UGM Tech

Business and Technology Blog Run by UGM Students

The art of essay writing

Society in general is changing and so is the way we teach. But on top of changing teaching practices, how we learn is also a factor in todays classrooms. There are many resources that are available to assist in the improvement of learning and understanding of general teachings, however at the fundamental there is one practice that needs more attention than it is given: the art of writing essays.

Scripture

Scripture is also known as cursive hand writing. This beautiful hand-written style is for the most part no longer taught in the classrooms. There are many reasons for this with the two-primary pointing to lack of teacher interest or ability and general inability of students. However, there are some major downfalls to not learning this style of writing.

First, most banks still expect a signature to sign for any document with them. This can be easily replicated by almost everyone since the lack of cursive has been replaced with printed writing. Second, passports; one of the most important documents we will sign in our lives, may need to be replaced if a portion of it has been started in one writing style, then switched to another due to lack of knowledge. Or worse, when a person cannot read a document that is given to you, written in script.

Research

Third, and finally the ability to document research in a post secondary environment can be drastically affected by the lack of ability to hand write documents. This all ties back to the digital age and the changing academic structures youth are being raised and educated in today. These changes are also determining a persons’ ability to connect with a younger self, through reflection in the context of text.

Its not all bad news

Although the loss of this critical way to decipher writing is slowly being lost, the collective whole is utilizing the extended resources to improve their education. This includes having access to knowledge on a topic for a custom essay, that may not have previously been available. Access is improving writing in a digital age, because the expectation is that there should be ‘no stone unturned’, and the internet can do that for a student.

Teach the Focus

With these strategies in mind, todays teachers are excluding cursive writing from the curriculum in favor of inclusive digital ideas. Whether it is incorporating video game technology or the direct involvement of hand eye coordination improvement, students are learning more important topics and the related information faster, easier and with less distractions from information that is not applicable.

Applicable information

What is so great about this type of learning? Children are learning in a way that removes all the ‘fluff’ and unnecessary information. Basically, they are also learning how to focus learning processes. And through this learning process, in turn, the information they write about in research reports is more focused, more straight to the point and less like a 30 page thesis that includes every aspect of a topic to prove a point.

Five ways in which technology has brought disruptions to our daily lives

 

To explain simply, disruptions offer a more affordable and convenient alternative to a traditional and existing product. Most industries have been disrupted by use of technology, but technology also has had a profound impact on making our day-to-day lives easier. Thanks to internet-based alternatives, most of our everyday requirements can be fulfilled without even stepping out of home. Here’s a short list of five disruptive technologies that people use on a regular basis. It is possible to recall their precursors sentimentally, but we don’t really miss them much.

 

  1. Shopping: Whether its purchasing the monthly groceries or clothes or electronics or even the furniture used at home, the entire shopping experience has undergone a dramatic transformation, thanks to easier options available on the internet. The era when weekend shopping entailed wading through the crowd at the market, haggling over the prices and then struggling to produce the exact change is a thing of the past.

 

  1. Commuting and communication: Going to work usually involved negotiating the traffic while driving or searching for a means of transport, which isn’t easily available- particularly during peak hour. All that changed with the arrival of cab aggregators, which offer the luxury of cars waiting at your doorstep when you want to go out. There are apps that tell you which route to avoid and when to wait for public transport.

    Similarly, communication technologies have evolved to the point where the frequency with which the calling feature is used on a mobile phone is steadily on the decrease. In fact, most communications these days are through social media or texting, while emails have largely become a means of formal communication.

 

  1. Dining and Entertainment: Thanks to online apps, it is possible to get food from your favourite restaurant delivered right at your doorstep or your office desk. There is no need to call up a restaurant during peak hour- when numbers are invariably hard to get- or lose time waiting for the table to get free.

    Similarly, name any form of entertainment and it is all available right on your fingertips, thanks to online platforms like Youtube, Prime Videos or Netflix. Users today are spoilt for choice, a far cry from the time when they were dependent on the content that was available on television or the neighbourhood CD store.

 

  1. Travel & Tourism: The entire process of planning a trip, from identifying the destination, shortlisting the places to see, making hotel and travel bookings, identifying restaurants, etc can be done online. It does not end there. The images and experiences of the trip can be shared on social media platforms. The only aspect of the journey that remains offline is the visa process. There too, the internet helps eliminate much of the uncertainty. For instance, online portals provide extensive information regarding Schengen visa requirements for Indians.

 

  1. Banking: When was the last time you visited the branch where you keep you bank account? Chances are, you do not even remember. Thanks to online banking, even processes like paying your monthly rent, utility bills or loan instalments can be automated by issuing an automated instruction.

The Technology of Terror: how advances in tech help and hinder terrorism

Preventing violent extremism and foiling terror plots is one of the largest challenges faced by governments and security forces today, and it seems technology is both the problem and the solution.

Sometimes, our technologies of convenience can work against us to the benefit of extremists. The Internet of Things (IoT), integration with cloud systems, the ease of purchasing goods and services online, social media content and encrypted communications… these advancements in technology play right into the hands of terrorists, allowing them to spread propaganda, organise and recruit new members.

But it’s these same technologies that also arm counter-terrorism with the tools to fight back, which is why governments and security forces have teamed up with tech companies and developers to tackle the complex issue of global security in the 21st Century.

Social media is a double-edged sword. Experts have raised concerns about the ability of organisations like Islamic State to use social media platforms to engage, recruit and encourage lone-wolf extremists overseas, but researchers at Harvard University have shown how social media can be used to fight back. Using text analysis and data-mining techniques to pinpoint when an individual is radicalized and begins to adopt extremist behaviours. Studies have also shown how language patterns used by certain extremist groups can differ in the months leading up to an attack and how this data can be used to predict and prevent violent attacks from being carried out.

The IoT has tremendously increased in the amount of data being generated. A wealth of information created by people and their devices, which provide security professionals opportunities to analyse human behaviour at an incredibly precise level. At the same time, analysing terabytes and petabytes worth of data means the proverbial haystack increases dramatically, making it more difficult to find the needle, and accurately identify credible threats.

The adoption of electronic visa and visas on arrival were heralded as a win for open-borders and a major boost for tourism, worldwide. But there have been concerns from governments that terrorists are exploiting temporary and tourist visas. This year 45 foreign terrorists were arrested in Kuala Lumpur. Malaysian authorities believe the influx of foreign fighters are coming into the country on student or employment visas, or enlisting the aid of syndicates to create fake travel documents that would make them eligible for short term tourist visas, the Malaysia entri visa is one such example.

Despite involved security measures by airports and airlines, those looking to uncover and exploit weaknesses within the system will find new and innovative ways to do so.

Corporate initiatives like the Global Internet Forum to Counter Terrorism, aim to work in tangent with governments to curb the spread of extremism online. Launched in June, it includes tech giants like Microsoft, Facebook, YouTube and Google and aims to support technological solutions, research and share pertinent information concerning extremist activities on their platforms. When it comes to combating terrorism with technology, strategic partnerships and collaboration between private enterprise and governments is an important part of the answer.

Should job application skills be taught in university?

A job application is the first step for a prospective graduate in the process of their forward pathway into landing employment . The application is the beginning of the employment process for most employers. For many graduates finishing their tertiary education, employment is the next chapter in their lives. With many graduates only learning the hard way that the job application is not just another school assignment, I believe that basic job application skills should be taught in university. There are three key components of a job application where universities can add significant amounts of value to ensure that their graduates have a pathway to employment:

Resume:

The resume is the key document required in almost all job applications, which a potential employer sees regarding the job seeker and is used to screen applicants, often followed by an interview. Universities can implement basic resume writing skills through workshops, or implement this as a regular course.

Cover letter

The cover letter is a way for graduates to introduce themselves to potential employers and explaining their suitability for the desired positions. Employers may look for individualized and thoughtfully written cover letters as a method of screening out applicants. It is becoming ever so important for graduates to be able to write a good cover letter in order to stand out. We highly recommend you don’t use an essay helper service, as this hinders creativity and means that article has no “you” in it.

  1. Cover letter planning

Stringing points together in a cohesive flow is a key skill to have. It is important not to get into too much detail – writing keywords and phrases are the best solution. This can help the graduate focus on their strengths.

  1. Encouraging originality

Employers are often looking for originality and quality. The cover letter is an opportunity to impress an admissions officer with their determination and knowledge of your chosen subject. It should reflect their skills and ambitions, and highlight how the role will help them achieve future goals. Encouraging originality can be critical in helping the graduate’s cover letter stand out.

  1. Proofreading

Proofreading is a critical skill that should be taught in university. It is a form of quality assurance. Even minor mistakes in spelling or grammar may reduce the graduate’s chances of landing employment – given so many other candidates are vying for the same spot.

Application questions:

Many employers often ask questions in addition to reviewing the resume and cover letter of the prospective employee. Employers will ask competency questions to assess if you possess the skills and traits that will help you be successful in the role. Universities can prepare their graduates by teaching them how to approach application questions. Structuring answers is a skill that should be taught at universities in the course of study, but often many graduates do not know how to apply this to a job application.

To conclude, job application skills should be taught at university. Graduates will have basic skills such as essay writing and answering questions. However, there is ample opportunity for universities to teach graduates how to apply these skills to a job application.

Why Developers and Project Managers Should Move to Angular 4

Angular 2 was released last year after two years of development. Since then, many top companies have used Angular to create their apps and websites. These include PayPal, Netflix, Upwork, and more. Thompson Reuters also made a significant investment in Angular. If you want to remain on the cutting edge of tech, it would be a wise investment to follow the route of these industry leaders and partake in Angular 4 training for your team.

If you are a developer or project manager, you should know why moving to Angular sooner rather than later is important. There has been a huge shift in the modern stack. These factors include the move to components, es6 and TypeScript, a new architecture for building larger web applications, and functional immutable benefits to large scale applications.

A different way of managing data includes a new way of thinking. This becomes important as Angular applications get bigger. Most people think of web applications in terms of form, but they are not really monolithic applications.

There are more a collection of components. Those collections have to talk to one another. What Angular did was use a clearer component approach. It used a different way of communicating across components.

Where there are multiple applications states and part the application, things can get messy with them talking to each other. But now Angular can isolate the states, control the updates and manage them in a smooth, one-way data flow. All updates are controlled. One way data flow from the application state into the components allows for them to talk to each other without knowing much about each other. It has a drastic impact on app architecture.

The impact of Angular is that it enables developers to build larger applications. It has significant performance improvements. It allows larger applications to be broken into smaller pieces. Teams can be scaled up more effectively.

If developers aren’t moving to Angular 4 now, they should move to Angular-type practices or plan them out because it will have a massive impact in their long-term application strategy. It’s a big shift.

The immediate technical debt is significant because when developers are on a prior version, they are building something that has to be moved later in the future. It’s an impact in terms of scaling. It’s also an impact in terms of what is being invested in the applications from a continued development perspective.

Developers and project managers can ask themselves about their technical debt run rate. How much of their budget is going to technical debt? What’s the net present value cost of this? Please do the math and base decisions based on that.

If they are on an older framework, they might be writing code that will be hard to migrate in the future. They might have significant technical debt investment. They should figure out how to minimize that in order to get most value for the IT spent. Angular 4 was launched earlier this year and version 4.3 has just been added. Get your money’s worth. Invest in updating your team’s skills and it will save you money in the long run.

Small Business and the Digital Shift


Until recently, small businesses have been left out in the cold when it comes to advances in business technologies. In Australia only 15% of the business market have signed on to cloud services, and small businesses make up a large portion of this number.

With more and more aspects of our everyday life taking place on the cloud, it’s becoming vital for even the smallest businesses to integrate it into their workplace. In fact, studies have shown that adopting new technologies is a key factor in their raising productivity.

When it comes to new tech, one of the major deterrents for small businesses is the cost and time involved in training employees to make the shift over to digital, and that old saying ‘if it’s broke, don’t fix it’ certainly comes in to play. But with more and more consumers preferring to shop online, and looking for mobile solutions, it doesn’t make sense to ignore their demands.

According to Kim Stevenson, Senior Vice President & General Manager, Data Center Infrastructure at Lenovo, today every business is a technology business, and tight integration of hardware, software and services is key to improving the customer experience.

Finding ways to incorporate the various aspects of your business is certainly not an easy task for those of us with only a few employees. But much like the tech side of things, innovative management styles, like the agile methodology, are beginning to trickle down to the small business sector. At its core, being “agile” is really a common-sense approach that involves increasing collaboration between team members and reducing risk, while putting the focus squarely on customer satisfaction.

Originally the agile system was developed for software development companies, but start-up’s and large corporations from all sectors have been benefitting from agile management styles for a while. If the term sounds like complete jargon to you, don’t worry too much, there are plenty of organizations that offer short courses in CSM Certification Training to help you and your employees get up to speed.

Regardless of how you begin to incorporate new technology into your business, there are some areas which you should consider prioritizing.

With more and more devices connecting to the internet every day, security online is becoming a major concern for all business operators, and most small businesses rank cyber security as their number one issue. The costs involved in a leak of financial records, customer details or product designs are a burden for a business of any size. Microsoft operating systems come in built with a range of security features, but this is an area where its often worth biting the bullet and installing something beefier, like Webroot to really protect your business from the ever evolving threats of malware and other viruses.

Cloud-based collaborative software, like Google drive, or Samepage can help you stay connected with employees remotely, and connect with your customers with Customer Relationship Management (CRM) platforms, like Clari or Salesforce.

How online websites are feeding gambling addicts’ addictions

Addiction comes in many forms and manifests itself in varying ways. For gambling addicts, not having access to a casino is not a problem these days, as the internet makes a plethora of gambling facilities available to them to feed their habit. While most would think of the stereotypical gambler as someone who frequents the casino, these days it could be just anyone sitting in front of the computer or playing with their smartphone.

It’s said that in recent years there has been an explosion of online gambling, leading to the rise of a new generation of gamblers. With new online gambling and betting sites and apps run from foreign countries constantly vying for new customers, it’s not at all difficult for anyone to gain access to it. These websites and apps — which also run ads to lure people in — offer anything from online poker to horse betting 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. This also makes it difficult for recovering gambling addicts to stop feeding their addiction.

Like online games, online betting and gambling are designed to be an escape from reality. Regardless of the type of bet or game, these online sites and apps are always trying to find ways to maximize the users’ time on screen, with the ultimate goal of reaping huge profits. As with casinos, “given enough time, the house always wins.”

A sharp increase in the number of people addicted to gambling in the UK has been attributed to this. The figures are shocking. The Independent reported in 2013 that charity organization GamCare said it “received more than 54,000 calls last year – up almost 4,000 on the previous 12 months. Half of all women callers to their helplines had problems with internet gambling compared to a third of men, up from 44 per cent on 2011 figures.”

Countless documented cases of online gambling addiction point to desperation, crime, and the breakdown of careers and relationships. Lawmakers have found it hard to keep up. Measures that are being considered by the UK government to alleviate the problem include blocking online gambling sites like Lapalingo completely or blocking them from accepting credit card payments for bets.

The online gambling phenomenon isn’t exclusive to the UK. Last year, it was brought to the attention of California lawmakers that fantasy sports websites can also spur addiction to gambling. Heavily marketed to the “younger, tech-savvy crowd new to wagering,” fantasy sports sites gets players to pay to choose a lineup of real professional athletes for their virtual football, baseball, or basketball teams. Players stand a chance to win cash prizes based on statistics from the athletes’ real-game performance.

American politician Adam Gray, who is serving in the California State Assembly, says that such websites should be regulated instead of banned. Gray made the first real attempt to regulate the industry in 2015, leading to the regulatory bill being passed with a nearly unanimous vote. The bill requires Daily Fantasy Sports websites “to include information on how compulsive gamers can get help, prohibit them from extending credit to players and mandate that a form be provided that would allow those with problems to exclude themselves from future play.”

How to Start Working as a Freelance Web Designer

Portfolio careers are increasingly becoming a strong contender to the full-time 9-5 job. They allow for flexibility and the creativity to pursue whatever interests you. There is no one telling you what to do and what is expected of you, you are your own boss. Many positives come with working as a freelancer and there are many avenues one might look to become one. As most of the work is online, website building and web design is a popular industry that freelancers do work in given they will most likely create their own website at one point or another.

Below are some tips to help you get started with picking up freelance web design jobs.

 

Build your own site to display your portfolio

If you want a web design job, you need to show prospecting clients what you are capable of, and your creative flair. Creating your portfolio website is the first thing you’ll use to communicate and start getting freelance jobs. Clients look for impressive portfolios so they know the person they choose to go with can do a good job.

Your portfolio is the first thing potential employers will look at when considering you, so it needs to be a real reflection of your skills and yourself. What your portfolio consists of will be outlined in the next tip, but before you can load up your portfolio, you need to create the website first.

 

Fill up your portfolio with projects

Now that you’ve got your own site built, it’s time to load it up with everything you’ve done or are going to do. Of course you’ll include any work you’ve done for companies or clients (with their permission). Don’t stress if you haven’t done many… or any “real” projects. You can look at building an imaginary portfolio with different possible future clients in mind, or take a course to up your skill and/or become certified.

 

Score some freelance projects

Once you’ve established your web design background, you’ll get a chance to build your experience while helping you round out your portfolio through various freelance opportunities you can now apply for. Since you’re starting out, the projects don’t have to be huge ones. You can offer, for example, to re-do the navigation for a local restaurant’s website or to create an HTML newsletter for a charity organisation.

And you might consider doing some charity yourself—in the form of pro bono projects. You won’t be bringing home any bacon from them, but they’ll be a great addition to your portfolio, and you can actually make unpaid projects pay off you in lots of ways that will boost your job search and your career.

How to Write a Commanding Personal Statement for Job Applications

Some job application forms include a space for candidates to write something about themselves that will convince the employers to employ them. Otherwise, this will be an introduction to your CV or resume, and will typically be the first thing your employer will see when reading the document. A critical aspect of creating an effective CV is writing a personal statement that enables the business or employer to quickly summarize who you are, and gain insight on the strategic value you can add to their organisation.

The rough steps to take when writing your personal statement would look like:

  1. Envision your audience and who will be reading it. There will be no one-statement-fits-all. It is worth taking a moment to think about who will be reading your statement and what they might be looking for, and tailor your personal statement for each one.
  2. Plan your personal statement. Use this opportunity to list things that are not evident elsewhere in your application and explain why these achievements are of value to this employer. Highlight key skills such as communication and teamwork skills.
  3. Begin the first draft of your personal statement. This will go through multiple iterations, changing slightly with each different employer. Incorporate the achievements you have identified, your career goals and your answers to the employer’s questions.
  4. Proofread and revise your personal statement. Reread your statement and check to see if it makes sense. Make sure that sentence flow is smooth and add phrases to help connect thoughts or ideas. It is important to ensure that you are not repeating yourself anywhere else in your application.

When you’re writing the personal statement, you may want to consider several things to ensure that it can convey the message effectively.

  • Try to hold the attention of the reader.
  • Address any specific questions that are asked – you can’t get away from answering them. Ignoring them leads to instant failure.
  • Be specific and provide appropriate evidence, ie. If you state that you are proficient in a certain skill in your personal statement, use an achievement or mention a role to back it up.
  • Make your personal statement unique or distinctive in some way – It is common to give a detailed example of something specific to your own experience.
  • Be concise, succinct, and avoid using ambiguous words or overly long sentences.

With these in mind, a short, sharp, and simple personal statement would look like the following:

“A recent Computer Science graduate with a 2:1 honours degree from the University of X, looking to secure a Graduate Web Developer position to use and further develop my technical skills and knowledge in a practical and fast-paced environment. My career goal is to assume a role which allows me to take responsibility for the development of applications for a well-respected and market-leading leading company.”

Are International Standards of Teacher Certification Satisfactory?

 

 

Regarding certification, there is the National Board Certification; an avenue which allows the teachers to prove their expertise in classrooms, improve their interaction with students and demonstrate their professional skills.

What are the current certification standards?

Currently, the existing standards provide a lot of benefits to the schools, teachers, and students. National Board Certification is one of the main certifications embraced by teachers. Its aim is to develop, keep and acknowledge successful teachers. It also aims at enhancing improvement in the schools. Standards are created by the teachers for the teachers. They explain the activities that the teachers should undertake for them to be effective and also to improve the achievements and learning process for the students.

The certification comprises of four components:

  • Examining of content knowledge.
  • Analysis of teaching practice.
  • Assessment of student work.
  • Compiling of impact assessment and integrating it with student learning.

The process of certification has been made affordable, practical and easily adaptable by focusing on the nature of teachers’ schedules and time. Over a period the National Board Certification has looked into reviewing and amending the certification processes to portray the teaching practices at its best. The process of certification ensures that the teachers can relate well with other teachers undertaking the certification and also enables them to put into practice what they are learning while in the classrooms.

Are the certification standards sufficient?

Yes, they are sufficient. The teachers that are certified have a notable outcome compared to those that are non-certified. Students whose teachers are certified have outstanding performances compared to their peers whose teachers are not certified. Schools and parents seek for the certified teachers because they have unique traits and they have a greater influence on the students’ performances. Parents should, therefore, ensure that the teachers assigned to the students are certified since they are very competitive and are geared towards achieving quality education standard and bringing out the best in the students.

The certification standards are beneficial to schools in that certified teachers within the school major more of excellence and professionalism. These schools are characterized by well-organized leadership and management plan, student involvement, improved teachers’ commitment and retention level, and increased morale among the teachers. Schools are therefore encouraged to employ and incorporate certified teachers so as to achieve their goals and to be competitive in the education sector.

To the teachers, the certification gives them a competitive advantage over their colleagues who are not certified. It helps them increase their knowledge in different areas and build their confidence. Students can ask for help from “write my essay” services on various topics. Employers will look for certified teachers because they believe that they meet the required standards and they are outstanding in work delivery. Teachers with this certification will advance their careers faster due to the knowledge and expertise they have. It is therefore advisable that all existing and new teachers undertake this certification to boost their experience and improve their performance in the teaching fraternity.