Western Libraries - Winter 2013 Issue 1

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Welcome to 3 Things! The Learning Commons is becoming an increasingly integral part of how 21st century libraries here and elsewhere contribute to teaching, learning, and scholarship. In this issue you’ll learn about a new study skills session offered by the Tutoring Center, read about the collaborative efforts of LC partners to assist students and faculty with issues related to writing, and get a student’s perspective on why the LC should be a "must visit" destination for every student.

  Something New!

Tutoring Center: Drop-In Study Skills Coaching Added To Services

By Michelle Wallace, Tutoring Center Coordinator

Michelle Wallace

At the Tutoring Center (TC - Wilson Library 280), students can get drop-in assistance with math and science GUR coursework. But did you know that knowledgeable student employees also provide individualized assistance on study skills and strategies? This quarter, the TC is excited to offer drop-in study skills coaching with Peer Advisors - with several slots available every day.

"Study skills go beyond a student’s ability to memorize information," Lead Peer Advisor Shelby Murray explains. "We are talking about helping students identify their strengths and weaknesses in study habits, starting with the most basic: making time for studying."


Coaching is customizable for each student, as Peer Advisors are trained to listen to everyone’s unique story. Discussion topics include everything from the basics to "how you read texts and how you feel in a testing environment," Murray adds.

Peer Advisors can also discuss strategies for overcoming procrastination, using office hours effectively, taking notes that work for you, and more. But students don’t need to plan which topics to cover - the TC is here to help them diagnose which concerns may be keeping them from reaching their full potential.

Drop-in study skills consultations are available in 25-30 minute time slots from 9-11am and 4-6pm on Mondays, 9-11am and 4-8pm on Tuesdays-Thursdays, and 9-11am on Friday mornings.

Students may also make advance appointments for more in-depth coaching sessions by calling 360-650-3855 or e-mailing Tutoring.Center@wwu.edu. At 50 minutes in length, these appointments have the potential for even greater customization.

The Tutoring Center moved to Wilson Library to be part of the Learning Commons fall quarter 2011. Since then, it has offered drop-in peer tutoring for math and science GURs in an inviting study space. Study skills tutoring rounds out the TC’s services, allowing students to address broader concerns. Hours of operation are Monday-Thursday 9am-9pm, Friday 9am-5pm, and Sunday 5pm-9pm.

Other TC services include tutor-facilitated study groups offered around campus, as well as study skills presentations by Peer Advisors. Classes, clubs, programs, or other campus partners may book a presentation by calling 360-650-3855 or e-mailing Tutoring.Center@wwu.edu.

Happy studying from the TC!

  This Issue's Great Tip

Faculty & Students Can Look to the Learning Commons for Writing Support

By Lee Olsen, WIS Instructor/Editor

Lee Olsen

We all know the steely hard feeling that creeps in when we hear phrases like twenty-page research paper due March 15, 5pm. We all know the agony that surrounds late-night, last-moment scrambles to produce flawless writing which, undoubtedly, we had months to complete. Some of us can even recall our eighth-grade English teacher rambling about Marie Antoinette and something about eating cake instead of bread.

And what the heck is a comma splice, anyway?  Even more worrisome, what do I do if I’m a splicer and don’t even know it?

The Library Learning Commons partners want all students and faculty to know that they are not alone in navigating academic work, including the complex work of doing academic writing.  And also to know that we can help.

Faculty:  As part of its ongoing effort to assist faculty in the development of writing proficiency across campus, the Writing Instruction Support program is offering a workshop titled "Recognizing and Addressing Personal Patterns of Error in Academic Writing." While the workshop focuses on understanding conventions and reading for personal patterns of error, it aims to increase students’ overall confidence in their own writing abilities - at the same time as it provides faculty with strategies to help their students gain that confidence. 

Students in the Writing CenterStudents:  As an English graduate student with experience in editing, I am facilitating these workshops, along with English Department faculty member Lee Einhorn.  I am also available at the Writing Center - Information & Research Services collaborative "Sunday Nite Writes" designed to assist student writers with both research and writing needs.  These sessions occur from 6-9pm at the Writing Center.

For more information about the workshop or about scheduling face-to-face editing conferences, just email me at Lee.Olsen@wwu.edu.  For more information about other Learning Commons services/resources, contact Program Coordinator Shevell Thibou at Shevell.Thibou@wwu.edu

By the way, a comma splice occurs when two mini-sentences get smushed together with a comma. 

To find out more about Marie Antoinette, though, you’ll need to check with a Reference librarian.  And you’ll find that help in the Learning Commons!

  Did You Know?

The Learning Commons: For Students Who Want to do Great

By Kali Legg, Learning Commons Liaison

Kali Legg

Being a university student means being an excellent partier and procrastinator. It means trying to figure out how to manage time while trying to have a good time. It means drowning in flash cards, study-sheets and textbooks. Even though I feel sure every student on campus has had these experiences, not enough students have experienced the fresh air called the Learning Commons.

I suspect many students have heard of the Learning Commons, located across the second floor of the Library, but don’t exactly know what it is. Other students might be aware of the Learning Commons and what it offers such as: math, science, and writing tutoring, free technology workshops, expert librarians to assist with research, but, decide that they do not need this kind of support.

Many students are under the false impression that to seek help is to admit a weakness. We would all like to believe that we will do just fine by ourselves. The Learning Commons is not just a place for students who feel as if they're "in need" or somehow "desperate." The Learning Commons is for all students who want to do great.

How do I know all of this? During my first few weeks as a university student, I did all my studying in my dorm room. I never stepped foot inside the library, let alone the Learning Commons. "I’m a good student," I thought "I don’t need the Learning Commons." I was so wrong.

Once I was hired as a Learning Commons liaison, I decided it was time to explore what it had to offer. I found that programs like the Tutoring Center, the Writing Center, and Reference Services helped me become an overall better student while providing me with a great sense of academic relief. And participating in Viking Village and the Teaching-Learning Academy dialogue helped me understand what a diverse yet close-knit community my school really is.

The Learning Commons offers support.  It is a community of people, resources, and care that can help students who want to do great.

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