Tech Tips: Getting the Most from

LyndaCampus offers free access to 87,000 video tutorials

Christine Vucinich, training coordinator for Duke’s Office of Information Technology, looks over the website with Alonzo Felder, an IT analyst at Duke, during a recent “tips and tricks” session on

When Kathie Amato wanted students in her business communication class to learn PowerPoint, she pointed them to online training provider

After working through the video tutorials available free through Duke's Office of Information Technology (OIT), students averaged 10 points higher on the in-class quiz than the previous year's class.

"Their PowerPoints on other class assignments demonstrated a much higher skill level than in previous years," said Amato, associate dean of the Master of Management Studies program at Duke's Fuqua School of Business.

Duke's university-wide license, called lyndaCampus, offers free access to 87,000 video tutorials on hundreds of technology topics and soft skills such as professional networking. New courses are added every week.

The service enables Duke staff, faculty and students to earn professional course completion certificates; track progress with personal profiles; and bookmark specific content. Tutorials are also available on a mobile device, and there is no limit on the number of concurrent users who can access the site from Duke.   

Here are tips for using lyndaCampus for professional development and ongoing learning offered by Jen Jortner Cassidy, client services manager with, at a recent session at Duke's Fuqua School of Business:

Start small. Choose three courses of interest and begin by watching the "welcome movie," which introduces the author and learning objectives, much like a movie trailer. Check the course level to make sure it matches your experience (beginner, intermediate, advanced).

Use the three-scan rule. Watch and listen once for content. Watch a second time and zero in on detail. Then try the action yourself. "It's video-based, but it's not like putting your feet up and watching television," Cassidy said.

Schedule time to learn. Cassidy sets aside one hour per week on her calendar for online learning. "Treat it like any other meeting or call," she said. "It's like exercise: If you don't make time for it to happen, it won't happen." Consider going to a quiet place to learn, away from your usual work environment.

Don't feel that you always need to complete the courses. "Society tells us we always have to finish everything, to start at beginning and go to end. With, if you skip around or use it for just-in-time learning, fine as long as getting what need," Cassidy said. "We've broken things into small bites, so you can come in and get what you need and get out."

Check back often for new courses. "In addition to the technology courses, there are some great business courses and documentaries that are worth checking out," said Christine Vucinich, OIT's technical education and outreach coordinator.