This column is devoted to issues related to technology at the University of St. Thomas. It is a joint effort of Computing and Communication Services, Instructional Support Services and the university libraries. Please send your comments to firstname.lastname@example.org .
Will you need emergency test preparation next week? Are you suffering from test anxiety? Do you need to know the best strategy for taking a true/false test? … a multiple choice test? … a short-answer test? Do you need a guide for a classroom presentation? … a group project? Read on!
While professional academic counseling services are available in Room 110, Aquinas Hall, you can find off-hours assistance from the nearest computer with an Internet connection on the Learning Center’s Study Guides and Strategies Web site (part of the Instructional Support Services site). This site gets hits from all over the world (doubling traffic to 800,000 hits in the last year), and helps students to manage their time, concentrate, influence teachers, read and write more effectively, and pass tests.
This Web site began five years ago as a collaboration with Rutgers University. Learning Center Supervisor Joe Landsberger converted a Filemaker Pro database of study guides into Web format, improving access for Learning Center clients. He also expanded the contents to more than 70 current pages. Study guides were developed from educational research (metacognition became “Learning to Learn”), from books (Dale Carnegie’s How to win Friends and Influence People became “Influencing Teachers”), and even from other Web site research (“Organizing and Working On Group Projects”).
The Web site is divided into eight sections:
- Preparing to Learn (e.g., study habits, time-management skills)
- Participating in the Classroom (e.g., influencing teachers, note-taking in lectures)
- Studying (e.g., study techniques, memorization)
- Reading Skills (e.g., note-taking while you read, improving your reading speed and comprehension)
- Preparing for Tests (e.g., reviewing, managing test anxiety)
- Taking Tests (e.g., specific strategies for true/false, multiple choice, short answer and essay tests)
- Writing Skills (e.g., grammar, spelling, organizing your writing)
- Writing Essays (e.g., expository essays, persuasive essays, essays for literature classes)
There are additional links to study guides at other universities, as well as links specific to the study of math, history, etc. There is also a link to the Learning Center’s Webtruth site, which deals with Web design. Joe is also in the process of developing a Web-based self-assessment tool that will help learners find out more about their learning style, as well as a companion workbook.
UST’s Study Guides and Strategies Web site is used by secondary school systems in Arizona, Georgia and Australia; by community colleges in New Jersey, California and England; and by distance education programs in Finland. According to Alta Vista, in November 1998 there were 46 links to this site; by November 1999, there were 689 linking Web sites, including USA Today Tech Web, Disney Online and the Canadian Ministry of Education.
As a learning experience and a service to students in other countries, Learning Center student workers have translated the study guides into many languages including Arabic, Chinese, German, French, Italian, Russian, Turkish, and Lugandan. (A Hindi translation is in development.) The Russian translation was a joint project with Moscow State University and the Chinese translation was done with the assistance of the University of International Business and Economics in Beijing.
So, if time is short, and you need some help in the coming week or next semester, join students across the world in using these study guides.