Posts about: Academic Skills

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

    Surviving your exam

    1 May 2017

    If you have exams coming up, here are some top tips to help you do your best

  • Double check the time, date and location of the exam. You don’t want to go to the wrong building or miss the exam! Also check what you’re allowed to take in with you.
  • Try not to stay up late the night before doing last-minute revision.
  • Eat a good breakfast / lunch beforehand.
  • In the exam, make sure you read the paper thoroughly from start to finish before you try to answer anything. Check the instructions (e.g. do you have to answer all of part A and choose one question from part B?) Don’t rush!
  • If it’s an essay-based exam, look at how many marks each part is worth, and split the time between the questions accordingly.
  • Plan your answer – jot down the main points you want to include, and think about how you’ll structure your answer before you start writing. If your mind’s gone blank, try and write down anything relevant you can think of, and hopefully this will help you to remember more information.
  • You don’t always have to answer the questions in order, as long as it’s clear which answer goes with which question. This is particularly useful for short answer papers, where you might want to leave a tricky question out and come back to it later.
  • Answer the question! Don’t just waffle on and tell the marker everything you know about the topic.
  • Read it through afterwards to check your answers make sense.
  • Ignore everyone else! The person next to you might have filled four answer booklets, but they could have written complete rubbish…
  • read more

    Hop to it!

    28 April 2017

    Tomorrow is Save the Frogs Day

    – the world’s largest day of amphibian conservation and education. You can read more about it on their website.

    frog

    Meanwhile, for many of you, your own year of education is nearly at its end –

    and exams are just around the corner.

    Many of us find exams quite alarming, but don’t worry, Skills for Learning has lots of advice to help with

    You can find lots of good tips on Twitter too skillupUS and #SalfordSmart.

    As well as the academic preparation for exams, taking care of your health will help you cope with stress and improve your chances of success. Try to eat well, get plenty of sleep and find time get some fresh air and exercise. The Wellbeing Service has lots of good advice to help you be at your best. read more