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Course Review: InDesign CC 2017 Essential Training

Teacher: David Blatner
Length: 6h 42m (course link)

In lieu of InDesign CC 2017 Essential Training being suggested as a prerequisite for Learning InDesign CC2015: EPUBs, I decided to enrol. Once I got used to David Blatner’s eccentricities as a teacher, I found myself looking forward to each chapter of the course. It turned out to be the best LYNDA course that I’ve done so far!

This course is a lot longer than the ones that I’ve done on LYNDA before because there is a LOT of material covered. Throughout, Blatner points out that the material covered is the beginning. He suggests other LYNDA courses for in depth training of those features. I’ll likely be enrolling in some of those other courses in future.
Blatner is a curious figure. His enthusiasm for InDesign made me look forward to each lesson. He teaches many routes for each feature covered. He then gives an overview of the pros and cons of using specific methods. He also covered hotkeys and interface differences for the MAC and Windows versions. This made the lessons applicable to users of both operating systems.

In conclusion, this course kicked ass. Blatner does a great job of getting students excited about the material whilst he imparts a lot of information. I look forward to enrolling in more of his courses and will also be enrolling in other courses about InDesign in the not-so-distant future.

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Course Review: Google Drive Essential Training

Teacher: Jess Stratton
Length: 1h 30m (course link)

In this course, Jess Stratton gives students a solid grounding in the features of Google Drive. Google Drive is the cloud storage solution offered by Google and also hooks into a range of other Google products including Google Docs. The paid and unpaid versions are used by millions of people around the globe but it is just one of the numerous storage solutions around today.

To begin, the course is a compact yet powerful ninety minutes long. I say “powerful” because Jess Stratton covers a lot of material during that time. As with all of her videos, complexity is built over time in order to make the material accessible to beginners and up. This gives a great foundation and covers features that even the veteran user might not have used before.
Next, we see how easily Google Drive connects with other Google products including Google Docs. In the case of Google Docs, there is some mild crossover but I would recommend that you check out her course Google Docs Essential Training if you want to learn more. The course also continually points out the similarity in interface across all of the Google range of products.

In conclusion, this is course is a must if you are looking for a comprehensive understanding of Google Drive. If you are also looking for courses on other Google products, I highly recommend that you check out Jess’s other courses over at LYNDA.

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Course Review: Google Docs Essential Training

Teacher: Jess Stratton
Length: 1h 33m (course link)

There are several cloud-based office suites on the market today. Google Docs and Microsoft Office have received a huge chunk of the market because of the availability of both free and paid options. This also poses a problem. We need to consider the features of both products.
The first product that I’ll be looking at is Google Docs through the lens of Jess Stratton’s Google Docs Essential Training course available at LYNDA. I’ll also be delving into the features of the word processor for Microsoft via another course in the next few weeks. This is for the purposes of comparing the learning curve and features of both products.

In Google Docs Essential Training, Jess Stratton offers a comprehensive look at the features of Google Docs’s word processor. The course is fast-paced with info aimed at beginners and up. Although I knew a lot of the material going into the course, I found myself getting some benefit from the course itself.
Jess Stratton’s keeps the student engaged throughout. There is a lot of features covered but I never felt overwhelmed or lost. She also repeatedly points out how the layout is streamlined across most of the offerings from Google, which can help users make educated guesses about the product should any changes occur in future.

I highly recommend this course to anyone considering using the service for cloud-based word processing. It will give you a decent grounding in all of the features you’ll need for creating, sharing and collaborating on your files. Jess Stratton also offers a bunch of offer courses on Google products that I also recommend that folks check out.


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Course Review: Google Calendar Advanced Tips and Tricks

Teacher: Jess Stratton
Length: 52m (course link)

This course covers a lot of the same material as Jess Stratton’s course Google Calendar Essential Training. As such, I found myself skipping past various sections in order to get to new material. A further explanation of video events was quite useful, allowing me to make sense of a service that I will likely use in the not-so-distant future.
If you are new to Google Calendar, then I highly recommend that you do Google Calendar Essential Training instead. However, if you are looking to brush up your skills in Google Calendar, then Google Calendar Advanced Tips and Tricks offers good value due to how condensed the material is.

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Course Review: Google Calendar Essential Training

Teacher: Jess Stratton
Length: 1h 42m (course link)

In the course Google Calendar Essential Training, Jess Stratton gives comprehensive training in Google Calendar, both the free and paid business option. Google Calendar is one of the big three calendar services in the west in modern time. It is also one of the numerous apps available with a Google account.
I have been a member of Google for many years and have made some use of Google Calendar during that time. This offered some familiarity with the free version going into the course. I did, however, learn a few new things over the span of the different modules.

The course material is targetted at newcomers to the product yet builds on the complexity over time until the student has a comprehensive understanding of Google Calendar and Google Calendar for Business. Jess Stratton never lingers on a subject for too long, giving just enough time for each topic. She also delivers the material in a conversational and friendly manner.
Though I was aware of the sharing functions, I had never used them before. After doing the course, I have considered ways in which I can make use of this function in order to share information with loved ones. I also found myself thinking of ways to use Google Calendar more effectively.

In conclusion, this course is a must for anyone looking to use Google Calendar for planning and organisation. If you have a google account and want to get more organised, then Google Calendar Essential Training is a great way to become familiar with the features that you’ll be using.


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Course Review: Improving Your Focus

Teacher: Dave Crenshaw
Length: 53m (course link)

Improving Your Focus is the fourth and final course in the Improve Your Organizational Skills learning pathway. It is a chopped down version of Dave Crenshaw’s Time Management Fundamentals but also touches on personal growth.
Given the huge crossover in the two courses, folks might prefer to enrol solely in Time Management Fundamentals. However, it is a decent overview of the material covered in Time Management Fundamentals later on down the track. You could, however, use it as an introduction to the subject matter.

In conclusion, this course is a great introduction to the subject matter but you’ll see more of the concepts explained in greater detail in Time Management Fundamentals. It could, however, be used as an abridged version of the longer course later down the track should you get a bit rusty. I recommend this course to anyone looking for an introduction of the material or a quick revision of the longer course.

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Course Review: Managing To-do Lists

Teacher: Suzanna Kaye
Length: 43m (course link)

In this third course in the Improve Your Organizational Skills learning pathway, Suzanna Kaye offers some great tips and advice regarding how to organise your life better using to-do lists. She covers both paper and digital systems, including online and software-based offerings. This is all brought together in a fast-paced but manageable forty-three minutes.

I was mildly familiar with some to-do list apps going into this course, but it seems that there is a wide variety of both paper and digital systems available. The idea of breaking larger tasks into small steps is not a new concept. However, many of us fall back into poor habits that often lead to decreased productivity and effectiveness in achieving our goals. This is why building in the habit of maintaining and applying a to-do list is so important.
This course helps with deciding which system to use. Suzanna discusses numerous paper systems in some detail, allowing us an overview of what we need to begin. This might be a journal or ring binder that uses index cards. It is likely the most expensive system as well. We then get an overview of several apps on Apple and Android devices as well as online options. The focus is on apps that sync over multiple devices as this reduces the chance of having all of those tasks destroyed in the event that a mishap occurs. I ended up installing one of the suggested apps on my Windows 10 PC.

In conclusion, I highly recommend this course to anyone looking to organise their life more. If you anything close to my level of chaos, it will likely lead to a few decisions on your part. In any case, you are likely to learn something of value in this course.