Tech Tip Tuesday: Assigning Tasks in Google Docs

posted Jul 7, 2017, 8:42 AM by Tech Training   [ updated Jul 7, 2017, 9:08 AM ]

When collaborating on documents, it’s key that communication is streamlined and that all tasks are accounted for. You may be aware of the commenting function in Google Docs, but did you know that you can now assign team members to work on specific portions of a document without leaving the application? This is done with the G+ Suite’s Action Items. Read below to learn about Action Items and saving time.  

A series of Google Doc Icons, separate colored sheets of paper with the text "Google Docs" underneath.
Image courtesy of KDLT News

Assigning Tasks in Google Docs
1. Working within Google Docs, highlight the portion of the document you wish to assign to a team member. 
2. Next, using Google’s Natural Language Processing, you can simply type + the user’s name or email address and Google will suggest potential teammates you wish to alert.  
Step one icon on image of Google Doc Text Highlighted with a step two icon on the comment Box on the right. Within Comment Box, is being typed.

3. After you have selected the user, you can add a message.
4. Then select the Assign to checkbox
5. Click Assign.
Step three icon on text that reads " Please review the follow portion for errors." Step four icon on check-marked box  to "Assign to acurban@cougars..." Step five icon on blue Assign button.

6. Now that you have clicked Assign, this assignation will appear at the bottom of the comment box. 

Now, let’s take a look at how this call to action—literally called an “Action Item”—is presented on the assignees side. 

1. Google will first alert the user via an email notification, but Google does more than just that. Upon logging into Google Docs, the user is presented with their most recent documents. On further inspection, we can see that the first document has an alert for one actionable item.  
Example of a document preview icon with a grey circle with a grey circle with the number one in it representing one Action Item assigned.

2. Viewing the document, we now see that a new comment has been added. Unlike most comments, however, it shows that a section is assigned to you and includes a checkmark to mark the assignment as complete.
Image of highlighted text within a Google Doc. On the right, there is a comment box. This comment box at the top reads “Assigned to you” with a check mark button.

This manual assignment can even be done in Google’s Sheets and Slides. Go out and give it a try!

Don’t let Visio Templates Confine You: Create Your Own Custom Stencils

posted Jun 12, 2017, 8:12 AM by Tech Training

A stencil (.vss file) is a collection of shapes associated with a particular Microsoft Office Visio template (.vst file). You can create a new stencil to hold shapes that you use often and want to find quickly. After you have created your new stencil, you can then save it to reuse later or share it with other people.* Read below to get started. 

Blue Microsoft Visio icon, a notebook with a V on the cover and diagram on the first page.

Don’t let Visio Templates Confine You: Create Your Own Custom Stencils
1. First, determine which shapes you would like to add to your new custom stencil. Right-click the desired shape.
2. Hover over Add to My Shapes.
3. Then select Add to New Stencil.
Image of Visio Screen with directions matching steps 1, 2, and 3.

4. Give the the .vss (your Stencil) file a new name.
5. To access your new stencil, select More Shapes in the left-hand Shapes pane. 
6. Then hover over My Shapes
7. Select your new stencil
Image of Visio screen, showing drop-down menu options described in steps 5, 6, and 7.

Observe that your selected shape has been added to your new stencil. Of course, you can keep adding to this stencil as you work with visio. Instead of selecting Add to New Stencil, simply select Add to Existing Stencil. To share this stencil, give the .vss file to whomever and make sure they place this file in their My Shapes folder

*Introduction courtesy of Microsoft Office Support

Tech Tip Tuesday: Become a Colleague Pro with these Shortcut Keys

posted May 19, 2017, 7:22 AM by Tech Training   [ updated May 19, 2017, 7:31 AM ]

Whether you’re a Colleague wizard or fledgling, you may not be aware that like many applications, Colleague provides users with shortcut keys to save time. See below to get started. 

Purple Background with text saying Colleague UI By Ellucian

Become a Colleague Pro with these Shortcut Keys
I suggest printing the following tables out and keeping them next to your computer as you work in Colleague. Experiment with them. Find which shortcuts fit your fingers. 
The shortcuts listed below are available in UI when you are not working within a UI form:

Change focus to search box for Person search:


Change focus to search box for Form search:


Show search results panel:


Show Clear History dialog box:


Show Advanced Search dialog box:


Show Navigation Panel:


Show Favorites Panel:


Show Preferences Dialog Box:


Logout/Close Application:


Show Debug Information:


Show Main UI Help:


Show Quick Tour:


Show Keyboard Shortcuts:


Show Help About Dialog Box:


Map current record in Context Area:


Map all records in Context Area:


Add current record in Context Area to Favorite:


Add all records in Context Area to Favorites:


Go to next record in Context Area:


Go to previous record in Context Area:


Launch Copy Window for current card in Context Area:


Close open panels:


The keyboard shortcuts listed below are available only when working within a UI form (alternative keyboard combinations separated by /). Most of these commands are also accessible with the mouse from the UI Form Options menu.

NOTE: Some of these shortcuts may not work in all browsers. Browser plug-ins or other applications may override these shortcuts and activate different commands.

Move to the next field:


Move to the previous field:


Move forward one row:


Move back one row:


Move forward one screen:


Move backward one screen:


Move to the beginning of the current field:


Move to the end of the current field:


Move to the first row of a window:


Move to the last row of a window:


Field insert:


Field delete:




Save (Update):

F10 (Not available on Safari)

Close (Finish):

F9 (Not available on Safari)


F2 (Not available on Safari)

Direct Access:


Record Delete:

Shift + F10 (not available on Safari)


Shift + F9 (not available on Safari)

Field Help:


Process Help:

Shift + F1

Tech Tip Tuesday: In charge of note taking at your next meeting? Integrate Outlook Meeting details into OneNote.

posted May 2, 2017, 7:36 AM by Tech Training   [ updated May 2, 2017, 7:39 AM ]

Rather than spending time writing out the details of a meeting before it even begins, why not let OneNote and Outlook do the work for you? Unleash the power of OneNote by drawing appointment information from Outlook. OneNote will automatically generate information such as date, time, location, subject, and who should be there. As a bonus, you can even track attendance through this feature. Keep reading to learn more!

OneNote icon image, a notebook with the letter on the cover.

In charge of note taking at your next meeting? Integrate Outlook Meeting details into OneNote. 

Here’s how to get started:
1. Of course, you'll first need to have OneNote open on your computer. Navigate within the Notebook to where you take your meeting notes. 
2. Next, click within the OneNote page to determine where you want the meeting details to go.
3. Then click Meeting Details on the Home tab.

Meeting Details Button in the Excel Home Ribbon

4. OneNote first presents you with your meetings for today, but you can also choose to select a meeting from another day.

Drop-down menu from the Meeting Details Button with options to select meetings from today's date as well as a Choose a Meeting from Another Day button.

5. If you choose to select  Meeting from Another Day, a dialogue box will appear, and you will be prompted to choose the day from a calendar. Next, click Insert Details. 

The meeting details now appear in your OneNote page, including the Meeting Subject, Date, Location, a Link to the Outlook item, and Participants. 

Meeting details on the OneNote page, including the meeting subject, date, location, link to Outlook item, and participants.

Please note that if your meeting details change, you will need to select the Meeting Details button again, and press Refresh Meeting Details for This Page.

Drop down menu from the Meeting Details button with the option "Refresh Meeting Details for this Page"

You can also use the meeting details to keep track of who was there. Just click the box next to someone’s name. 

List of participants with boxes next to each name. The first name has a check mark in the box.

That’s all there is to it! Keep an eye out for upcoming OneNote in-seat and webinar training!

Tech Tip Tuesday: Digital Spring Cleaning

posted Apr 11, 2017, 7:36 AM by Tech Training

It's April, and you know what that means: time for spring cleaning! This yearly purge isn't relegated to just your home or office. There's a good chance you have some cyber-clutter and could use a digital spring cleaning. 

See below for this collaboration between the National Cyber Security Alliance and the Better Business Bureau for quick tips:
If you need these images formatted as text, please view or download a PDF by clicking here

Tech Tip Tuesday: Simplify Tech Terminology with Sideways Dictionary

posted Mar 28, 2017, 6:57 AM by Tech Training   [ updated Mar 28, 2017, 7:11 AM ]

“Metadata”, “net neutrality”, ”DDOS” …This list of technobabble could go on forever. It can be hard to wrap our minds around this technical vocabulary, but it’s never been more important to understand them. That’s where Sideways Dictionary comes in. This website, a collaboration between Google and the Washington Post, uses crowd-sourced analogies to make life a little easier. 

YouTube Video

Simplify Tech Terminology with Sideways Dictionary
First, let’s start off with an example: encryption. I could try to give you a definition, but an analogy might work better. 

“It’s like sending a sealed letter instead of a postcard. To ban encryption would be like requiring all mail to be sent as postcards, including bank statements, medical letters and holiday photos. Your postman, neighbors and postal service would soon know you pretty well.” 

Sideway's Dictionary's Search Interface with the words "Please Explain"
Sideways Dictionary's Search Interface

Or, we can do DDOS, a type of DoS attack where multiple compromised systems, which are often infected with a Trojan, are used to target a single system causing a Denial of Service (DoS) attack. (Webopedia) Is your mind on the verge of melting? Let’s try this instead:

“It’s like a high school prank, where you post the details of your friend’s house party all over town, so instead of 20 people, 900 show up.”

These easy to understand analogies are submitted by citizens of the web, moderated by editors, and ranked by people like you and me. Sideways Dictionary can also be used as a Google Chrome extension which scans articles for terms and makes it easy to search for these terms while you’re reading. (Lifehacker

All you need to do to get started is visit

Stay Relevant in Your Field: Build an Online Personal Learning Environment

posted Mar 14, 2017, 10:04 AM by Tech Training   [ updated Mar 14, 2017, 10:08 AM ]

In today’s ever-changing world, digesting all of the new information in your field may feel overwhelming. Take charge of your own professional development by creating an online Personal Learning Environment (PLE). Continuous, active learning and exchanging the knowledge you gain is key to staying afloat. Creating a PLE will take time, but you’ll be glad you did. 

Mobile Device presenting hologram of connections between icons.
Image Courtesy of eLearning Industry.

Stay Relevant in Your Field: Build a Personal Learning Environment

What is a Personal Learning Environment?
As described by Christopher Pappas, “A Personal Learning Network involves a group of individuals who share ideas, feedback, and experience.” You may create these networks in-person during your 9:00 – 5:00 life, but these networks also lend themselves well to an online environment. With an online learning environment, “regardless of the time, physical location, or topic, online learners can tap into the power of peer support.” (Online Learning Insights). By using forums, social media, blogs, and other online platforms, you can begin creating your network. 

Seeking, Sharing, and Sensing
Before you begin creating your environment, there are a few things to keep in mind. The key to creating a successful PLE is knowledge management. Harold Jarche, a learning and development specialist, describes knowledge management as three pivotal actions: Seeking, Sensing, and Sharing. See the infographic below to get a better understanding of just what these actions entail. (Image Courtesy of eLearning Industry.)
Cartoon image of sand timer with the word Seek, Sense, and Share super imposed over it. Next to seek it says "Seek interesting people" & "Be curious". Next to Sense it says "Observe, Study, Challenge, Evaluate, and THINK". Next to Share it says "Post, Comment, Participate."

As you seek out interesting people or subjects, strive for an environment that has cognitive diversity. What do I mean by 
that? Include people in your network that have a different worldview or cultural perspective. Don’t silo yourself from concepts that may challenge previously held ideas. After you find the interests you wish to explore, work to evaluate or challenge the material you’re exposed to. Lastly, and most importantly, you need to become a participant in your PLE. Become a facilitator. Reply to someone’s Facebook post. Share blogs that you find fascinating. Create your own content to present to the world. 

Getting Started
Keep in mind that developing your PLE will take time--here is a general guide:
1. Decide on Areas of Focus
2. Determine which tools to use:
    o Tools for Collecting and Curating
         Consider using social media like Twitter, LinkedIn, and Facebook or use RSS Feeds, Podcasts or email subscriptions. See         if there are any topics on Reddit or other forums that interest you.  
    o Tools for Constructing your Own Knowledge
        ▪ Create your own posts on a service like Blogger. Begin designing SlideShares. Contribute to a Wiki. Record your own Podcast.
3. Participate:
    o Re-tweet someone else’s post. Nudge those in your network to check out your new blog. Share those SlideShares on LinkedIn. Disseminate the information you find useful or content         you have created yourself. By participating in a network, those around you will feel more comfortable to contribute as well.
4. Establish a time each week to develop your PLE.
5. Create a diagram of your PLE to help you keep track of the information you digest and the information you present to others. See below.

Circle divided into quarters. Quarters on left represent online presence, each quarter containing social media and blogging tools. Quarters and right represent curation, with different icons for website to gain information, such as Wikipedia, Journals, Twitter, etc.
Image Courtesy of Joyce Seitzinger

No matter your profession, shifts in technology and information sharing will affect your career. Become a lifelong learner and stay on top of your game by building a Personal Learning Environment.  

Want to Explore Internet History or Look for a Dead Website? The Wayback Machine may be Your Answer.

posted Feb 28, 2017, 6:24 AM by Tech Training

“What goes on the internet stays on the internet.” Well, that’s not always the case. There are plenty of old websites no longer available or have changed so significantly that you may not even recognize them. That’s where the Wayback Machine comes in hand. This tool, designed by the nonprofit Internet Archive, gives you a chance to relive the past or rediscover a long-lost website. 

Looking for a Dead Website? The Wayback Machine may be Your Answer.

Internet Archive Red and Black Wayback Machine Logo

The Wayback Machine currently has 279 billion webpages that have been saved over time. Now, some of them may not be that old—but the differences between a website in 2010 compared to 2017 can be staggering. There are even gems going back as far as 1996, like a 1998 Amazon homepage I found touting Beanie Babies. (Note: My Beanie Baby investments never did return a profit.

Here’s how to get started:

1. Open an internet browser and visit the Wayback Machine

2. You have two options from the homepage: Simply enter an email address or just select the scrolling notable examples underneath the search field.

Wayback Machine Home page with search field and timeline of notable sites scrolling beneath

3. If you choose to look for a specific site, you will be directed to a page where you can select the year to search. There’s also a calendar below displaying the days in which the Internet Archive saved the site. Start by clicking your desired date.

Timeline at top of screen with black bar charts indicating the amount of Internet Archive saves. Calendar beneath.

Here, for example, is from March 1st, 2001:

4. You may also search through the site’s history by using the navigational timeline at the top of the screen. Just select a period on the timeline or flip through the Archive’s saves by using the date selector 

That’s all there is to it! Just note that there may be some issues loading certain media, or it may take significant time for a site to appear. What do you expect? You’re going back in time! Enjoy!

Tuesday Tech Tip: Dissect Your Writing with Expresso

posted Feb 14, 2017, 9:40 AM by Tech Training   [ updated Feb 28, 2017, 5:24 AM ]

Chances are that you’re required to do some writing here at CC, but it can be hard to find the time for in-depth editing. Why not let a program designed by a computational neuroscientist give you a hand? Expresso, a browser-based program, provides you with metrics and points out potential weaknesses in your writing.  
Please note that there have been reports that this app has had some issues inside of Internet Explorer. Try using Google Chrome or Firefox if you experience any issues.

Dissect Your Writing with ExpressoTable with metrics for editing.

Metrics for Editing
When visiting, you are prompted to paste text into the webpage for analysis. Upon entering text and pressing the Analyze Text button, Expresso provides you with metrics for editing. These metrics include: synonyms, weak verbs, filler words, nominalizations… and the list goes on. Look at this analysis of a recent Tuesday Tech Tip blog post. Yikes!

Develop an Eye for Awkward Phrasing
One of my biggest weaknesses in writing is passive voice. Expresso can help point out passive voice or alert you to awkward phrasing in your writing. 

Readability Grade
Another interesting aspect of Expresso is that it grades the readability of your writing. My last blog post, for example, corresponds roughly to an American 6th Grade Level. I like to keep things simple!

Remember: There’s No “Magic Bullet”
As the site mentions “writing metrics employed by Expresso can be powerful but they are not a ‘magic bullet’. They highly correlate with good writing but are not the cause of it, just like umbrellas correlate with rain but, of course, don’t trigger it. Therefore, there is no benefit in optimizing the metrics blindly.” Writing is an art, not a science, but the tips Expresso may help you communicate clearer.  

Flowcharts, Diagrams, Timelines? Get Started with MS Visio!

posted Feb 7, 2017, 7:13 AM by Tech Training

Still using browser-based flowchart tools or drawing applications to create diagrams? If so, you need to switch to Microsoft Visio. The information you want to present is important, and Visio will help you keep it consistent and understandable. Here’s how to get started:

Flowcharts, Diagrams, Timelines? Get Started with Visio!
Visio Icon

Popular Templates
Need to create an organization chart, describe a workflow, or present information about a database? Don’t start from scratch, let Visio do the leg work. After opening Microsoft Visio from your start menu, you will be prompted with potential templates you may want to use. Here are just a few options: 

Organization Chart, Computer Icons connected by lines Active Directory Chart, various office icons connected to each other Timeline of Events, no data Workflow Chart, icons of research, manufacture, data, and sales

Don’t spend your valuable time creating shapes. Visio includes pre-made shapes and icons to best represent what you are presenting. 

List of premade icons to represent different workplace tasks

Connector Tool
Use the Connector tool to quickly show relationships between the subjects of your presentation.

Icons of workplace function connected by arrows

Themes & Variants
Use themes and variants to quickly coordinate colors and designs to make your diagram even more professional.

The MS Themes toolbar with color swatches

Collaboration and the Ink Tools
Collaborating with others? Use the Ink and Comment tools to let them know what you think!

Workplace function represented by icons, annotated with red pen and includes a comment bubble.

What are you doing still listening to me? Go give Visio a try!

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