Tag Archives: Learning Resources

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.

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Have a great day!

Exploring Different Ways to Teach Math

Math. It’s a word that strikes fear into many students. Whether or not you’re a math major, at some point you may have to use math in post-secondary. For example, Sociology students are required to take a course on statistics, but it may have been years since they’ve taken a Math course.

At Academic-Zone, we approach this challenge with our online Numeracy-Zone module. The module is broken down into four topics: Calculations, Statistics, Algebra, and Equations & Lines. Mathematical concepts are explained using real-life examples and the module’s easy-to-navigate design allows students to explore based on their own needs and interests.  Math is learned through doing, and our modules provide students with many opportunities for practice through interactive exercises and quizzes.

There are many different ways to effectively teach math. One approach is through the use of games. In an article on Forbes, Stanford Mathematician, Dr. Keith Devlin, explains why video games are the perfect way to teach math. He explains that math is not something you know, but rather an activity that you do. He argues that games encourage students to do, by providing challenges and rewards.

What are your thoughts on the use of games as a tool for teaching math? What other strategies do you use to teach or learn math concepts?

Check out the full article on Dr. Keith Devlin here.

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!


Numeracy-Zone Statistics Tour

I received a comment on our blog asking for more product information. Instead of just providing that information, I thought I might as well show you the product. Here is a quick tour of Numeracy-Zone™ Statistics!

For more information on Numeracy-Zone™ click here

 If you would like more information on Academic-Zone or our resources send us an e-mail at academic-zone@brocku.ca

Professors’ Perspectives: Professor Bredin

The other day, I had the opportunity to sit down with Professor Marian Bredin and chat to her about Academic-Zone (A-Z). Professor Bredin is an Associate Professor of Communications at Brock University and a long time user of A-Z. She is one of the first professors to use Essay-Zone (E-Z) as a teaching resource and has been doing so for the past 4 years. This year, she has 380 students using the modules in her class. I thought it would be a good idea to catch up with her and see how she is using E-Z. During our discussion Professor Bredin shared three main points about her experience with E-Z.

Student Motivation

Professor Bredin encourages her students to use Essay-Zone by relating to E-Z frequently in lecture and having an E-Z workshop. Additionally, she requires her students to get a passing grade on the E-Z post quiz to complete the course—a strong motivation for students to access the modules!

Favourite Feature

Professor Bredin said her favourite part about Essay-Zone is its functionality: “The concise text, clear examples, and relatable language of Essay-Zone give the module a very user-friendly appeal.”  These features make it easy for students to work through the modules and adapt the learning experience to meet their individual needs. She went on to state that “every student enters university with different levels of skill. Essay-Zone provides a level playing field for all students to have an opportunity to excel.”  This offers benefits for both students and instructors. It is easy for students to become overwhelmed and fall behind on class material right from the start. Using Academic-Zone lays the foundational skills and gives each student an equal opportunity to succeed. As an instructor, Professor Bredin finds it helpful that she receives information as to where her students are at via the pre and post assessment quizzes.

Biggest Advantage

Professor Bredin says the biggest advantage of using the modules is that “Essay-Zone covers everything students need to know in terms of writing an essay. There are skills and practical tips for students of all levels of writing to learn that will help them succeed. I don’t have the time to go over these skills as I have to be teaching new concepts every class. E-Z provides my students with that extra support.”

Share your own Academic-Zone experiences here!

Don’t have Academic-Zone yet? Get it for your class today!