Wednesday, May 2, 2018

Once again...It's time for Final Exams!

Roxy Readers – It's final exam time again and you know what that means… I'm sharing information about apps that will help you study and avoid procrastination. 

1.       OFFTIME
This is an App that lets you block apps that you know are distracting to you. For example: Facebook, Instagram, games, or Twitter. You can also set aside blocks of time for family, work, or “you" time. It even gives you statistics on how you use your phone so you can finally see that you spend five hours a day on Facebook. That’s a wake-up call. This app is available on iOS and Android.

2.       AppDetox
This app also allows you to block certain apps and view what your usage is like. However, this app lets you know when you break the rules. Sometimes we need a visual reminder that we need to change our ways. Only available on Android.

3.       Productivity Owl
This Chrome extension is really serious about keeping you on track. If it notices that you’ve been spending too much time on frivolous websites, the Productivity Owl flies in and closes your tabs. Of course, you can control what the owl thinks are frivolous websites and regulate how much time you’re allowed to spend on the sites. If you start to get addicted to watching the Owl fly in, you may need to move on to a different extension.

This free Android app temporarily blocks programs on your mobile device. You set the date and length of time to block. Once that time is up, you'll have access to the apps again. 

5.       StayOnTask
This app will randomly check that you are doing what you've said you would do. Again, you set the parameters, and the app will pop in to see if you're on task. StayOnTask is a free app in Google Play.

6.         Quizlet
Study using digital flashcards that you create, or search the millions of sets available. Free to use for tablet, mobile device, or desktop.

7.         Evernote
This is another free app that will let you scan and upload your information to one spot. Never worry about misplacing your class notes again.

That's it for now, Roxy Fans! This is my last entry for the semester. Good luck on your finals!
See you next time the sun is up, the breeze is cool, and the waves roll into view. ‘Til then, hang ten!

Wednesday, March 21, 2018

Stay Home and Use SWC Online

Roxy Readers – Have you missed me? I’ve been sidelined TWICE by the horrible flu that’s going around! Now I’m spending my time catching up, recovering, and getting healthy!

If you find yourself in the same boat because you’re sick or taking care of someone who’s sick, take advantage of our online tutoring! You will get the same great help from the amazing tutors at the Stone Writing Center all from the comfort of home. Here’s how to do that!

  1. Follow this link to get to the SWC’s website.
  2. Find the link that says Online.
  3. This will take you to Canvas where you will be prompted to log in. Log in using your Del Mar username and password.
  4. Once you’ve logged in, you should be asked to enroll in the Stone Writing Online 2018 course. Click on the “Enroll in Course” button.
  5. Once there, you will click on the link that says, “Start Here to Submit Writing”. This will take you to step one of the process.
  6. Choose Step 1 of 2 for the current week, and you will be taken to some questions that look like a quiz. It’s not actually a quiz! Fill out as much information as you can. It’s very important that you provide us with the assignment instructions, your professor, and your course.
  7. Once you’ve done that successfully, you can move onto Step 2 where you upload a file for us to review.
  8. Step 2: Select Submit Assignment, Choose File you want to submit, and select Submit Assignment near the bottom of screen.

Congratulations! You’re done! We will get back to you within 48 hours, but usually within 24. A tutor will look over your assignment and give you some handy tips and comments to mull over. You can submit as many times as you want, but we look at assignments on a first-come-first-serve basis. Now you can rest, binge-watch Netflix, and wait for our response. Please focus on getting better, and then we’d love to see you at the SWC!

See you next time the sun is up, the breeze is cool, and the waves roll into view. ‘Til then, hang ten!

Monday, December 11, 2017

Good Luck on Finals!

Hi Roxy Readers – Final exam time is here again and you know what that means… I'm sharing information about apps that will help you study and avoid procrastination. I've added a couple of new apps, so give them a try. Also, read Goconqr’s blog How to Beat Exam Stress in 10 Easy Ways for some great stress-relieving tips.

1.       OFFTIME
This is an App that lets you block apps that you know are distracting to you. For example: Facebook, Instagram, games, or Twitter. You can also set aside blocks of time for family, work, or “you" time. It even gives you statistics on how you use your phone so you can finally see that you spend five hours a day on Facebook. That’s a wake-up call. This app is available on iOS and Android.

2.       AppDetox
This app also allows you to block certain apps and view what your usage is like. However, this app lets you know when you break the rules. Sometimes we need a visual reminder that we need to change our ways. Only available on Android.

3.       Productivity Owl
This Chrome extension is really serious about keeping you on track. If it notices that you’ve been spending too much time on frivolous websites, the Productivity Owl flies in and closes your tabs. Of course, you can control what the owl thinks are frivolous websites and regulate how much time you’re allowed to spend on the sites. If you start to get addicted to watching the Owl fly in, you may need to move on to a different extension.

This free Android app temporarily blocks programs on your mobile device. You set the date and length of time to block. Once that time is up, you'll have access to the apps again. 

5.       StayOnTask
This app will randomly check that you are doing what you've said you would do. Again, you set the parameters, and the app will pop in to see if you're on task. StayOnTask is a free app in Google Play.

6.         Quizlet
Study using digital flashcards that you create, or search the millions of sets available. Free to use for tablet, mobile device, or desktop.

7.         Evernote
This is another free app that will let you scan and upload your information to one spot. Never worry about misplacing your class notes again.

That's it for now, Roxy Fans! This is my last entry for the semester. Good luck on your finals!
See you next time the sun is up, the breeze is cool, and the waves roll into view. ‘Til then, hang ten!

Wednesday, November 15, 2017

Since we’re talking about research…

After posting about the research paper, I was inspired to follow up with a blog entry about plagiarism, or actually how to avoid plagiarism. For the most part, plagiarism happens accidentally. Most of the time, students have simply forgotten to give credit to the author, or the students were unaware of how to give credit or that they even needed to do so. Before you get lost in the piles of research, let’s have a heart-to-heart about some great ways to avoid plagiarism and show off your amazing research skills.

To Cite or Not to Cite: Have you heard of the term common knowledge? Students tend to confuse common knowledge with knowledge that they already had in their head. Saying the sky is blue is common knowledge, but if you already know why the sky is blue (without researching it), then that is not common knowledge and needs to be cited. Another example is George Washington. Saying George Washington was the first President of the United States is common knowledge, but saying that George Washington became president in 1789 is not common knowledge. It’s important to know the difference. When in doubt, look it up and cite it.  

Keep Track of Your Sources: Research papers require a lot of, well, research. It’s easy to read something at some point during your research and then forget where you read it. When this happens, you may be tempted to just stick it in your paper and not cite it. Don’t do that. Review your sources to find the information you need to cite. Next time, keep careful notes about the specific information that came from each of your sources. At the end of this entry, you’ll find a link to a handy software plug-in that will help you keep track of all the sources you find.

Paraphrasing: Another way that plagiarism happens is when a student paraphrases but doesn’t change enough of the words. This one can be a little confusing, but it doesn’t have to be. The general rule is not to use more than two words, in a row, verbatim from the source. If you use more than two words verbatim in a row, then you need to put them in quotations. Of course, even if you change enough words to paraphrase, you still must include an in-text citation at end of the sentence. Basically, anything that you borrow, whether it’s a direct quote, summary, or a paraphrase, needs a citation.

The Works Cited Page: Lastly, we need the works cited page. Your works cited page (or reference page, depending on the documentation style) needs to contain bibliographical information for all the sources that are included in your paper. I see students that have a long list of sources on their works cited page, but they’ve only cited one or two in their paper. That’s another thing to avoid. Make sure that every source in your works cited page is in your paper and vice versa. Check out our website at DelMar.edu/SWC for a list of helpful handouts.

It can be easy to avoid plagiarism; you just need the proper tools and knowledge. Always be aware of what ideas you’ve borrowed and what are your own thoughts. As long as you’re careful, you should be fine. Don’t be afraid to ask a consultant or your professor if you’re unsure of whether something needs to be cited. Plagiarism is a serious academic offense that can result in failing a class or being put on academic probation. Cite your sources carefully, and give authors the credit they deserve!

The Helpful Plug-In: Want some help saving all of your sources? I’ve used a plug-in called Zotero to do my own research. Zotero allows you to save sources, organize them, and make a works cited page. It’s amazing and really awesome for any research paper. It’s available for Mac and Windows, and you can get plug-ins for your browser. As with any helpful citation generator, you want to CHECK your citations carefully before you submit your paper.

Hope this helps, Readers! I’m diving back into my research! See you next time the sun is up, the breeze is cool, and the waves roll into view. ‘Til then, hang ten!

P.S. Help me reach 1000 followers! Follow @theSWC on Twitter! 

Monday, November 6, 2017

It's Research Paper Time!

We’re staring at the end of the semester, Roxy Readers! It’s so close, but yet so far. Most of y’all probably have a research paper looming on the horizon. You may even be in different stages of it. A research paper can seem overwhelming at first, but like all things, with practice it will become easier. Here are some great tips for writing that research paper.

  1. Look at the assignment instructions: Don’t skip this step! Professors are super awesome and give you this handy set of blueprints for your paper. Take them seriously. When a professor gives you very specific instructions on what to write, follow them. There’s a good chance that a giant chunk of your grade is fulfilling the assignment requirements. This is the easiest thing you can do and one of the most important steps. So read over those instructions with a fine-tooth comb before, during, and after writing your paper. If you need help deciphering something in the instructions, come see us. 
  2. Pick a topic that you like: You should pick a research topic that you’re interested in, while still staying within the parameters of the assignment. This will make the research and writing process much more enjoyable. Trust me. If you have to write about something that you know nothing about or don’t like, you may find this entire process painful. If you enjoy your topic, you’ll be more likely to put some heart into it and actually like what you’re doing.
  3. Give yourself plenty of time: Don’t wait! You’ve probably done this before and then swore you’d never do it again. Don’t try to write your paper the night before it’s due. That’s stressful! Don’t do that to yourself. Give yourself time to research, outline, write, and revise. Ration out your time so you don’t tailspin into a panic attack. 
  4. Have a strong thesis: Your entire paper will be built around this thesis. Make sure it’s a strong statement that clearly outlines what you’re going to discuss in your paper. Once you have your stellar thesis, make sure you follow it throughout your paper. Keep looking back at it to see that what you’re saying supports your thesis. This should prevent you from veering away from the topic. 
  5. Do your research: Say what you want in your research paper, but back it up with reputable sources. You’ll want to gather these sources from scholarly publications and legitimate websites. The school’s library website will be your best friend. 
  6. Ask for help: Seek the help of your teacher or a writing center consultant if you get stuck at any point. Don’t give up and come back to it five days later. Ask for help after the first day, and then you can spend those other four days accomplishing something.
  7. Revise: This step is super important. Once you’ve written the paper, you aren’t done. You still need to read through it multiple times and revise and edit carefully. Reading through your paper backwards is a great way to catch sentence-level errors. If you’re looking for information holes, then I’d advise reading through it beginning to end.
Well, there you go. These are the basics for writing a solid research paper. Research papers can be daunting, but if you prepare and know what you’re heading into, they are completely doable. Good luck and happy researching.

See you next time the sun is up, the breeze is cool, and the waves roll into view. ‘Til then, hang ten!

Monday, October 16, 2017

A Tutorial Session



Roxy Readers - I finally have a chance to say hello again to everyone. It’s been a busy time for our coastal area. We are still recovering from Hurricane Harvey, but we are on the rise! Despite the challenges our community has faced, we are very busy at the SWC. Many are first-time visitors so I thought I’d devote this blog to discussing tutorial sessions.

#Truth…. We are a welcoming place full of friendly people, lots of technology, and some awesome coffee! Still, some people feel a bit nervous walking into a tutorial session. Here’s a play by play that can help ease your nerves and give you the confidence you need to ace that tutorial session and leave feeling accomplished.

The Intro (not to your paper, but to your tutor!) - We’re super good at putting you at ease. The tutorial session might start with some stellar eye contact, an awesome handshake or smile, and an introduction. We want you to feel comfortable here.

The Sit Down – Let’s get to work. Your tutor will ask you what you’re working on. Once that’s out of the way, we ask you which professor it’s for, what class, and if you have the assignment sheet. We’ll likely look over the assignment sheet so we can become familiar with the professor’s expectations for the assignment. All of this preliminary stuff allows us to give you the best and most accurate service that we can.

The Good Stuff (what you specifically want help with) - We try to make sure you lead the session. We want to work on what you want to work on. Once we have a game plan, the tutor may read your paper if you have part of it written. If you haven’t written anything, then we’ll help you brainstorm, storyboard, or just talk it out. Basically, the theme of the session is you!

The Time – The sessions last up to 20 minutes, but you can come back as often as you want. Towards the end of our time together, we’ll start to wrap things up and ask if there’s anything else we can work on before we part ways. You are welcome to hang out for as long as you want and sign up for another session after you’ve incorporated what you learned in our time together.

Good to Know – A common misconception about writing centers is that we are here to edit (correct) your paper for you. This is not true. Our mission is to teach you to be a stronger, more confident writer. We won’t write on your paper, tell you what we think your grade should be, or put words in your mouth. We want your writing to be your writing. We’ll focus on higher order concerns first like content and organization before we address lower order concerns like grammar.

There you have it, your basic tutorial session. Of course, each one is different. That’s why we love our jobs so much! Hopefully this helps ease you into a tutorial session with one of our amazing tutors. Come visit us at the SWC and find out what all the hype is about.

See you next time the sun is up, the breeze is cool, and the waves roll into view. ‘Til then, hang ten!


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