New York City has seen a major increase in anti-Semitic hate crimes this year, the New York City Police Department said. Anti-Semitic hate crimes for the first two months of the year through Feb. 26 are up 94% compared to the same period last year — driving a 55% increase in hate crimes overall, NYPD…
Study Groups: Strategies & Tips for Successful Collaboration
Benefits of a Study Group
- A support group can “pick you up” when you find that your motivation to study is slipping. The other group members can be a source of encouragement.
- You may be reluctant to ask a question in class. You will find it easier to do so in a small study group.
- Group members will listen and discuss information and concepts during the study sessions. These
activities add a strong auditory dimension to your learning experience.
- One or more group members are likely to understand something you do not. They may bring up
ideas you never considered.
- You can learn valuable new study habits from the other group members.
- You can compare your class notes with those of the other group members to clarify your notes and
fill in any gaps.
- Teaching/explaining information and concepts to the other group members will help you reinforce
your mastery of the information and concepts.
Getting Your Study Group Started
- Get to know your classmates by talking with them before class, during breaks, and after class. When selecting a classmate to join your study group, you should be able to answer YES for each of the following questions:
‐ Is this classmate motivated to do well?
‐ Is this classmate dependable?
‐ Would this classmate be tolerant of the ideas of others? ‐ Would you like to work with this classmate?
- Invite enough of these classmates to work with you in a study group until you have formed a group of three to five.
- Decide how often, for how long and where you will meet. Places to Meet:
- ‐ Carlson Library ‐ Residence Hall Study Rooms
- ‐ Student Union ‐ Dining Centers
- ‐ College study areas
- Decide on the goals of the study group and who will serve as leader.
- Clearly decide the agenda for the first study session and the responsibilities of each group member
for that session.
- Develop a list of all group members that includes their names, telephone numbers, and email
addresses. Make sure each group member has this list and update the list as needed.
(Working in Groups: Strategies & Tips for Successful Collaboration cont.)
Possible Pitfalls of a Study Group
A study group can be a very positive learning experience. However, there are some things to avoid. Here are some cautions:
- Do not let the study group get distracted from its agenda and goals.
- Do not let the study group become a social group. You can always socialize at other times.
- Do not allow group members to attend unprepared. To stay in the group, members should be required to do their fair share.
- Do not the let the session become a negative forum for complaining about teachers and courses.
- Do not allow one or two group members to dominate the group. It is important that all members
have an equal opportunity to participate.
Conducting a Successful Study Group
Test Each Other by Asking Questions: Bring 4‐5 sample test questions to each meeting.
Practice Teaching Each Other: Turn the material that you are studying into a list of topics and assign a specific topic to each person, who will then teach it to the group.
Compare Notes: Make sure that you all heard the same thing in class and that you recorded the important information. Ask others to help explain those things that are confusing to you.
Brainstorm Test Questions: Set aside 5‐10 minutes to create test questions.
Set an Agenda for Each Meeting: Select activities or create ones to do as a group. Set time limits for
each agenda item and determine a quitting time. End each meeting with assignments for each member.
Learning Enhancement Center
Carlson Library Lower Level B0200 ‐ Rathbun Cove Phone: 419.530.2176
Multimedia Lectures: Tools for Improving Accessibility and Learning
By: Mary Bart
For all of these reasons and more, today’s student body is a highly diverse group with many different learning challenges, often manifesting in problems with notetaking and listening comprehension. All of this creates what Keith Bain calls an “accessibility imperative.” And although there are many legal obligations that institutions must satisfy with regards to accessibility, Bain says recording and transcribing lectures can improve retention and success for all types of students.
In the recent online seminar Tools and Techniques for Improving Course Accessibility, Bain, the international manager of the Liberated Learning Consortium and an adjunct professor at St. Mary’s University, explained the value of digitizing, captioning, and transcribing course material, why you should do it and how.
At the most basic level, Bain said, an instructor could record a presentation with little more than a good lavalier mic or headset and a digital recorder. A more intermediate approach could include using audio recording software like Audacity,PowerPoint narration, or tools such as mp3DirectCut or Power Sound Editor. If the institution has invested in lecture capture systems such as Camtasia Relay,Mediasite,Tegrity Campus, Echo 360 or Panopto, there are even more options and much less work since the recording and synchronization are all automated.
Once the presentation is digitized, the next step is to transcribe it, Bain said, noting that this is often the most difficult aspect of offering students truly accessible course media. Some of the tools Bain recommends for converting speech to text include Dragon Naturally Speaking, Media Access Generator (MAGpie),CapScribe, and InqScribe.
YouTube also offers a captioning feature that Bain called “promising” and there are a few research prototypes with speech recognition based transcription, including an IBM Research’s Hosted Transcription Service and Synote.
During the seminar Bain also shared results of a case study that measured the performance of students who used multimedia notes (recorded lectures with real-time captioning and transcription) against those who used traditional notes. The students who studied using multimedia notes scored better on quizzes and exams.
“Accessibility is not optional but rather a critical success factor,” he said. “At the very simplest level, record your next lecture. At the minimum you can create an auditory based learning object that will greatly enhance learning opportunities for many of your students. I found that a lot of students will listen to these newly created podcasts.”
Academictips.org is a great website for college students looking to brush up on studying skills and helpful tips.
Time Management Tips
- A Personal Time Survey
- Study Hour Formular
- Daily Schedules
- Don’t be a Perfectionist
- Learn to Say NO
- Learn to Prioritize
- Combine Several Activities
1. A Personal Time Survey:
To begin managing your time you first need a clearer idea of how you now use your time. The Personal Time Survey will help you to estimate how much time you currently spend in typical activities. To get a more accurate estimate, you might keep track of how you spend your time for a week. This will help you get a better idea of how much time you need to prepare for each subject. It will also help you identify your time wasters. But for now complete the Personal Time Survey to get an estimate. The following survey shows the amount of time you spend on various activities. When taking the survey, estimate the amount of time spent on each item. Once you have this amount, multiply it by seven. This will give you the total time spent on the activity in one week. After each item’s weekly time has been calculated, add all these times for the grand total. Subtract this from 168, the total possible hours per week.
Here We Go:
|1. Number of hours of sleep each night||
________ X 7 = _______
|2. Number of grooming hours per day||
________ X 7 = _______
|3. Number of hours for meals/snacks per day – include preparation time||
________ X 7 = _______
|4a. Total travel time weekdays||
________ X 5= _______
|4b. Total travel time weekends||
|5. Number of hours per week for regularly scheduled functions (clubs, church, get-togethers, etc.)||
|6. Number of hours per day for chores, errands, extra grooming, etc.||
_______ X 7 = _______
|7. Number of hours of work per week||
|8. Number of hours in class per week||
|9. Number of average hours per week socializing, dates, etc. Be honest!||
|Now add up the totals:||
|Subtract the above number from 168||
168 – _______ = _______
The remaining hours are the hours you have allowed yourself to study.
2. Study Hour Formula:
To determine how many hours you need to study each week to get A’s, use the following rule of thumb. Study two hours per hour in class for an easy class, three hours per hour in class for an average class, and four hours per hour in class for a difficult class. For example, basket weaving 101 is a relatively easy 3 hour course. Usually, a person would not do more than 6 hours of work outside of class per week. Advanced calculus is usually considered a difficult course, so it might be best to study the proposed 12 hours a week. If more hours are needed, take away some hours from easier courses, i.e., basket weaving. Figure out the time that you need to study by using the above formula for each of your classes.
|Easy class credit hours||
________ x 2 = _______
|Average class credit hours||
________ x 3 = _______
|Difficult class credit hours||
________ x 4 = _______
Compare this number to your time left from the survey. Now is the time when many students might find themselves a bit stressed. Just a note to ease your anxieties. It is not only the quantity of study time but also it’s quality. This formula is a general guideline. Try it for a week, and make adjustments as needed.
3. Daily Schedules:
There are a variety of time schedules that can fit your personality. These include engagement books, a piece of poster board tacked to a wall, or 3 x 5 cards. Once you decide upon the style, the next step is construction. It is best to allow spaces for each hour, half-hours for a busy schedule. First, put down all of the necessities; classes, work, meals, etc. Now block in your study time (remember the study time formula presented earlier). Schedule it for a time when you are energized. Also, it’s best to review class notes soon after class. Make sure to schedule in study breaks, about 10 minutes each hour. Be realistic on how many courses to take. To succeed in your courses you need to have the time to study. If you find you don’t have time to study and you’re not socializing to an extreme, you might want to consider lightening your load. Tips for Saving Time Now that you know how you spend most of your time, take a look at it. Think about what your most important things are. Do you have enough time? Chances are that you do not. Below are some tips on how to schedule and budget your time when it seems you just don’t have enough.
4. Don’t be a Perfectionist:
Trying to be a perfect person sets you up for defeat. Nobody can be perfect. Difficult tasks usually result in avoidance and procrastination. You need to set achievable goals, but they should also be challenging. There will always be people both weaker and stronger than you.
5. Learn to Say No:
For example, an acquaintance of yours would like you to see a movie with him tonight. You made social plans for tomorrow with your friends and tonight you were going to study and do laundry. You really are not interested. You want to say no, but you hate turning people down. Politely saying no should become a habit. Saying no frees up time for the things that are most important.
6. Learn to Prioritize:
Prioritizing your responsibilities and engagements is very important. Some people do not know how to prioritize and become procrastinators. A “to do list” places items in order of importance. One method is the ABC list. This list is divided into three sections; a, b, or c. The items placed in the A section are those needed to be done that day. The items placed in the B section need completion within the week. The C section items are those things that need to be done within the month. As the B, C items become more pertinent they are bumped up to the A or B list. Try it or come up with your own method, but do it.
7. Combine Several Activities:
Another suggestion is to combine several activities into one time spot. While commuting to school, listen to taped notes. This allows up to an hour or two a day of good study review. While showering make a mental list of the things that need to be done. When you watch a sit-com, laugh as you pay your bills. These are just suggestions of what you can do to combine your time, but there are many others, above all be creative, and let it work for you.
After scheduling becomes a habit, then you can adjust it. It’s better to be precise at first. It is easier to find something to do with extra time then to find extra time to do something. Most importantly, make it work for you. A time schedule that is not personalized and honest is not a time schedule at all.
By George Mason University
The True Cost Of Multi-Tasking
Does this describe you? While you are on a teleconference call you are writing up your quarterly report, checking your email, and texting your friend about where you are meeting for lunch. You would say that you are good at multi-tasking, right? You might want to re-think your strategy. Recent estimates are that you can lose up to 40% of your productivityif you multi-task.
Task switching, not multi-tasking — The term multi-tasking is actually a misnomer. People can’t actually do more than one task at a time. Instead we switch tasks. So the term that is used in the research is “task switching”.
Task switching is “expensive” — There has been a lot of research on task switching. Here’s what we know from the research:
- It takes more time to get tasks completed if you switch between them than if you do them one at a time.
- You make more errors when you switch than if you do one task at a time.
- If the tasks are complex then these time and error penalties increase.
- Each task switch might waste only 1/10th of a second, but if you do a lot of switching in a day it can add up to a loss of 40% of your productivity.
- Task switching involves several parts of your brain: Brain scans during task switching show activity in four major areas: the pre-frontal cortex is involved in shifting and focusing your attention, and selecting which task to do when. The posterior parietal lobe activates rules for each task you switch to, the anterior cingulate gyrus monitors errors, and the pre-motor cortex is preparing for you to move in some way.
I know it’s popular to think that you are multi-tasking, but the research is clear that people actually can’t multi-task, with one specific exception that I’ll get to in a minute.
One thing at a time –– For many years the psychology research has shown that people can only attend to one task at a time. Let me be even more specific. The research shows that people can attend to only one cognitive task at a time. You can only be thinking about one thing at a time. You can only be conducting one mental activity at a time. So you can be talking or you can be reading. You can be reading or you can be typing. You can be listening or you can be reading. One thing at a time.
We fool ourselves — We are pretty good at switching back and forth quickly, so we THINK we are actually multi-tasking, but in reality we are not.
The one exception — The only exception that the research has uncovered is that if you are doing a physical task that you have done very very often and you are very good at, then you can do that physical task while you are doing a mental task. So if you are an adult and you have learned to walk then you can walk and talk at the same time.
Then again, maybe there isn’t an exception — Even this doesn’t work very well, though. In a study by Hyman et. al. in 2009, people talking on their cell phones while walking, ran into people more often and didn’t notice what was going on around them. The researchers had someone in a clown suit ride a unicycle. The people talking on a cell phone were much less likely to notice or remember the clown.
But young people can multi-task, right? – If you think that it’s only older people that can’t multi-task, think again. A study at Stanford University demonstrates that multi-tasking doesn’t work, even with college students. Clifford Nass’s study found that when people are asked to deal with multiple streams of information they can’t pay attention to them, can’t remember as well, and don’t switch as well as they thought they would – even college students.
So if multi-tasking is not effective what should you do? How do you effectively cope with all the input and distractions you have in your life, especially at work?
1: Use the 80/20 rule — 20% of the work you do gives 80% of the impact and effectiveness. We often make the mistake of thinking that being busy means being effective. And the busier we get the more multi-tasking we end up doing. According to the research the result is that you are actually less effective. Focus on identifying the 20% of your tasks that are really effective, and do them one at a time.
2: Implement “batch processing” — Do you sit at your desk with your email open and then get sucked into reading and answering emails all day long every time they come in? This encourages multi-tasking. Instead, try batch processing your emails. Decide on certain times of the day (in the morning, at noon, in the late afternoon, for example) that you are going to check and deal with email. Some people (Timothy Ferriss, for example, author of The 4-Hour Workweek) get really radical with this idea. Ferriss advocates that you check email once a day or less! If you are like me, that radical an idea is probably not feasible, but experiment with this idea of batch processing. You can use this not only for email, but for anything that is usually a distraction for you, such as making phone calls, checking voicemail, texting, etc. If you do batch processing you can then eliminate that task as a multi-tasking distractor during the other parts of your day.
#3: Work on your most important tasks first — I think one of the reasons that we give in to multi-tasking is that we feel more and more anxious as the day goes on that we have not accomplished what we wanted to, or what was important to us. So identify at the start of each day (or better yet, at the end of the day before) one or two really important things that you want to accomplish during that one day. Then do those tasks first. The sense of relief and accomplishment is immense, and you will find that you are more relaxed as the day goes on. You will not feel the anxious drive to do more and more and more, and it will be easier to resist multi-tasking.
#4: Use concentrated time — The opposite of multi-tasking is concentrated time. So if you are trying to stop multi-tasking you must start doing the opposite — give yourself blocks of time during which you are only working on one task. The idea of setting aside an entire day to work on that presentation you have coming up, may seem like it is impossible right now, but it doesn’t have to be an entire day. Start by taking one hour. Close down your email and all your other software. Turn off your phone or turn down the volume. Close the door to your office if you have a door. If you don’t have a door then figure out a place to go where people won’t find you. Then take that hour or 2 hours or half day or full day and work ONLY on the one task. You will be amazed at how much you will accomplish and how energized it makes you feel.
#5: Leave blank spaces – The research on creativity tells us that it is the pre-frontal cortex that puts ideas together. But the pre-frontal cortex can only work on one thing at a time. When you are multi-tasking you are taxing your pre-frontal cortex. You will never solve problems if your pre-frontal cortex doesn’t get quiet time to work on integrating information. This may sound paradoxical, but if you STOP thinking about a problem or particular topic you will then be able to solve it! This means you have to make time for blank spaces in your day. You need to have time in your day when you are doing “nothing” as far as your brain is concerned. Not talking, not reading, not writing. You can go for a walk, get exercise, listen to music, or stare into space. The more blank space the more work you will get done! Multi-tasking is the enemy of blank space.
#6: Accept it — The first step to change any behavior is to accept it! So if you want to stop multi-tasking the first thing you need to do is accept that you are multi-tasking and that multi-tasking is not effective. That might be the hardest step of all. We are actually addicted to the constant buzz of activity that multi-tasking gives us (see my blog post on dopamine). So just take a deep breath and accept that you’ve got this habit along with most of the people you know. Just noticing when you are doing it and saying, “oh, there I go again” will actually help tremendously in changing it. Putting your attention on what you want to change is a vital first step.
#7: Go “off grid” to re-calibrate – Last year I spent a week “off the grid” on an island in Lake Michigan. No internet, no email, no cell phones. I spent time on my computer (updating my iPhoto albums, etc), but not communicating with anyone online. It was different, interesting, and strange. I was actually glad to get back to the grid. But the experience made me think. The major difference for me was that I stopped “multi-tasking”.
When I was off the grid I found that I started doing one task at a time. I would do one thing for several minutes, and in many cases several hours. I believe that being online encourages task switching. When you can go from email to chat to texting to twitter to phone to facebook you switch tasks more. When I was off the grid all my communication channels were gone. So instead I spent time with one task and with one program. One day I worked in iPhoto for 3 hours straight. I think this week off grid “calibrated” my sense of what normal task switching is.
Less task switching = more happiness? — . I have found since then that I do less task switching. I’m not perfect. I fall into it sometimes, but since my week of re-calibration I follow the guidelines above more easily. I also believe that I am less agitated. It’s my hypothesis that task switching not only wastes time and increases errors. Task switching causes fatigue, exhaustion and agitation.
What do you think? Have you been able to do less task switching? Have you tried?
Hyman Ira E. Jr., S. Matthew Boss, Breanne M. Wise, Kira E. McKenzie, Jenna M. . “Did you see the unicycling clown? Inattentional blindness while walking and talking on a cell phone”. Applied Cognitive Psychology, December, 2009.
Meyer, D. E., Evans, J. E., Lauber, E. J., Gmeindl, L., Rubinstein, J., Junck, L., & Koeppe, R. A. (1998). The role of dorsolateral prefrontal cortex for executive cognitive processes in task switching. Journal of Cognitive Neuroscience, 1998, Vol. 10.
Meyer, D. E., Evans, J. E., Lauber, E. J., Rubinstein, J., Gmeindl, L., Junck, L., & Koeppe, R. A. (1997). Activation of brain mechanisms for executive mental processes in cognitive task switching. Journal of Cognitive Neuroscience, 1997, Vol. 9.
http://www.apa.org/research/action/multitask.aspx(link is external) This is an excellent article summarizing the research on task switching.
Note Taking Techniques
The most comprehensive note taking systems require attention on your part. You must be alert enough in class to take legible, meaningful notes. You can’t rely on “writing everything down” because a lot of information in a given lecture won’t help you actually learn the material. If you have problems determining the specific relevant points in a particular class, you can always ask the professor to clarify them for you.
The 2-6 Method: The 2-6 refers to the way you divide the space on your notepaper. Make two columns, using the red line on the left of the page as your border. Then, when you take notes in class, use the 6 column for the notes and the smaller 2 column on the left as a highlighting system. Write main headings and important points on the left, including material you think you will be tested on. When you’re finished, you should have a comprehensive page of information that you can quickly scan for important points. Studying is 99% perspiration; if you give it a real, concentrated effort over the course of a semester you will see an improvement. Your academic success is entirely up to you.
– By George Mason University
Split Page Method
Class lectures and your textbook–they’re the primary sources of course content and you need to learn both. So combine them with the split page method of taking notes. Just divide your notebook page in half lengthwise. Draw a line down the middle of the page. Take class notes on one side of the page and outline the text on the other side. When you study you’ll have both. Class notes and text together, integrated. Some students find it helpful to add a third column for questions they need to ask the professor.
– By Sherry Reynolds
Using Group Notes
Are you tired of struggling to keep up with a lecture while copying page after page of notes in class? My advice? Don’t take the notes — at least not every day. Instead, form a group with some of your classmates and take turns taking good class notes. When it’s not your day to be the note-taker, really concentrate on what is being said in class. You might want to jot down a few particularly important points, but mostly try to participate in class. Ask questions when you can’t understand the point your teacher is trying to get across, and score points by answering questions your teacher asks. After class you can either photocopy the notes from your classmate, or better yet, copy them over by hand while reviewing in your mind what happened in class.
– By Fred Weening
Secrets to Taking Better Notes
As a writer for Edinboro University and its Alumni News magazine, I spend a lot of time interviewing people. A key interviewing skill is taking good notes–a skill that is just as valuable in the classroom. There is no magic to taking good notes, just common sense. It’s simply a matter of being thorough and accurate. Now, not many people can write fast enough to capture everything their professor says in class, so it is a good idea to also use a tape recorder. That way you won’t miss something while you write, and you can double-check the tape for accuracy. Whether you use a recorder or not, it’s important to transcribe your notes as soon as possible while the subject is still fresh in your mind. By re-writing or re-typing your notes, you become more familiar with the material. You mentally reinforce what was said in class. And you get practice writing the information, making it easier to write the material a second time whether it be for a test or a term paper.
– By Brian Pitzer
Are your grades as good as you want them to be? Are your notes worth reviewing? Notes are phrases and abbreviations that we hurriedly jot down while trying to follow a lecture. Later, when we go back to review our notes, there are times when we can’t seem to understand or remember what those key words and phrases meant; sometimes we can’t even read our own handwriting. Here is a note-taking study tip that has proven to be effective. After you have finished class, immediately rush to the nearest computer lab and retype your notes. You need to rewrite those phrases as complete thoughts and sentences; dot your I’s, cross your T’s and use “cut and paste” to put your notes into some type of a logical sequence. While retyping your notes you are using several modalities: you review as you read your notes aloud, you use your hand to type, and you reread again as you proof read what you have typed. Research indicates that 80% of new material can be recalled if you review notes within the first 24 hours of presentation. Also, clean typed notes are easier to read and highlight as you study. If you retype your notes daily, you will keep the task from becoming overwhelming, you will learn good study habits that aid in memory retention and, at the same time, improve your grades.
– By Janet Jenkins
The most important advice I can give to you is to make sure you attend your classes. Attendance in class enhances the chance you’ll get a passing grade in a course. In addition to attending class, it is important to brush up on your note-taking skills to really achieve optimum success. Some general recommendations for improving note-taking skills are to:
- Read all textbook material relevant to the topic being covered prior to attending class.
- Make sure you take notes in class. If you fail to take notes, much of what you learn from the lecture will be forgotten in a few days. If you have something written down on paper, you can always refer to the material later.
- Ask professors who lecture too fast if you can tape record their lecture. You’ll generally find that many professors are willing to assist you in your efforts to gain as much from their lecture as possible.
- By attending class and utilizing the note-taking techniques just described, your chances for success in college will increase significantly.
– By Kiran Misra
Prepare For The Lecture
The greatest advantage is that:
- You are familiar with the subject.
- You know what to ask.
- You are not going to waste time by writing down stuff that is already there in your study material. Rather, you know what to write, where to pick links and to clear your concepts.
By the time the lecture is over, you are in a much clearer state of mind. This way, taking down notes becomes more meaningful and worth the time you spent doing it.
– By Ms. Sreelatha Anand
This may take a little bit longer but it will work. Just give it a chance. When you are taking notes change the color of your pen! Don’t write in blue or black ink. Writing in color will help you retain 50% – 80% more of the infomation without reading it a second time (also highlight in purple). I am a teacher of adult education and this is the rule for my class room.
– By Nicole Watts