Tag Archives: Educational Resources

Helping Students Think About and Engage in their Learning

By post-secondary, students often have a “fixed” idea of who they are as learners. Maryellen Weimer’s article in Faculty Focus, “Prompts to Help Students Reflect on How They Approach Learning” explores ways to “motivate students to consider their beliefs about learning”.  She provides a list of prompts to encourage students to reflect on their current strategies and beliefs.

I found Weimer’s prompts useful and use similar ones when working with students individually; however, many students….well, I just don’t see them. Why? Well, we know that struggling students–the ones who really need to see us– are less likely to seek help.

Do you find it even more challenging to engage male students to ask questions or seek support? Research out of Penn State University and University of Akron by Wimer and Levant (2011) explored the relationship between masculinity and help-seeking behaviour (1). They found that males with strong dominance and self-reliance characteristics were less likely to seek help.

Makes sense, but what can we do?

We created out Academic-Zone modules to provide a safe, risk-free way for students to develop their writing and numeracy skills. The online medium seems like a great fit for those self-reliant males. However, we still need to ENGAGE them in the skill development process.

I attended a conference a couple of weeks ago,  Conference on Peer Educators, Nov. 7-9, 2014 at University of South Carolina, by National Resource Center First-Year Experience and Students in Transition.  Ever since the conference, my mind has been spinning. We recruit male and female undergraduate students to deliver our on-campus skills programming, and we’ve been fortunate to always have a mix.

–but I know we can do more….

Please share your challenges, strategies, and thoughts. I’d love to hear from you.

Margaret Groombridge

Image me

Lead Designer, Academic-Zone and Coordinator Skills Instruction, A-Z Learning Services, Brock University

(1) Wimer, D. J., & Levant, R. F. (2011). The relation of masculinity and help-seeking style with the academic help-seeking behavior of college men. Journal Of Men’s Studies, 19 (3), 256-274.

5 Tips to Improve Your Writing

Academic writing is a challenge for most students entering post-secondary education. In response, most institutions developed their own resources to assist students struggling with academic writing. Still, some students prefer the convenience of online resources. For example, a short 12-minute YouTube video with over 500,000 views, posted by the YouTube account “Learn English with Emma [engVid]”, recommends 5 simple tips to improve academic writing skills.

Emma, an English teacher who primarily works with ESL students, outlines 5 ways to improve academic writing with the use of simple sentences, stronger words, and active voice. Emma’s energetic voice, a white board, and several great examples make this video enjoyable and educational.

After investigating “engVid,” I realized Emma is only one of 8 teachers who have posted a collective 550+ lessons online. I would recommend exploring some of their videos if you are an international student, learning the English language, or would like some comedic relief (I would recommend Ronnie’s videos). Similar to “Khan Academy,” in my post a couple weeks ago, Emma and her colleagues have adapted to the fast-growing technology age.

Be sure to like/comment this post if you enjoyed reading!
Let me know if you have topics you would like to discuss in future blog posts in the comments below.
I would love to hear from you!

Have a great day!

My Experience with Academic-Zone

You may be thinking to yourself, what is the purpose of the Academic-Zone resources and how are they going to help me in my courses? Well, as a student at Brock University, I can honestly say that Academic-Zone was a huge help to me during my first year and helped me see what’s expected at the post-secondary level.

I used the Essay-Zone and Advanced Grammar modules in my first year Principles of Business course (MGMT 1P93). As part of this course, we were required to take a grammar and punctuation test, and we had three attempts to achieve a minimum grade of 70% or we would not pass the course. At the time, the test was worth 10% of our final mark and the grade we received on the first attempt would be the only one that counted. We used the Essay-Zone and Advanced Grammar modules to prepare for this test.

The majority of my preparation and studying for the test was done by using the modules. I passed the test on my first attempt! After using the modules, I saw a big improvement in my writing skills, particularly in grammar, punctuation, and sentence structure. I continued to use Essay-Zone and Advanced Grammar throughout the remainder of my first term to help me with my writing in all of my courses. They were a huge help, especially when it came to writing essays. What I like about the modules is how they are very light on text and easy to navigate. The activities and mini-quizzes really kept my interest and helped me to learn the material more easily.

I highly recommend the Academic-Zone modules to all students. Whether you’re struggling with essay writing, grammar, punctuation, or even math, the modules will definitely help you out. I wasn’t struggling, but I was surprised by how much my writing improved!

Technology Will Change Education

I came across an article earlier today on how technology will change education. The article provided insight on how technology has changed almost all aspects of our lives. It goes on to state that education has always revolved around a teacher formally instructing students in a classroom setting, but with the emergence of interactive, adaptive learning software, technology could dramatically change the entire learning process. This relates to my recent post about how online learning allows students to be more self-directed and learn at their own pace, as opposed to an instructor’s pace. Although there are barriers to the use of technology in education, I agree with the author, in that it is very likely the implementation of educational technology will increase and expand sooner rather than later.

What are your thoughts on the use of technology in education? How do you think education will be impacted over the next few years? I will leave you with one quote from the article that really stood out to me and leave the rest of the reading to you,

We very well may be at the cusp of a revolution in education based on technological change.

Click here for the full article.

Technology can help in solving problems in face-to-face classes

This is a very interesting article! The post showcases an instructor’s strategy of creating YouTube videos as online resources for her students. She discusses the benefits and setbacks of providing an online lesson to students. The post compares the pace of teaching face to face to the pace of teaching online or online resources. When teaching face to face, the instructor typically sets the pace of the lesson based on personal preference, timeframe, and students’ note-taking speed. An online resource or lesson, however, allows the student to control the pace through pausing and resuming. I believe students often have a hard time keeping up with professors.
Academic-Zone sees the benefit of self-directed learning and provides students with online resources that allow them to work at their own pace and improve their academic writing skills inside and outside the classroom. What are your thoughts? For more reading on this topic, check out the original article.

Top 99 Online College Student Resources

Check out Top 5 Online Colleges.org‘s list of online college student resources. The organization has listed what they believe to be the top 99 online college student resources. I really like how the resources are broken down into categories: General Online Learning, Continuing Education, OpenCourseWare, Tools & Supplies, Videos, Podcasts & Webinars and College Preparation. Students are able to break down what they are looking for by type of resource, and then choose from a list of top resources in that category- allowing for easy access and navigation to the topic of choice.

I have listed the #1 resource in each of the categories below, but make sure to check out the full article for more details and links to the other resources.

General Online Learning- Khan Academy
Continuing Education- findCE.com
OpenCourseWare- MITOpencourseware
Tools & Supplies- Evernote
Videos, Podcasts & Webinars- TeacherTube
College Preparation- CLC College Prep

Click here to view the full article.

Academic-Zone Online Module Demo

Want a better understanding of the products we offer?

Click the picture below to check out the online module demo!

Academic-Zone Online Module Demo