. Research has shown that the students that do log on consistently are far more successful than those that don’t,.Being present is really important.

Carve out time for classes
Most students who take online courses have other commitments as well, such as work or a family. Sometimes the online learning gets pushed aside, A key to success is to put several online sessions on the calendar each week . In a traditional classroom, students have a set time to attend and may hear reminders from the professor or other students about upcoming deadlines. With an online class, you have to go in and be proactive.
You will be more successful if at the beginning of the week you make a plan, as opposed to logging on ‘when I have time,’ which is usually never.

Look at the big picture
At the beginning of the course, students should read the outline and syllabus, printing it out if possible so it’s handy for reference. Especially with the first online class or the first course using a particular online system, there’s so much to take in — to find where things are located, to know what’s expected, to read the assignments — that you can’t assimilate it all at first. The syllabus is a good place to start for an overview.

Mark important due dates on your calendar
As they read the syllabus at the beginning of the class, students should write the due dates in their calendar. Time slips by when you’re working and busy. It is suggested tot add reminders a few days before each due date.

Jump into online discussions
Some students feel intimidated by discussion forums, but they’re a crucial part of online learning because they provide interaction with other students. Students should post an introduction if that’s part of the course and then contribute regularly to the discussions. It’s normal to feel a little bit hesitant at first, but it’s best to get involved right away than to do it on the sidelines. You’ll learn far more by getting involved.

Ask a lot of questions
Online courses are set up to provide a lot of information in a lot of ways — and sometimes it can be confusing to figure out who can answer which questions. For questions about uploading an assignment, for example, tech support is a good first contact. For questions about course registration or payment, check with the school’s administrative offices. For questions about completing an assignment, the instructor is the first person to ask, though first check to be sure the answer is not on the syllabus.

These tips may seem like common sense — many of them apply to classroom classes as well, though in slightly different ways. But it takes time to get used to a new medium It’s very different than the face-to-face class,. Once you do it the first time around, then it will start to be far more comfortable.

by Ms. D Sagucio, Ph D. Linguistics

How to Improve Your Memory

 

 

Memory skills

A strong memory depends on the health and vitality of your brain. Whether you’re a student studying for final exams, a working professional interested in doing all you can to stay mentally sharp, or a senior looking to preserve and enhance your grey matter as you age, there are lots of things you can do to improve your memory and mental performance.

 

brain

Harnessing the power of your brain
They say that you can’t teach an old dog new tricks, but when it comes to the brain, scientists have discovered that this old adage simply isn’t true. The human brain has an astonishing ability to adapt and change—even into old age. This ability is known as neuroplasticity. With the right stimulation, your brain can form new neural pathways, alter existing connections, and adapt and react in ever-changing ways.

The brain’s incredible ability to reshape itself holds true when it comes to learning and memory. You can harness the natural power of neuroplasticity to increase your cognitive abilities, enhance your ability to learn new information, and improve your memory.

Improving memory tip 1: Don’t skimp on exercise or sleep

  • Just as an athlete relies on sleep and a nutrition-packed diet to perform his or her best, your ability to remember increases when you nurture your brain with a good diet and other healthy habits.
  • When you exercise the body, you exercise the brain
  • Treating your body well can enhance your ability to process and recall information. Physical exercise increases oxygen to your brain and reduces the risk for disorders that lead to memory loss, such as diabetes and cardiovascular disease. Exercise may also enhance the effects of helpful brain chemicals and protect brain cells.

Improve your memory by sleeping on it

  • When you’re sleep deprived, your brain can’t operate at full capacity. Creativity, problem-solving abilities, and critical thinking skills are compromised. Whether you’re studying, working, or trying to juggle life’s many demands, sleep deprivation is a recipe for disaster.
  • But sleep is critical to learning and memory in an even more fundamental way. Research shows that sleep is necessary for memory consolidation, with the key memory-enhancing activity occurring during the deepest stages of sleep.

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Improving memory tip 2: Make time for friends and fun

  • When you think of ways to improve memory, do you think of “serious” activities such as wrestling with the New York Times crossword puzzle or mastering chess strategy, or do more lighthearted pastimes—hanging out with friends or enjoying a funny movie—come to mind? If you’re like most of us, it’s probably the former. But countless studies show that a life that’s full of friends and fun comes with cognitive benefits.
  • Healthy relationships: the ultimate memory booster
  • Humans are highly social animals. We’re not meant to survive, let alone thrive, in isolation. Relationships stimulate our brains—in fact, interacting with others may be the best kind of brain exercise.
  • Research shows that having meaningful relationships and a strong support system are vital not only to emotional health, but also to brain health. In one recent study from the Harvard School of Public Health, for example, researchers found that people with the most active social lives had the slowest rate of memory decline.
  • There are many ways to start taking advantage of the brain and memory-boosting benefits of socializing. Volunteer, join a club, make it a point to see friends more often, or reach out over the phone. And if a human isn’t handy, don’t overlook the value of a pet—especially the highly-social dog.

have fun

 

Laughter is good for your brain

  • You’ve heard that laughter is the best medicine, and that holds true for the brain as well as the body. Unlike emotional responses, which are limited to specific areas of the brain, laughter engages multiple regions across the whole brain.
  • Furthermore, listening to jokes and working out punch lines activates areas of the brain vital to learning and creativity. As psychologist Daniel Goleman notes in his book Emotional Intelligence, “laughter…seems to help people think more broadly and associate more freely.”

 

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Looking for ways to bring more laughter in your life? Start with these basics:

  • Laugh at yourself. Share your embarrassing moments. The best way to take ourselves less seriously is to talk about the times when we took ourselves too seriously.
  • When you hear laughter, move toward it. Most of the time, people are very happy to share something funny because it gives them an opportunity to laugh again and feed off the humor you find in it. When you hear laughter, seek it out and ask, “What’s funny?”
  • Spend time with fun, playful people. These are people who laugh easily—both at themselves and at life’s absurdities—and who routinely find the humor in everyday events. Their playful point of view and laughter are contagious.
  • Surround yourself with reminders to lighten up. Keep a toy on your desk or in your car. Put up a funny poster in your office. Choose a computer screensaver that makes you laugh. Frame photos of you and your family or friends having fun.
  • Pay attention to children and emulate them. They are the experts on playing, taking life lightly, and laughing.

 

Improving memory tip 3: Keep stress in check
Stress is one of the brain’s worst enemies. Over time, if left unchecked, chronic stress destroys brain cells and damages the hippocampus, the region of the brain involved in the formation of new memories and the retrieval of old ones.

 

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  • The stress-busting, brain-boosting benefits of meditation
  • The scientific evidence for the mental health benefits of meditation continues to pile up. Studies show that meditation helps improve many different types of conditions, including depression, anxiety, chronic pain, diabetes, and high blood pressure. Meditation also can improve focus, concentration, creativity, and learning and reasoning skills.
  • Meditation works its “magic” by changing the actual brain. Brain images show that regular meditators have more activity in the left prefrontal cortex, an area of the brain associated with feelings of joy and equanimity. Meditation also increases the thickness of the cerebral cortex and encourages more connections between brain cells—all of which increases mental sharpness and memory ability.

Depression and anxiety can also affect memory

  • In addition to stress, depression, anxiety, and chronic worrying can also take a heavy toll on the brain. In fact, some of the symptoms of depression and anxiety include difficulty concentrating, making decisions, and remembering things. If you are mentally sluggish because of depression or anxiety, dealing with the problem will make a big difference in your cognitive abilities,including memory.

Improving memory tip 4: Eat a brain-boosting diet
Just as the body needs fuel, so does the brain. You probably already know that a diet based on fruits, vegetables, whole grains, “healthy” fats (such as olive oil, nuts, fish) and lean protein will provide lots of health benefits, but such a diet can also improve memory. But for brain health, it’s not just what you eat—it’s also what you don’t eat. The following nutritional tips will help boost your brainpower and reduce your risk of dementia:

 

diet

  1. Get your omega-3s. More and more evidence indicates that omega-3 fatty acids are particularly beneficial for brain health. Fish is a particularly rich source of omega-3, especially cold water “fatty fish” such as salmon, tuna, halibut, trout, mackerel, sardines, and herring. In addition to boosting brainpower, eating fish may also lower your risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease. If you’re not a fan of seafood, consider non-fish sources of omega-3s such as walnuts, ground flaxseed, flaxseed oil, winter squash, kidney and pinto beans, spinach, broccoli, pumpkin seeds, and soybeans.
  2. Limit calories and saturated fat. Research shows that diets high in saturated fat (from sources such as red meat, whole milk, butter, cheese, sour cream, and ice cream) increase your risk of dementia and impair concentration and memory. Eating too many calories in later life can also increase your risk of cognitive impairment. Talk to your doctor or dietician about developing a healthy eating plan.
  3. Eat more fruit and vegetables. Produce is packed with antioxidants, substances that protect your brain cells from damage. Colorful fruits and vegetables are particularly good antioxidant “superfood” sources. Try leafy green vegetables such as spinach, broccoli, romaine lettuce, Swiss chard, and arugula, and fruit such as bananas, apricots, mangoes, cantaloupe, and watermelon.
  4. Drink green tea. Green tea contains polyphenols, powerful antioxidants that protect against free radicals that can damage brain cells. Among many other benefits, regular consumption of green tea may enhance memory and mental alertness and slow brain aging.
  5. Drink wine (or grape juice) in moderation. Keeping your alcohol consumption in check is key, since alcohol kills brain cells. But in moderation (around 1 glass a day for women; 2 for men), alcohol may actually improve memory and cognition. Red wine appears to be the best option, as it is rich in resveratrol, a flavonoid that boosts blood flow in the brain and reduces the risk of Alzheimer’s disease. Other resveratrol-packed options include grape juice, cranberry juice, fresh grapes and berries, and peanuts.

Use mnemonic devices to make memorization easier
Mnemonics (the initial “m” is silent) are clues of any kind that help us remember something, usually by helping us associate the information we want to remember with a visual image, a sentence, or a word.

 

Nmonics

 

Tips for enhancing your ability to learn and remember

  • Pay attention. You can’t remember something if you never learned it, and you can’t learn something—that is, encode it into your brain—if you don’t pay enough attention to it. It takes about eight seconds of intense focus to process a piece of information into your memory. If you’re easily distracted, pick a quiet place where you won’t be interrupted.
  • Involve as many senses as possible. Try to relate information to colors, textures, smells, and tastes. The physical act of rewriting information can help imprint it onto your brain. Even if you’re a visual learner, read out loud what you want to remember. If you can recite it rhythmically, even better.
  • Relate information to what you already know. Connect new data to information you already remember, whether it’s new material that builds on previous knowledge, or something as simple as an address of someone who lives on a street where you already know someone.
  • For more complex material, focus on understanding basic ideas rather than memorizing isolated details. Practice explaining the ideas to someone else in your own words.

Rehearse information you’ve already learned. Review what you’ve learned the same day you learn it, and at intervals thereafter. This “spaced rehearsal” is more effective than cramming, especially for retaining what you’ve learned.

 

source : help guide.org

Sunglasses: Frequently Asked Questions


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How  Do Sunglasses Work?

There are four things that a good pair of sunglasses should do for you:

  1. Sunglasses provide protection from ultraviolet rays in sunlight. Ultraviolet (UV) light damages the cornea and the retina. Good sunglasses can eliminate UV rays completely.
  2. Sunglasses provide protection from intense light. When the eye receives too much light, it naturally closes the iris. Once it has closed the iris as far as it can, the next step is squinting. If there is still too much light, as there can be when sunlight is reflecting off of snow, the result is damage to the retina. Good sunglasses can block light entering the eyes by as much as 97 percent to avoid damage.
  3. Sunglasses provide protection from glare. Certain surfaces, such as water, can reflect a great deal of light, and the bright spots can be distracting or can hide objects. Good sunglasses can completely eliminate this kind of glare using polarization (we’ll discuss polarization later).
  4. Sunglasses eliminate specific frequencies of light. Certain frequencies of light can blur vision, and others can enhance contrast. Choosing the right color for your sunglasses lets them work better in specific situations.

What to Look For
When you’re buying sunglasses you should make sure you get a pair that will help your eyes. A good pair should provide protection from UV light, protection from intense light, protection from glare, and eliminate specific frequencies of light. Some of the technology used to do this are: tinting, polarization, photochromic lenses, scratch resistant coating, anti-reflective coatings, and UV coatings.

  • If the sun doesn’t bother my eyes, do I still need to wear sunglasses?

Yes. The sun has damaging UV rays that can cause photokeratitis, pingueculae and permanent retinal damage.

What exactly are UV rays? 

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Understanding Light
Good sunglasses are extremely effective “light conditioners.” They modify incoming light to match it to your eyes.A light wave consists of electromagnetic energy.The amount of energy in a light wave is proportionally related to its wavelength: shorter wavelengths have higher energy. Of visible light, violet has the most energy and red the least. Just above the visible light spectrum is ultraviolet (UV) light, and it turns out that natural sunlight is rich in UV light. Because of its high energy, UV light can damage both your cornea and your retina.

What is Glare?
The brightness or intensity of light is measured in lumens. When the brightness of the direct or reflected light gets to about 4,000 lumens, our eyes begin to have difficulty absorbing the light. What we see when we try to look at these brighter areas are flashes of white — this is glare. To reduce the discomfort caused by the amount of light entering our eyes, we squint. Once you get to around 10,000 lumens, your eyes are so bombarded that they begin to completely block out the light. Prolonged exposure to light of such intensity can cause damage resulting in temporary or even permanent blindness.

Visible light is light that can be perceived by the human eye. When you look at the visible light of the sun, it appears to be colorless, which we call white. It is made up of many color frequencies. The combination of every color in the visible spectrum produces a light that is colorless, or white.

When do UV rays affect my eyes?

Most people think that they’re at risk only when they’re outside on a sunny day, but UV light can go right through clouds, so it doesn’t matter if the sky is overcast. The sun’s rays are strongest between 10 am and 2 pm.

Glare and reflections can give you trouble, so have your sunglasses ready if you’ll be around snow, water or sand, or if you’ll be driving (windshields are a big glare source).

Can certain medical problems increase my risk for damage from UV rays?

Yes. People with cataracts (or who have had cataract surgery), macular degeneration and retinal dystrophies should be extra careful. Read more about these conditions in our Eye Problems and Diseases section.

What are my options to prevent UV damage to my eyes?

You must wear sunglasses to prevent damage to your eyes. While some contact lenses provide UV protection, they don’t cover your whole eye, so you still need sunglasses.

Look for sunglasses that protect you from 99 to 100 percent of both UVA and UVB light. This includes those labeled as “UV 400,” which blocks all light rays with wavelengths up to 400 nanometers. (This covers all of UVA and UVB rays.)

Also, you may want to consider wraparound sunglasses to prevent harmful UV rays from entering around the frame.

What are the different kinds of lenses that are available?

With so many lenses available, it’s a good idea to ask a professional optician for help when choosing sunglasses. Different tints can help you see better in certain conditions, and a knowledgeable optician can help you choose sunglass tints that are best suited for your needs.

  • Blue-blockers block blue light and usually have amber lenses. Some evidence indicates blue light is harmful, and could increase risk of eye damage from diseases such as macular degeneration. These lenses are popular among skiers, hunters, boaters and pilots who use them to heighten contrast.
  • Mirror-coated lenses limit the amount of light entering your eyes, so you’re more comfortable.
  • Mirror coatings (also called flash coatings) are highly reflective coatings applied to the front surface of sunglass lenses to reduce the amount of light entering the eye. This makes them especially beneficial for activities in very bright conditions, such as snow skiing on a sunny day.
  • The mirrored sunglasses associated with state troopers are one example of a flash coating. The technology has advanced, however, so that today’s choices in mirror coatings include all colors of the rainbow, as well as silver, gold and copper metallic colors. Hot pink, blue — almost any color is available.

 

colors

Choosing the color of a mirror coating is a purely cosmetic decision. The color of the mirror coating you choose does not influence your color perception — it’s the color of the tinted lens under the coating that determines how mirrored sunglasses affect your color vision.

  • Gradient lenses are tinted from the top down, so that the top of the lens is darkest. These lenses are good for driving, because they shield your eyes from overhead sunlight and allow more light through the bottom half of the lens so you can see your dashboard clearly.
  • Double gradient refers to lenses that are also tinted from the bottom up: The top and bottom are darkest and the middle has a lighter tint. Double gradient lenses are a great choice if you want sunglasses that aren’t too dark, but shield your eyes well against bright overhead sunlight and light reflecting off sand, water and other reflective surfaces at your feet.
  • Photochromic lenses adjust their level of darkness based on the amount of UV light they’re exposed to. Read more about photochromic lenses.

Which lens color is the best?

Lens color is a personal choice and doesn’t affect how well sunglass lenses protect your eyes from UV light. Gray and brown are popular because they distort color perception the least.

Athletes often prefer other tints for their contrast-enhancing properties. For example, yellow lenses are popular with skiers and target shooters because they work well in low light, reduce haze and increase contrast for a sharper image.

What is the best shape for an Oval face shape like me?

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Do I still need those “UV Protective” sunglasses if my lenses are real dark?

Yes! Most people believe that the darkness of the lens is what protects their eyes. The degree of darkness has no effect on UV rays. For adequate protection, you need to buy sunglasses that indicate they block 100 percent of the sun’s UV rays.

 

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Are the more expensive sunglasses of better quality?

Not necessarily. While expensive sunglasses usually are high quality, you can also get a good pair for under $20 if you’re a careful shopper. Just make sure to check that the lenses provide adequate protection from UV light and are free of distortions.

You can also take them to your eye care professional to have the lenses metered to determine the amount of UV that passes through the lenses. That way you can be sure you are getting the most from your sunglasses.

See the difference between  Regular with Polarized Sunglasses

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I wear glasses. What options are available to me?

You can buy prescription sunglasses or glasses with photochromic lenses (which change from clear to dark) from your eye care practitioner. Clip-ons may be a less expensive option, and can be bought at the same time as your regular eyeglasses to perfectly match the frames.

Some eyeglass frames include sun lenses that magnetically attach to the frame. This gives you the convenience of clip-on sunglasses with less risk of scratching your prescription lenses.

 

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Do those sunglasses for specific sports really make a difference?

Yes. Sports eyewear in general tends to be safer than regular sunglasses because the lenses and frames are made of special materials that are unlikely to shatter if struck and can give you the benefits of both sunglasses and protective eyewear.

Also, certain lens colors in performance sunglasses can enhance your vision for certain sports; brown, for example, is popular with golfers because it provides nice contrast on those very green golf courses.

 

 

source: allaboutvision.com

Memory Loss and Dementia

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Many people become forgetful as they become older. This is common and is often not due to dementia. There are also other disorders such as depression and an underactive thyroid that can cause memory problems. Dementia is the most serious form of memory problem. It causes a loss of mental ability, and other symptoms. Dementia can be caused by various disorders which affect parts of the brain involved with thought processes. Most cases are caused by Alzheimer’s disease, vascular dementia, or dementia with Lewy bodies. Symptoms of dementia develop gradually and typically become worse over a number of years. The most important part of treatment for dementia is good-quality support and care for the person with dementia and for their carers. In some cases, treatment with medicines may be helpful.

What is memory loss and what are the causes?
Everybody forgets things from time to time. In general, the things that you tend to forget most easily are the things that you feel do not matter as much. The things that you tend to remember most easily are the things that are important to you – for example, a special birthday. However, some people just seem to have a better memory than others, and some people are more forgetful than others.

There are certain situations that can affect your memory and make you become more forgetful than you normally are. They can include the following.

Poor concentration
If your concentration is poor then you do not notice things as much, and do not retain things as much as you would normally. Poor concentration can be a result of simply being bored or tired. However, it can also be a symptom of depression and anxiety.
Depression
As well as poor concentration, some people with depression also have slowed thinking. This can cause memory problems until the depression clears. Do tell a doctor if you think that you are depressed, as treatment often works well. Other symptoms of depression include: a low mood for most of the time; loss of enjoyment and interest in life; abnormal sadness; weepiness; feelings of guilt or being useless; poor motivation; sleeping problems; tiredness; difficulty with affection; poor appetite; being irritable or restless.

Physical illness
If you feel ill, this can affect concentration and memory. Certain illnesses can directly affect the way your brain works. For example, an underactive thyroid can slow down your body’s functions, including your brain, and can make you more forgetful. Infections such as a chest infection or a urine infection can also cause sudden confusion and memory problems, particularly in older people.

Medicines
Certain medicines can cause confusion and memory problems in some people. For example, some sedative medicines, some painkilling medicines, some medicines that are used to treat Parkinson’s disease, or steroid medicines. Also, if you are taking lots of different medicines, this can increase the risk of them interacting with each other, causing problems, including confusion and memory problems.

Age
As everyone gets older, it often becomes harder to remember things. This is called age-associated memory impairment. Many people over the age of 60 have this common problem, and it is not dementia. For example, it tends to be harder to learn new skills the older you become, or you may more easily forget the names of people you have recently met. It is thought that the more you use your brain when you are older, the more it may counter the development of this age-related decline in memory function. So, doing things such as reading regularly, quizzes, crosswords, memorizing plays or poetry, learning new skills, etc, may help to keep your memory in good shape.

Dementia
Dementia is the most serious form of memory problem. The rest of this leaflet is just about dementia.

What is dementia?
Dementia is a condition of the brain which causes a gradual loss of mental ability, including problems with memory, understanding, judgement, thinking and language. In addition, other problems commonly develop, such as changes in personality and changes in the way a person interacts with others in social situations. As dementia progresses, a person’s ability to look after themself from day to day may also become affected. There are various causes of dementia.

What are the different causes of dementia?
Dementia can be caused by various diseases or disorders which affect the parts of the brain involved with thought processes. However, most cases are caused by Alzheimer’s disease, vascular dementia, or dementia with Lewy bodies (DLB). All of these types of dementia cause similar symptoms but some features may point to a particular cause. However, it may not be possible to say what is causing the dementia in every case.

Common signs and symptoms of dementia include:

  • Memory loss
  • Impaired judgment
  • Difficulties with abstract thinking
  • Faulty reasoning
  • Inappropriate behavior
  • Loss of communication skills
  • Disorientation to time and place
  • Gait, motor, and balance problems
  • Neglect of personal care and safety
  • Hallucinations, paranoia, agitation

signs

Alzheimer’s disease
This is the most common type of dementia, causing about half of all cases. It is named after the doctor who first described it. In Alzheimer’s disease the brain shrinks (atrophies) and the numbers of nerve fibres in the brain gradually reduce. The amount of some brain chemicals (neurotransmitters) is also reduced – in particular, one called acetylcholine. These chemicals help to send messages between brain cells. Tiny deposits called plaques also form throughout the brain. It is not known why these changes in the brain occur, or exactly how they cause dementia. Alzheimer’s disease gradually progresses (worsens) over time as the brain becomes more and more affected.

source : Patient.com.uk