Posts about: Library Basics

Panicking about Exams? Come to our Exams and Revision Workshop 2nd May 2pm

26 April 2017

With exams looming you may feel like panicking…


Hold that thought! The Skills for Learning Team are delivering an exam and revision workshop on 2nd May at 2pm.

We’ll be covering exam preparation, revision strategies and top tips for the day of your exam.

Book on to the workshop via the following link:

https://myadvantage.salford.ac.uk/students/events/detail/509639

Any questions please email studyskills@salford.ac.uk

 

Hamlet’s Exam – the soliloquy Hamlet never delivered while he was at University in Wittenberg

21 April 2017

Lynne shares some Shakespearean thoughts about exams in honour of Shakespeare Day.

In honour of Shakespeare Day (23rd April), here is the soliloquy Hamlet never delivered while he was at University in Wittenberg.

Hamlet ponders exams

2B, or not 2B: that is the question:
Whether ‘tis nobler in the test to hazard
To scrap and erase the outrageous reference,
Or to make plans towards sensible essays,
And by planning finish them? Revise: to sleep
No more; and by a sleep to say we end
The heart ache and the thousand natural shocks
Of losing our notes, ‘tis an avoidance
Devoutly to be wish’d. Revise, or sleep;
To sleep: perchance over-sleep: ay, there’s the rub;
For in that sleep what exams we may miss
When we have snuggled in this warm duvet
Must give us pause: there’s the prospect
That makes calamity of such long tests;
For who would bear the whips and scorns of time,
The examiner’s call, the proud student’s wrist cramp,
The pangs of missed data, results day,
The temperature of summer exam halls
That concentration of the student takes,
When they themselves might their leisure make,
Round a pub table? Who would text books bear,
To grunt and sweat over an exam paper,
But that the dread of something after term,
The undiscover’d results on whose decree
Some student resits, puzzles the will
And makes us rather swot past papers we have
Than chance those questions that we know not of?
Thus conscience does make cowards of us all;
And thus the healthy hue of nervous first years
Is sicklied o’er with the pale cast of thought,
And revision plans of great depth and detail
With this regard their purpose turn awry,
And lose the name of action.
*       *       *       *       *       *       *       *       *       *

Good Ladies and Gentlemen,
Should this speech seem to see into your heart,
You should read our guides to the exam art.
Exeunt with alarums

Top Revision Tips

17 April 2017

If you have exams coming up in the next month or so, you might be thinking about how to get the best from your revision.

  1. Time! When is/are your exam(s)? Look at your calendar and block out any times you know you can’t revise because you’re at a wedding / in lectures / working / abseiling down the Eiffel Tower. How much time do you have left? Revision tends to work best in small chunks, so try to plan some little-and-often revision slots.
  2. Reward yourself! You need breaks, and you need to do something enjoyable to give your brain time to recover from all that revision. Plan some treats, quiet time off or nights out with friends so that you have chance to relax as well as study.
  3. Don’t just highlight! Highlighting and re-reading chunks of information probably won’t help it to sink in. Do something ‘active’ with your notes so that you can understand and process the information: rewrite it in different words, draw diagrams, discuss the topic with someone or tell the goldfish everything you know about it.
  4. Use past papers! If you have access to past papers, use them. They will help you to become familiar with the kinds of questions you’ll be asked, the wording, the length of answer required and so on.
  5. It’s not just a memory test… Exams are about demonstrating understanding of a topic and applying it to a question or situation, not just regurgitating facts. Think about how the things you’re revising would be used in practice or real life.

…and if you need something to take your mind off all that revision, have a look at Lynne’s lovely poem from this time last year!

Alexander Street Video – great resource for all subject areas

11 April 2017
Andy Callen

Andy describes how Alexander Street Video might be a useful audio-visual resource for you.

Do you need to get hold of video material for your study or teaching, but it’s not on Box of Broadcasts or in the Library’s DVD collection?

Try Alexander Street Video, an online collection of non-fiction video material for educational use, potentially useful across all subject areas. It includes:

  • News clips from ITN
  • Instructional videos for teachers
  • Over 1,000 films on psychology and counselling
  • Numerous documentary films on artists and designers.

Access Alexander Street Video from the Databases link on Library Search, OR directly from search.alexanderstreet.com. Your Network username and password are required.

Any questions? Contact me at mailto:A.Callen@salford.ac.uk.

Fake News

7 April 2017

Be a savvy news consumer – Joanna gives some useful reminders.

Fake news has become a hot news topic! We all want our news to be accurate, truthful, and honest, so how do you sort out truth from lies, or identify exaggerated stories, or facts reported out of context?

The simplest strategy is to make sure you get your news from a variety of sources – don’t get stuck in your own media “bubble”. Be critical and analyse any news you share on social media.  We all have a responsibility not to spread lies.

There are no hard and fast rules, but here are some things to think about –

  • Beware sensational headlines. Not every shocking headline is associated with fake news – but it’s a warning sign.
  • Be very cautious about stories intended to prompt an extreme emotional response, particularly anger. Verify the story from other known, reliable sources.
  • Check whether other “mainstream” news sources are reporting the story.
  • Take a look at the domain name. Does it suggest a bias, or potential unreliability?
  • Check out the “About us” tab, or look at the contact details. Is the content attributable to a “real” person, or an identifiable organisation? Do they have a particular agenda? Look for more information about the author or organisation.
  • Look for supporting evidence. Use a fact checking site if appropriate (FullFact.org Factcheck.org, Politifact.com, Snopes.com etc). Follow up links to research studies, or data sources. Ask yourself if they are authoritative. Look for other reports about the same study. Remember fake news doesn’t have to be “made up”. Facts reported selectively can be dangerously misleading.

Looking for more?

For a more comprehensive overview of Fake News and how to spot it, check out the University of Rhode Island’s excellent resource

News Literacy and Alternative Facts: How to Be a Responsible Information Consumer

And Remember –

As University students you should routinely evaluate all the resources you use for your own research and assignments, particularly anything found via internet sources.

  1. How up-to-date is the information? Is it still current?
  2. Is this information source going to help me write my essay? Is it relevant to my topic?
  3. Is this “the right sort” of information – is it suitable for academic purposes? Is the author an expert in this subject area? Is the information reliable and accurate?
  4. Why has this information been written? What is its purpose? Is there any bias I need to take account of?

Do you know how to eSubmit your work?

3 April 2017
Amy Pearson

Amy points out handy resources to help you with e-Submission

Turnitin is used for the e-submission of your assignments. It is an online tool that you use to upload your work so that it can be marked by your tutor. You access Turnitin from Blackboard.

Important things you need to know about submitting your work for marking

  1. Use the correct naming convention for your files – your school may specify a particular format.
  2. Submit your completed assignment to the correct, FINAL submissions folder when it is ready for marking. Work submitted mistakenly to the DRAFT folder at this stage will not be marked.
  3. When you submit work for marking, you are accepting the submission declaration.
  4. Keep copies of email receipts from Turnitin as proof of submission.
  5. Check the file size. Files must be less than 40Mb. Contact your lecturer if your file is greater than 40Mb.
  6. Use an accepted file type. File types accepted are: MS Word, WordPerfect, PostScript, PDF, HTML, RTF or plain text. You can ask at The Library for help if you are not sure about a file type. For non text-based assessments (e.g. audio/video, etc.) your tutor may use the Blackboard Assignment Tool.

If you are unsure how to use Turnitin we have videos and guidance on the Skills for Learning website.

What is Critical Analysis…

27 March 2017

Want to improve your critical analysis skills? Anne shows you how.

and why do I need it?

 

During your time at university you will often be asked to critically analyse things – in your reading and writing, in essay titles, assignment instructions and exam questions.

Also, when your assignment is marked your tutor might comment that your work is “too descriptive” or that “there isn’t enough critical analysis”.

What does it all mean?

Descriptive writing is simply describing a situation or summarising what you have read.

Critical analysis shows that you have examined the evidence, understood the arguments and analysed the conclusions – and can discuss these in your own writing.
examine the evidence

You need to use both. If you are discussing a book, article or report you will need to provide some description of what it is about before you can analyse it, but the critical or analytical element of your writing is more important.

Why?

Because the ability to show that you can identify arguments, clearly analyse, evaluate and compare ideas, and synthesise the information to support your own arguments shows that you have learnt something.

This what your tutors want to see!

Unsurprisingly, the better your skills are, the better your grades will be.

Want to learn more?

This e-Learning will introduce you to critical analysis and help you to understand the difference between descriptive and critical writing.

Play Critical Analysis e-Learning

 

Planning and writing your assignment – your 5 steps to essay success!

20 March 2017
Amy Pearson

This time of year is all about assignments. Amy has shared the Skills for Learning 5 steps to essay success!

It’s that time of year again when deadlines are looming so we thought we’d share with you our 5 steps to essay success.

  • Step 1: Analyse and Plan
  • Step 2: Search and Evaluate
  • Step 3: Read and Make Notes
  • Step 4: Write your Essay
  • Step 5: Review and Submit

Read on to learn more about each step!

 

 

 

Step 1: Analyse and PlanStep 1: Analyse and Plan

When you are given a question or task to complete you need to make sure that you understand what you are being asked to do and then plan how you will approach it. If you don’t answer the question being set you are more likely to get a low mark. With this in mind, the first step to essay success is to ANALYSE and PLAN. This involves analysing your task, making a plan and identifying useful words that describe your topic. You need to make sure that you pay attention to the instructions you have been given, be clear about the topic you have been asked to explore and any restrictions to the scope of your answer.


Step 2: Search and EvaluateStep 2: Search and Evaluate

Next you need to search for information and evaluate the usefulness of what you find. You need to think about what you already know and where you could search for information. A useful way of evaluating sources is to ask yourself these questions:
1. How up-to-date is the information? Is it still CURRENT?
2. Is this information source going to help me write my essay? Is it RELEVANT to my topic?
3. Is this “the right sort” of information – is it suitable for academic purposes? Is the author an expert in this subject area? Is the information reliable and ACCURATE?
4. Why has this information been written? What is its PURPOSE? Is there any bias I need to take account of?


Step 3: Read and Make NotesStep 3: Read and Make Notes

Now you have your materials together, it’s time to start getting the information that you need from them. There are different ways to approach this task depending on what you are reading. If it is books then you might want to start by looking at the chapter headings to decide which will be most useful. If it is a journal article then it is a good idea to read the abstract first as this help you decide whether it is worth reading in detail. Next you need to read the introduction as this will tell you about the main argument of the article. Read the conclusion next for a summary of the main ideas and finally if you still think it is relevant you may want to read the rest in detail. Make sure you annotate and summarise as you read.

 


Step 4: Write your EssayStep 4: Write your Essay

By now you should have a good idea about how you are going to answer the question. It is a good idea to re-visit your plan as it may have changed as a result of all the research and reading you have done! Give some thought to how you will structure your essay – it will need an introduction, a main body and a conclusion. The introduction tells the reader how you will answer the question. The main body is the ideas and analysis to support your argument, it is your opportunity to critically analyse the topic. Finally, the conclusion tells the reader how you have answered the question. Don’t forget to paraphrase, summarise and reference correctly as you write.

 


Step 5: Review and SubmitStep 5: Review and submit

Leave plenty of time to proofread your work paying particular attention to spelling, grammar, the question, word count and references and citations. When you are happy with your essay and confident that you have done your best to answer the question you can submit it.

 

 


Learn more

  1. Have a look at our 5 Steps to Essay Success online resource for more detail about each step.
  2. Read our study guides:
    – Writing your assignment
    – Reading and note making
    – Spelling and apostrophes
    – Proof Reading
  3. Book on to the Planning and Writing your Assignment workshop

Presentations – techniques and tools for success

13 March 2017
Amy Pearson

Amy shares a few techniques and tools for presentations.

Have you been asked to deliver a presentation?

Help is available from Skills for Learning. We have:

  • eLearning
  • Study Guides
  • Workshops
  • Presentation tools

Read on to learn more.

 

eLearning

This short course will help you to learn how to deliver a presentation well and show you some of the things you should try to avoid doing.

Format: eLearning | Duration: 15 minutes | Contains audio

Click to open

 

 

 

 

Study Guides

Poster Presentations [MS Word]

This guide will help you to develop the skills needed to produce a poster presentation that documents the research that you have undertaken including poster design, the selection of appropriate font and colour, and the ability to give a clear and concise oral presentation within a limited time.

Presentation Skills [MS Word]

You will probably have to give at least one presentation during your time at University. It’s also a skill you might need in your chosen career, or you could be asked to give a presentation at a future job interview. Many people find this a daunting prospect, but there are some things you can do to make the experience a little less painful. This guide will run through some tips to help you do your best in presentations.

 

Workshops

Confidence Building for Public Speaking

Starts: 16 Mar 2017 2:00 PM
Finishes: 16 Mar 2017 4:00 PM
Venue: Peel 330
Remaining places: 24
A practical session to help take some of the nerves out of public speaking and improve your delivery.

Book now…

 

Tools

Fancy doing something a bit different? Try out one of these presentation tools. (Note: we do not provide support in the use of the these tools.)

Microsoft Sway

Sway logo

Microsoft Sway can be used to create interactive presentations and websites to share your reports, personal stories, projects and much more. There are also some good video tutorials. Go to the Sway website to get started.

 

ThingLink

With ThingLink you can make your images come alive with video, text, images, links and music. You can download the app or access it online. Simply go to the ThingLink website to get started.

 

Padlet

You use Padlet to post text, video, images or links onto a virtual wall. It is such a versitle tool that it could be used to present and create, communicate and share or collect and organise! Simply go to the Padlet website to get started.

 

Prezi

Make visually engaging presentations that zoom in and out; and show how ideas are related to each other. Go to the Prezi website to have a go.

 

 

 

 

The 7 study mistakes too many students make – learn what they are and don’t make them yourself!

3 March 2017
Amy Pearson

You really don’t want to miss what Amy has to say about the 7 study mistakes that can cost you marks.

 

Some study mistakes are no big deal, others really are a big deal as they can affect your final degree classification. This is why we have put together a short online package to introduce you to the 7 things, why they matter and how you can avoid them. They are:

  1. Plagiarism
  2. Self-plagiarism (or double submission)
  3. Collusion
  4. Falsifying experimental or other investigative results
  5. Contracting another to write a piece of assessed work / Writing a piece of assessed work for another
  6. Taking any unauthorised material into an examination. Copying from, or communicating with, another examination candidate during an examination.
  7. Bribery

Spare 20 minutes to complete the eLearning – it really will be time well spent! Click on the image to get started…
Introduction to Academic Misconduct