Tuesday, February 20, 2007

How to write a quick research paper

I don't know about you but I have had some very scary experiences in the past when I needed to submit a report or paper in a matter of hours. The natural tendency of course is to rely on stock knowledge, but that can be as devastating as not submitting the report or paper on time or not at all. I have learned from those experiences though.

Two or three reports ago I discovered Google Notebook. It is a free browser tool which makes web research easier and more efficient.
Google Notebook is a free browser tool that makes web research of all kinds – from planning a vacation to comparison shopping to purchasing a car – easier and more efficient. It enables users to collect clips of web content in an online Notebook without ever leaving the web page they're on. Users can then add notes to their clippings, organize their notebooks into sections, and make their notebooks public for other users to view on the Google Notebook search page.
To get started, you just have to go to Google Notebook's homepage and sign in using your regular Google username and password. Then you need to create a notebook and download and install the Google Notebook browser extension. Once you've installed it, you can restart your browser and begin to use the tool. To use, you have to select any text or graphic appearing on your browser and then right click and choose "note this". The text will then be pasted on your notebook with the hypertext link to its source.

What makes the Notebook fun is that you can reorganize your notes in preparation of writing your report or paper. You can add your own comments. You can divide notes by sections. You can drag-and-drop notes and put them where you want them. A blog, Efficient Academic, describes what you can do.
  • Clip useful information. You can add clippings of text, images and links from web pages to your Google Notebook without ever leaving your browser window.
  • Organize your notes. You can create multiple notebooks, divide them into sections, and drag-and-drop your notes to stay organized.
  • Get access from anywhere. You can access your Google Notebooks from any computer by using your Google Account login.
  • Publish your notebook. You can share your Google Notebook with the world by making it public.
You can then start writing your first draft, making sure of course that you write every paragraph using your own words. If you need to quote anything, make sure you put them in quotes (or indent them) and acknowledge the source by proper citation. Remember that it is so easy to commit plagiarism in this modern cut-and-paste world. For proper citation formats, you may refer to this page.

Friday, February 16, 2007

Free Online Courses

The best things in life are free, or so they say. One of the beauty of the Internet is that you get access to a lot of self-help material at no cost - except of course the cost of accessing the world wide web. I searched recently for free online courses and was happy to find the following.

Free education on the Internet at http://www.free-ed.net. It has courses on information technology, business, management, economics, among others. The IT courses include Visual Basic, Web Page Authoring, MS Office, Frontpage, even Red Hat Linux. Those on business, management and economics include Business Management, Modern Marketing, Bookkeeping and Accounting.

Links to free online language courses at http://www.word2word.com. These include links to courses on just about every major language in the world including Spanish, French, German, Russian and others. I even saw Cebuano there.

Another interesting site is Josh Kaufman's Personal MBA site at http://joshkaufman.net. He describes it as an experiment in educational entrepreneurism. Its purpose is to show how to substantially increase knowledge of business on ones own time and with little cost, all without setting foot inside a classroom.

Quite interesting information from few seconds of searching. Soon, I will add to this blog a continuing list of all these free online courses.

Thursday, February 15, 2007

Accounting for Non-Accountants 3

Assets are debit accounts. This means that they are accounts normally at the left side of the accounting equation. To increase, you debit the account. To decrease, you credit it. On the other hand, liabilities and equity are credit accounts. They are normally at the right side of the equation. To increase, you credit them. To decrease, you debit them.

This increase/decrease of account balances is done by the recording of transactions through a journal entry. A journal is considered in accounting as the book of original entry. This is where transactions are first recorded or entered. The entry looks like this:

Cash P250
Accounts Receivable P250
To record payment of
accounts receivable

Entries will then be posted to what is known as the ledger. Using the ledger, the balances of each account may be computed at the end of an accounting period. The balances will then be the basis for the preparation of the business's financial statements. It is these statements which will be audited in order to determine whether it represents fairly the results of operation and financial condition of the business.

That to me is the accounting cycle. If you want to know more about accounting, visit this tutorial site: http://www.dwmbeancounter.com.

Monday, February 12, 2007

Accounting for Non-Accountants 2

Survived my lecture on the topic. Let me then continue these notes for those who may be interested.

Accounting uses "accounts" to record transactions. A list of these accounts is contained in the chart of accounts, a primary document of an accounting system. In fact, when you hear an accountant say that he or she will be setting up the books of a business, one of the first things he or she actually does is to prepare a chart of accounts.

Accounts are generally classified into assets, liabilities, equity, revenue and expense accounts. Assets are the economic resources of a business. They are either current, meaning readily convertible to cash, or long-term or fixed assets, those not easily convertible. On the other hand, liabilities are the obligations of a business, or the claims of creditors to the resources of a business. Like assets, they are also classified into current and long-term.

Equity represents the rights of owners over the resources of the business. It is also to referred to as the net worth of the business - the value of its assets less liabilities. This is increased by revenues or income earned, and decreased by expenses, meaning the costs of operations and other activities incurred during the accounting period.

Friday, February 9, 2007

Accounting for Non-Accountants 1

Accounting they say is the language of business. It is the art of analyzing, recording, summarizing, reporting, reviewing, and interpreting financial information. No matter what language they speak, businessmen around the world use accounting to keep track of the performance of their businesses.

The idea is that the total assets of a business is equal to the total claims of its creditors and the equity of its owners or stockholders. This fundamental equation may be extended to include revenues which are essentially additions, and expenses which are deductions from owners' equity.

To maintain the balance of this accounting equation, standard accounting makes use of the double-entry method in recording transactions. This means that for every debit, there is a corresponding amount of credit. Any error would result to a discrepancy, a "disbalanse" in Filipino, and nothing is more irritating to the one maintaining the books.

Saturday, February 3, 2007

Distance learning defined

The Open University of the University of the Philippines, in their website's FAQ, defines distance education as any of the various forms of study, wherein students and teachers are physically separated. Accordign to them, students are encouraged to have independent self-learning styles. They study in their own places of residence using specially designed learning materials. These learning packages consist of print materials, and sometimes, audio-video tapes & CD ROM.

The Open University offers undergraduate, diploma, masteral and doctoral courses, even non-formal certificate programs. These courses include "interesting" courses like Master in Public Management, Master in Information Systems, and Masters in Distance Learning. Among the certificate programs also is the Professional Teaching Certificate Program designed to give non-education graduates the 18 units of professional education courses.

For those considering, the deadline for applications for admission in the first semester for undergraduate courses was last January 30, and for matesral, doctoral and other programs, this coming February 28. For the second semester, the deadline for all courses/programs is on June 30. For more information, just visit their website.