Thursday, October 20, 2016

This is 40!

Undeniably, the most well-known component of The Fourth is the Stone Writing Center. SWC is my retreat - my place to be when I’m not riding the waves. It’s my home away from home.

So, here’s the story of how it all started. In 1976, the concept of a writing center began in one room of the English Building. This resource soon expanded to include a second room, more staff, and text and audio-visual materials, formally becoming The English Learning Center (ELC). This center fulfilled the late Dr. Virginia Stone’s dream that Del Mar College provide a place and the staff for students to get one-on-one instruction, supplemental to the classroom, in English skills. We became the Writing Center in the 90s. In 2006, we officially changed our name to Stone Writing Center.

What happens at the SWC? We provide one-on-one and small group writing instruction to help students from all disciplines develop and strengthen their writing skills. Students can meet with a tutor on campus or they can submit their work to the Stone Writing Center Online in Canvas. The SWC offers spaces, devices, and other technology for students to use individually or in groups; students are also encouraged to bring and use their own devices. The SWC and its services are also available to the community.

Much has changed in the 40 years the Stone Writing Center has been open. Yet, it has never lost sight of its original help students become better writers and lifelong learners.

Happy Birthday, Stone Writing Center! 

Wednesday, October 12, 2016

New Favorite Places

Hello Roxy Readers! I’m still oohing and ahhing over The Fourth! It’s such an incredible space, and today I’d like to spotlight one of my new favorite areas, the Student Complex.

Here’s what you’ll find at the Student Complex:

Re-Charge Zone

Probably (arguably?) the most popular place in the Student Complex, the Re-Charge Zone is located between the entrances to The Hub and the Stone Writing Center and serves multiple purposes. Students can collaborate on group projects or work on individual assignments at the tables provided in this area. Students can also just take a quick break and hang out between tutorials and classes while recharging their devices and enjoying a free cup of coffee.

The Hub

The Hub, a space characterized by movement, activity, and discourse, located in L433, features
  • designated zones for specific types of activities.
  • non-traditional learning space with adaptable workstations and numerous technologies that enable and encourage students to participate actively and collaboratively.
  • workstations which are easily reconfigured to the needs of students working individually as well as in groups. 
  • cutting-edge technologies to facilitate learning and to move the learning environment from ordinary to innovative.
Interview Resource Center

The Interview Resource Center (IRC) provides students a place to practice, develop, and implement effective interview skills. The room is spacious enough to allow for individuals or small groups to collaborate on interview techniques. Providing mobile workstations allows students to create a configuration to best suit their needs.

Career Readiness Institute

Ready to transition from student to career? The Career Readiness Institute (CRI), the final component of the Student Complex, just opened this Fall 2016 semester. Students receive help with Career Readiness, planning, development, internships, résumés, cover letters, presentation practice skills, and effective interview skills.

Students will have the ability to use web-based career planning and mapping software such as Focus 2 and Purple Briefcase on the Fourth with the assistance of Career Mentors assigned to these rooms. The rooms will also provide a well-equipped area for students to practice interview and presentation skills and create PowerPoints, Prezis or other presentation programs.

So, what are you waiting for? Come check it out!

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

Tuesday, September 6, 2016

We’re a little Excited!

Hi Roxy Fans! I’ve missed sharing with y’all, but when you find out why, you’ll be as excited as I am!

::DRUMROLL:: Stone Writing Center is now part of The Fourth, and this is THE coolest place on campus!

The Fourth features active learning and planning spaces, instructional programming, and student resources like the SWC and the Student Complex. We believe that student success is enhanced through learning by doing. All of the spaces were designed with cutting edge technologies to create dynamic learning environments.

Our Mission Statement: The Fourth is devoted to serving the learning needs of Del Mar College students, faculty and staff, as well as the community at large, by providing active learning and planning spaces, instructional programming, and resources that encourage its users to learn by doing. 
  • Active Learning Spaces: The active learning and planning spaces on the Fourth have been created through a college-wide effort to provide innovative learning opportunities and learning environments to best suit the changing needs of our students.
  • Instructional Programs: Instructional opportunities are offered for students, faculty and staff and include programs such as SWC Experiences and Workshop Wednesdays. Online Tip Sheets and Canvas Help are also available. 
  • Stone Writing Center: The SWC provides one-on-one and small group writing instruction to students from all disciplines.
  • Student Complex: The Student Complex includes the Interview Resource Center (IRC), The Hub, and the Re-Charge Zone.

Each of the areas on The Fourth has unique qualities designed with students in mind. I’ll spotlight each area throughout the semester. If you’re on campus, come up to the The Fourth and check us out! We’d love to see you!

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

Friday, November 13, 2015

Organizing Your Essay Ideas

Hello Roxy Readers! It’s been a busy, busy time on The Fourth this semester. I haven’t even had time to surf! I still like to keep all my surfing gear organized, though. It means I’ll be ready to roll when I do find a chance to hit the waves. This made me think of the importance of organization in writing. Finding a good flow is very important to an essay; if your ideas are all jumbled, then your reader will not be able to follow your argument. Think of your essay like a formula. Once you have your ideas organized, you just plug in everything in between. Remember that good organization can be the difference between an easy-to-follow essay and a really confusing one. A writer may have good thoughts and arguments, but if they're poorly organized, then it doesn't matter.

An essay has three main parts: a thesis statement, supporting arguments, and a conclusion. Your thesis is your argument. This is what ties your entire paper together. Try to have a thesis before you start writing your paper, but if you don't have a polished thesis at this point, don't worry. There’s no need to force it. You will have a thesis eventually, but you also have to remember that it is the most important component of your paper. Your arguments are going to support your thesis, and your conclusion is going to restate your thesis.

So, hypothetically, now that you have your thesis, you can follow that up with your supporting arguments or evidence. If you find that you can't come up with much in the way of supporting points, then you may need to reevaluate your thesis. Your conclusion should restate your thesis. Notice I said restate, not repeat. You should use different words. You don’t want to introduce new material in your conclusion; leave all of that to your body paragraphs. See how it all fits together?

The easiest way to organize your thoughts is to create an outline. Here is a sample of what an outline could look like.
Include a thesis stating your argument.
Supporting point #1
Evidence that backs up your thesis and proves your point.
Supporting point #2
Supporting point #3
Restate your thesis in a different way and tie up your paper.

This really helps when you're stuck. It’s like a road map to follow. Your ideas are organized! Just like my surfing gear. If everything still seems all jumbled, visit us on The Fourth. We’re always happy to help you.

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

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Finding Your Writing Process

Ever heard of the term “writing process”? It’s the different steps we work through while completing writing assignments. Before you can tackle the writing process, you need to find your personal writer process.  Discovering your process is much like preparing to surf. It takes practice. There are different ways to tackle it, but your final goal is to catch a wave. To reach that goal, you have to try different techniques to find the one that suits you best.

Learning to Surf:
Surfboard – longboard or short board? Rent or buy?
Wet Suit – full body or shorts?
Surf Wax – which one? So many different brands.
Leash – What style? You don’t want to lose the board.

Finding your Writer Process:
Where—at home alone? At a coffee shop? On the Fourth?
How—very quiet? With music? Handwritten? Typed?
When—first thing in the morning? Late at night? Middle of the afternoon?
Equipment—colored pen? Favorite pencil? Tablet and tunes?

Every surfer has a signature style shredding the waves. Every writer has a customized method of composing ideas. Part of the fun of learning the craft (surfing or writing) is discovering our own personal style.     

You may discover that when you allow yourself to write the way you want to, writing becomes fun! It will also become easier. Remember Roxy Readers, your writer process is fluid. It ebbs and flows like the ocean tides and you’ll find a method that works for you.

Here is a great link from the National Council of Teachersof English (NCTE) to help you get started on your path to self-discovery.

Ultimately, you’ll be up and out on that wave writing, revising, and editing.

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

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Write it in Stone

 Hey Roxy Readers – today is officially the last full day of summer! We’re in full swing at the Stone Writing Center and so happy to see everyone! Whether you're a new face or a regular, the SWC is here for you. We’re so multi-faceted that we needed an entire blog post to tell you about us.

Where we are: Our brick and mortar is on the 4th floor of the White Library, East Campus. Once you get to the 4th, one of our many helpful staff members can direct you to wherever you need to be.

When we’re open:
8a -7p/ Monday-Thursday
8a - 1p/ Friday
10a - 3p/ Saturday
Closed Sunday

Where we are online: You’ll find all our contact info there, too. We are also on Twitter, so please follow us! We’re @theSWC.

What we do: If you need help with a writing assignment, college app letter, résumé - basically anything that has to do with writing - this is the place! Appointments are not needed; we handle walk-in visits. We have Instructional Consultants working throughout the day; just ask to visit with one, and we’ll make sure you’re taken care of. Our instructional consultants have Bachelor's Degrees and our peer writing consultants come recommended by Del Mar faculty. All our consultants are highly trained in helping you improve your writing. You can come to us with a few sentences, no sentences, or an entire paper! We’re happy to help you with your writing, but it is YOUR writing. We’ll share lots of tips on grammar and how to write a thesis statement. We’ll help you wherever you are in the writing process.

Can’t make it to our on-campus location? No worries! We offer writing consultations online through Canvas! Use your DMC username and password to enroll. Step one will ask for you information, and step two is where you upload your writing. The usual turnaround for online submissions is 48 hours. Same great service; same great consultants!

That’s the gist, Roxy Fans! We really are so much more, but that’s for another blog. We're pretty awesome. Come see us!

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