Posts about: Academic Skills

O Reference, reference, wherefore art thou, reference?

12 February 2018

In honour of both our plagiarism week, and Valentine’s day, Romeo soliloquises on the subjects of loving good academic practice, referencing and avoiding plagiarism…

Picture or romeo and juliet

ROMEO: But soft! What quote through yonder sentence breaks?

It is the best, and the essay is done.

Arise, assignment two is begun, too late,

I am already sick and pale with grief

That such books unread mar more clear design.

Be not a reader, since time is grievous.

Internet cut and paste is both slick and clean,

And none but fools do shun it. Print it off. read more

Getting through a boring book…

17 November 2017

Hope is one of our English students. She is blogging about reading boring books!

Reading is great…mostly, and if you’re on an English based course like I am, you’ll know that reading is not so much a fun, leisurely pastime as it is a necessity. I don’t know much about other courses reading requirements, but what I do know is that at one point or another, we all have to read a pretty boring book…or two…three…ten?

The problem here is, that when you read for fun, if the book doesn’t grab your attention straight away, or a couple of chapters in you just cannot for the life of you get into it, you can simply put it down and pick up the next on your list of want-to-reads. When you’re required to read for a course, however, it’s not that easy (unfortunately). read more

Need to get some reading done? Here are Ella’s 5 favourite places to read on campus.

9 October 2017

Another academic year is upon us which many will see as a fresh start. You may be just beginning your degree; or you may see this year as an opportunity to change last year’s habits. One thing we all have in common is we have new reading lists this year! If you are new to University of Salford, you may want to see the previous post Reading Lists and How To Use Them. To mark the occasion, I’ve toured my camera around campus to show you what are, in my opinion, the top 5 reading locations on campus. read more

Need to get a task done? Me too. I’m going to put the Pomodoro Technique to the test

5 October 2017

How many pomodoros did it take for Amy to write this blog post?

My email and phone are off, I’ve got a brew and the tomato is counting down from 25 minutes. I’m going to see how long it takes me to write this blog post. I’m reckon I can get it finished within one pomodoro but it may take two.

Confused? Then read on to learn all about managing your time and tasks using the Pomodoro Technique.

What it the Pomodoro Technique?

The Pomodoro Technique is all about breaking time down into intervals by using a timer. When Francesco Cirillo developed the method in the 1980’s he used a tomato shaped kitchen timer. Francesco is Italian, pomodoro is the Italian name for tomato and so the Pomodoro Technique was born. read more

Tackle common writing problems with Wordscope

28 September 2017
Amy Pearson

Need help with your academic writing? Let me introduce you to Wordscope.

Wordscope is a proven programme of tuition for helping you tackle common writing problems such as punctuation, sentence structure, and paragraphing. It is delivered through a series of ten writing workshops and is FREE to all University of Salford students.

Here’s what one student said about Wordscope last year.

“I cannot recommend Wordscope enough. I struggled for the first three or four weeks. My writing style then started to change and improve. The amount of red pen on my homework pieces (one piece of homework per week taking up to 45 minutes) has decreased, although, I still tend to make errors here and there. I think I might redo this course again either next semester or at a later date to remedy this. Each of the lectures has a handy guide for each lesson which could be useful for many years to come.” read more

Disability Awareness Day, Sunday 16th July

5 July 2017

Did you know that Sunday 16th July is Disability Awareness Day? The world’s largest voluntary-led disability exhibition is held in the grounds of Walton Hall Gardens, Warrington. For more details please see http://www.disabilityawarenessday.org.uk

The University of Salford, and The Library in particular, have many features in place to ensure their services are as accessible as possible. These include mind-mapping software (Inspiration), screen reading (Jaws), and the numerous applications available on My Study Bar – the latter should be available on all networked student pcs. To find out more, including accessible access to the different Library sites, go to http://www.salford.ac.uk/library/help/accessibility read more

Email etiquette tips

30 June 2017
Email etiquette cartoon

Cham, J. (2015). How to write an e-mail to your instructor or T.A. Retrieved from http://phdcomics.com/comics/archive.php?comicid=1795

When emailing friends it is fine to use an a familiar and informal style, however, when you write an email about a job application or internship, an interview or when emailing your tutors it is good practice to adopt a more formal style.

Tips for writing a formal email:

  • First impressions count – Think about your email address a prospective employer might remember you for all the wrong reasons if you contact them using an email address such as wildandcrazygeek@gmail.com.  It is a much better idea to use your university email account – you can forward emails from this account to your personal email using the instructions here.
  • Include a greeting– if you know your tutor using their first name in the greeting is fine. If you do not have a familiar relationship with them then use their family name e.g. Dear Dr. Smith.  If you are applying for a job and don’t know the name of the person who will be reading your email it is good practice to include the greeting Dear Sir or Madam.
  • Use the subject line and be informative – try to avoid just typing “hello” or “help”. If emailing your tutor tell them why you are contacting them e.g. Query about case study in Clinical Skills lecture.  If you are applying for a job include details about the job being applied for e.g. Application for Library Assistant post ref: LIB/6291.
  • Avoid text speak – Save ROFL and YOLO for emails to friends. Use full sentences and punctuation when emailing tutors and prospective employers.  Use the spell check to make sure your message is correct before pressing send.
  • DON’T SHOUT – Names, dates, places, most acronyms and the start of a new sentence should be capitalised, entire sentences shouldn’t.
  • Size matters – Tutors and employers are busy people so be as concise as possible. Also avoid sending large attachments – find information about compressing files here.
  • Provide details – Give the person you are contacting the information they need to answer your query effectively e.g. if you are querying something that was said in a lecture include the date and time.
Good manners cost nothing but are always appreciated – include a please and thank you when making a request.

Photo of Sue

Sue is blogging about email etiquette.

  • Include a sign off:
    1. To a tutor – “best wishes” or “regards”
    2. To a prospective employer you have addressed as Dear Sir or Madam the sign off should be “Yours faithfully”.
    3. To a prospective employer when the name is known e.g. Dear Mr. Smith the sign off should be “Yours sincerely”.
  • The sign off should be followed by your full name. read more

    World Giraffe Day

    21 June 2017

    Today is World Giraffe Day, an annual event supported by the Giraffe Conservation Foundation to celebrate the longest-necked animal in the world on the longest day of the year (or longest night if you happen to be on the other side of the planet).

    giraffe

    Not only is 21st June the longest day, it is also the First Day of Summer – and this means that the Summer Wordscope workshops are about to begin. This is a great opportunity to improve your academic writing skills – becoming a conscious, coherent and skilled writer will increase your chances of a higher class degree – and help you with your career after graduation. read more

    Finding pictures the legal way (1/3)

    21 June 2017

    When you’re looking for pictures to illustrate or enhance your academic work, how do you search? Do you ‘copy and paste’ from the internet, as a student recently told me? Or simply type your search term in that old reliable, Google?

    Unless you’re careful, searching like this can contravene copyright law and potentially get you into legal trouble. Whenever you find an image through a regular Google search, there’s a good chance that it either:

    • has a license which forbids you to use it, or
    • has no license at all

    Assuming that you didn’t ask for prior permission to use the content, it’s illegal to use it if either of these two cases applies. read more

    Wordscope workshop places now available!

    19 June 2017
    Tracy Breheny

    Tracy tells you how to book onto a Wordscope workshop.

    Now all of the exams and essays for the second Semester are complete, some of you will be looking forward to a productive summer of reading and preparation for the next semester, and so a constructive and dedicated Academic Writing programme may be just what you need in order to keep you focussed. Or, it could be that you have re-submissions due in the next few weeks for Semester one and/or two and you could do with extra help at both an instructive and personal tutor level. Either way, from now on your marks will be weighted significantly towards your degree class, so it is with this in mind that Dr Carson Bergstrom has developed a short course of Academic Writing Skills. read more