Tag: Reviews

Grammarly Review 2016

Grammarly Review: Should You Go Premium?

As an educator, more than likely you’ll have a few papers come across your desk, or you’ll be providing some content at an academic level.

There are different grammar checkers online, free and paid, and Grammarly is one of the best-known ones. The platform offers a free and premium version. The premium version will run you $29.95 a month currently unless you bundle months together to get a discounted rate.

Grammarly Review - Subscription Plans

Subscription Plans from Grammarly

After putting the premium version to the test, here are a few insights on whether it is worth going premium with Grammarly.

Pros for Teachers

One tool that could cut teacher’s time in half when grading papers is the plagiarism tool. Grammarly claims that the cloud-based software scans over 8 billion websites to look for plagiarized content. With this powerful tool, I can see this being a much-needed shortcut for teachers when grading student’s papers.

Teachers can use this extra time to focus on helping improve their students overall writing and style.


Also, when using the program in Microsoft Word, you can change the type or genre of the article you’re either writing or proofreading. You do have to add Grammarly to Word by following the prompts from your profile on the Grammarly website.

With genres like essay and research papers to choose from in the academic section, you can move through papers using the grammatical styles associated with each kind of writing. Adding the Grammarly tool to Word and the plagiarism tool are both only available through the premium membership.

2016 Grammarly Review for TeachersHelpful Tools for Writing

Another perk of going premium is being able to look at advanced issues in your writing. When using the free version, Grammarly lets you know there are “X” amount of advanced issues that you can see IF you upgrade to premium.

If you tend to write more than the average person and are interested in improving your writing skills and grammar, being able to look at the advanced issues is one of the best tools the software provides.

Personally, I tend to write in the passive voice more than I want in my writing. The premium version of the grammar checker has helped me work towards breaking this habit. Also, it breaks the habit of using any repetitive words and even suggests synonyms that may fit better with your wording.

Also, the ease of use of the software is great. Adding extensions to your browser and Word are simple and using the grammar checker is self-explanatory.

Grammarly checks over 250 types of grammatical issues, spelling mistakes, and enhances the vocabulary of the user in the premium version. What I found using the tool is that they do deliver well on all of these categories.

The Drawbacks

Grammarly does have a few drawbacks.

It’s grammar suggestions may not always make sense regarding what you’re trying to write and get across to the reader. At this point, you have to use your best judgment in going with the suggestion or sticking with your original writing.

An example of this is when the passive voice is necessary, and it wouldn’t make sense to use the active voice in the context of your writing. Grammarly tends to do this in different style tips and suggestions. Just check the context and decide on what sounds better to you.

Also, when using the browser extension, Grammarly hasn’t picked up on how writing may differ on your personal social media. Sometimes when you add new statuses on different platforms, it’ll pick up multiple errors on abbreviations and social lexicon.

Just clicking through these and being able to post can be time-consuming as well as irritating.

Grammarly Review – The Verdict

Grammarly has a lot to offer to anyone who takes their writing seriously or grades any papers in an educational setting.

With only a few drawbacks, the pros greatly outweigh the cons. The writing enhancing tool, whether in the free or premium version, does help writers create better content and helps break any old writing habits.

If cost isn’t a factor for you and you enjoy improving your writing skills, the premium version may be a tool you’ll find useful.

Overall, if you plan on writing more than the average person or you’re an educator who does need to proofread constantly, I would recommend the premium tool. If you don’t grade papers often or need to write much, trying the free version out would probably cut it for you.  Start with the free version of Grammarly here.

Have you tried Grammarly’s premium version? What did you think of the grammar checker’s tools?

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Teacher Home Loans – 3 Top Programs

If you are a teacher looking to buy a home and need help with financing, please consider some of the special mortgage programs that cater specifically to educators. Here we cover three of the top programs that offer teacher home loans.

Why Should you Explore Teacher Home Loans?

First off, these programs were created with educators in mind.  They may offer some perks and/or discounts that you may not get from traditional financing options.  Whether it’s a donation to your school, discounted closing costs or lower interest rates, teacher home loans might very well be what you are looking for when you wish to finance the purchase of a home.

Here are 3 of the best teacher mortgage programs for professional educators:

Educator Mortgage Program

Teacher Home LoansThis is a really interesting program from Supreme Lending that anyone in the education industry is eligible to apply for.  The highlights of the Educator Mortgage Program include:

  • Discounted Closing Costs – Supreme Lending is offering up to $800 in reduced closing costs to educators.  If you qualify, you will receive a credit on your HUD-1 settlement statement for up to $800.
  • Discounted Real Estate Agent Fees – The Educator Mortgage Program looks to work with real estate agents who want to give back. As an educator, you will receive a credit on your HUD-1 settlement statement up to $800 from participating Real Estate Agents. These funds can be used for any fees, prepaids, seller fees, or new escrow account set up for your new loan.
  • Fast Loan Process – Supreme Lending emphasizes that educator clients are given highest priority. Educator loans are handled expeditiously so as to ensure “a smoother and more enjoyable experience.”
  • Donation to Your School – With the Educator Mortgage Program, a donation of to $200 will be made to the school program of your choice. If you work with a participating real estate agent, an additional $200 will be donated, for a total of $400, to the school program of your choice!

Visit the Educator Mortgage Program’s website for more info on their teacher home loans.  They offer various home buyer mortgage programs for educators, including FHA loans, Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac, VA, USDA, Jumbo and many more (see descriptions of some these programs below).

Teacher Home Advantage

American Pacific Mortgage Teacher Home Advantage LoansThe Teacher Home Advantage program by Pacific Home Mortgage offers various options for teacher home loans.   These range from:

  • FHA Loans – Federally backed loans with a low fixed rate, great for the educator who is a first time home buyer.
  • Conventional Loans – These are not backed by the government and usually  require a larger down payment.  However, one advantage of these loans for teachers is that monthly mortgage insurance is not generally required.
  • USDA Loans – 0% down loans that are insured by the government.  These loans are only offered in “rural” areas.  The fact that these loans require no down payment puts home ownership within the reach of many teachers and other educators.
  • VA Loans – If you are a veteran, this could be a great option for you.  Like the USDA loan, it does not require a down payment.
  • Home Path Program – This program is only available for the purchase of Fannie Mae owned homes.  It offers educator borrowers low down payment options, flexible terms, no mortgage insurance and no appraisal fees.
  • “Making Home Affordable” Program – Teacher Home Advantage works directly with this program.  Basically, it includes opportunities to help borrowers make their monthly payments more affordable.  In other words, it allows homeowners the chance to decrease their current mortgage payments, even if they’re “upside down” in their home.
  • Teacher Next Door – This program (more specifically HUD’s Good Neighbor Next Door Sales Program) offers Pre-K through 12th grade teachers the opportunity to make a contribution to community revitalization while receiving a substantial 50% discount on the list price of a home.  The limitations of this program include that you must commit to live in the property for 3 years, and the qualifying homes are located in HUD-designated revitalization areas only.

Learn more about these different programs and what the Teacher Home Advantage offers educator clients here.

NEA Home Financing Program®

NEA Home Financing Teacher Home LoansOffered through Wells Fargo Home Mortgage, the The NEA Home Financing Program® is offered as a benefit of the NEA Member Benefits program.

Some of the features of this program include:

  • Competitive interest rates & fees
  • Low down payment options
  • A wide variety of home financing choices
  • Conventional and jumbo loans, with both purchase and refinance programs available
  • As an NEA Member bonus, you’ll receive a $500 award card when you close a purchase or refinance

Learn more about the NEA Home Financing Program® here.

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Udemy for Teachers

Make Money on Udemy: An Amazing Opportunity for Teachers

Udemy offers a truly exceptional opportunity for instructors.  In short, you can make money on Udemy by creating on demand online courses on anything imaginable.

Put together and teach your course once; If it’s well-received and otherwise successful you can get paid for that class again and again!

Here is more about Udemy from their website:

We’re the world’s online learning marketplace, where 9 million+ students are taking courses in everything from programming to yoga to photography – and much, much more. Each of our 35,000+ courses is taught by an expert instructor, and every course is available on-demand, so students can learn at their own pace, on their own time, and on any device”

Some Drawbacks…

Before you get too excited please consider some of the drawbacks. This would not be a fair review if we didn’t go over some of the difficulties for instructors using who want to make money on udemy by selling online courses.

First, putting together courses takes a lot of time, in terms of both planning and production. You also need to have the proper equipment, and be comfortable speaking on the camera/behind the microphone.  If you are shy or not willing to put yourself in front of the camera, Udemy might not be for you.

Can I Really Make Money on Udemy? How Much?

One final point, but not really a drawback is that unfortunately the Udemy compensation model is not as lucrative for instructors as it once was. Teachers who got in early were making a lot more money (90% across the board per course!) before Udemy changed its compensation structure multiple times, currently the structure is as follows:

About the instructor revenue share
Udemy operates under a tiered revenue share for paid courses. As an instructor, the two main revenue share scenarios that you can expect most often are:
Instructor Promotion → 100% revenue share (less a 3% administrative processing fee, 4% in the territory of Japan) on sales made by instructors where the student makes the purchase using an Instructor Coupon (either at full price or at a discount), which you the instructor create and control.
Udemy Organic → 50% revenue share on organic Udemy sales where no Instructor Coupon is used.

If you’re opted in to any of our marketing programs, e.g., percentage promotions, fixed price deals, and the marketing boost program, your revenue share can range from 25% to 97% depending on the scenario.

So, basically, you will make somewhere between 25-97% of your course fees, depending on the scenario.  In general, if Udemy is promoting your course for you, it will be on the lower end.  If you promote your own course you can make 100% – the administrative fees.  If you’d like a complete breakdown of what you can make, see the chart on Udemy’s site here.

Make Money on Udemy 2016

Udemy claims that the average instructor income is $8000.  Not bad, right?

Some make less and some a lot more.  Case in point: Jerry Banfield.

Jerry has earned over $300,000 with the Udemy platform, averaging over $6,000 per course he creates!

Jerry is truly an awesome instructor. As one of his students said:

“Jerry’s instruction is the perfect balance of passion, intelligence, proof of experience,
and calculated determination. He is a machine for success and helping other build the
successful lives that they have always dreamed of.”

If you are going to give Udemy a try, I highly recommend that you consider taking Jerry’s course, “The Complete Udemy Instructor Course”. This course will give you a great foundation as well as the tools and the knowledge you need to get started making money with online course creation.  It features no less than 84 lectures and over 10.5 hours of class time!

Learn more about Jerry’s course on how to make money on Udemy HERE.

With over 9 Million students utilizing Udemy, more instructors are needed!  I hope to see your course(s) there soon!

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