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Congratulations to our Spring 2020 Graduates!

Congratulations to Victoria S., Taylor L., Efrain D., Victoria H., and Carlos N.! Thank you for your service to our students, and best of luck on the next leg of your journey. We can't wait to see the amazing things you do next!

Carlos N. is now teaching Math for ESL students at W.T. White High School and Efrain D. is serving as a Graduate Assistant in the Math Department where he is enrolled at UT Arlington. Victoria S. and Taylor L. have entered the workforce with dynamic workplaces, and Victoria H. is pursuing her teacher's education at Texas Tech TechTeach Across Texas - Dallas cohort! We are so proud of all of you!

Learning Commons' Spring 2020 Graduates

Tutoring and Taking Classes from Home

By Madisson B., Writing tutor and Envronmental Science Supplemental Instructor

The impact of COVID-19 has displaced people all over the world. This means life for college students has changed dramatically since the beginning of 2020. Personally, I experienced a separation from UNT Dallas where I learned and tutored. As everything was up in the air, quick decisions had to be made by our administration and our college environment became virtual. As a tutor, I lost the close contact I had with the students who came to visit me in the Learning Commons. Tutoring online left me without the experience of these individual’s personalities, emotions, and desires, but it also gave me a space to help these students quickly and effectively from home. While there may be a personal disconnect in this new normal, there are also increasingly better ways to connect online through Zoom sessions and email correspondence. I feel confident in the virtual environment the Learning Commons has created - I feel very strongly that even through this pandemic, students have all the necessary resources at their fingertips.  

As a student, all of my in-person classroom environments transferred to Canvas. While some classes were a smoother transition than others, there was no lack of effort from the professors to make this move easier for us all. I felt a loss of experiential learning but gained self-discipline as I navigated an entirely online semester. While I believe there is no better way to cultivate knowledge than by being in a physical environment of learning among others, there is no doubt that UNT Dallas and many other campuses around the world gave us everything we need to be successful and connected during these uncertain times. 

Tips for Students Taking Online Classes

By Madisson B., Writing tutor and Envronmental Science Supplemental Instructor

As more and more classes are being offered online, it is important to know how to take an online class correctly and effectively. It can be hard to manage multiple college classes where all the effort to learn the material has fallen on your shoulders. There are a lot of different ways that students can be successful in all of their online courses. 

 

  1. Set a schedule. Sticking to a schedule when working or studying from home is essential. Balancing classes, work, and family in the same place can be a little overwhelming but carving out time for every activity that needs to be done in a day will foster a successful routine.  

  1. Create a study group. The best way to ensure accountability in an online class is by creating or joining a study group with your classmates. Keeping up correspondence with other students can help with concept reinforcement and deadlines. 

  1. Set specific goals. The set goals for finishing assignments and studying for tests should be attainable and possible; completing things in increments might help with stress. It is easier to get things done in small parts, so setting small, specific goals will make you feel accomplished and refreshed for the next task at hand.  

  1. Stay organized. Keeping your workspace free of clutter, organizing files on your computer, and compiling materials for all your classes are all good ways to keep organized and focused. It is much easier to study when you know where to access all of the information you need! 

  1. Take breaks. Working towards your goals and making a lot of progress is conducive to taking a lot of breaks and resting your mind. A lot of new, fresh ideas come out of taking a step back and evaluating your work.  

 

Keeping a clear, focused mind and a positive attitude can go a long way in your journey to academic success. Being mindful of the people around you - especially the staff at UNTD - who are willing to help you in your journey to graduation, and never be afraid to ask for assistance during these unprecedented times.  

Setting Up Your Resume After Graduation 

By Madisson B., Writing tutor and Envronmental Science Supplemental Instructor

As a senior in college, beginning to tailor your resume to your specific field is a must. After graduation, your degree shouldn’t be the only new addition to your resume; there are a lot of ways to set yourself up to appeal to potential employers. One great way to polish your resume is by taking a strength-finder quiz online. They are usually pretty short, and they match you up with your top five strengths - I have found these quizzes to be pretty accurate! These strengths can be easily added to your resume, and even used to locate a job that would be perfect for you.  

Another way to enhance your resume would be by searching for jobs that you would want to apply to and looking at their description or requirements. Using buzz words from the job description, such as “organized” or “team-player”, in your own resume will make you stand out to the employer. Knowing what employers want in their employees makes you a better candidate, increasing the likelihood that you will receive an interview.  

Design is another crucial element in your resume. The goal is to be as uncluttered and organized as possible, highlighting your strengths, education, and experience. There are a number of templates provided on both Google Docs and Microsoft Word and there are hundreds more available online that you can download quickly. It can be easy to feel a little overwhelmed when working on your resume, but it is important to remember that your accomplishments are your own, and you deserve to show them off! 

 

Resources 

Gallup, Inc. (2020, April 27). CliftonStrengths. Retrieved May 28, 2020, from https://www.gallup.com/cliftonstrengths/en/252137/home.aspx 

 

 

Free Online Writing Resources for UNTDallas Students 

writingclasses.com - online workshops and classes for people around the world 

alison.com - short online classes for free certifications in different subjects 

owl.excelsior.edu - reading and writing lab for research paper skills 

thewritepractice.com - writing exercises and feedback on different processes 

thinkwritten.com - 365 creative writing prompts 

blog.reedsy.com - creative writing prompts you submit, share, and enter into contests 

classcentral.com - free online courses with paid certificates from different universities 

magoosh.com - standardized test prep and vocabulary builder flashcards 

vocabulary.com - practicing word usage and vocab meanings in sentences 

writersonlineworkshops.com - workshops for genre, script, blog, and story writing 

 

(These are all hyperlinked to their respective sites.) 

Tutoring and Student’s Academic Success 

By Madisson B., Writing tutor and Envronmental Science Tutor 

Tutoring for college students has proven beneficial for their grades as well as their overall mental health. Students attending tutoring on a semi-regular basis, even just once a week, show marked improvements in their confidence and a reduction in their anxiety and stress levels. High stress levels can interfere with learning ability, keeping students away from their own success. Learning or studying in a safe, judgement-free environment is important for kindling new information. This, along with the student’s increased understanding of the subject material and creating new ways to learn and remember important topics are the major goals of any tutoring session. The student can gain new strategies for tackling subject material, maybe even strategies they couldn’t gain from their professor.  

Tutoring nurtures communication techniques between diverse people and helps to prepare the student for work after graduation. While tutoring sessions usually focus on a specific assignment, attending multiple sessions for different subjects can improve overall study habits. These habits become second nature to many students, helping them raise their GPA and reach graduation. Tutoring in college prepares you for success in the work, academics, and gives students a new approach to learning and critical thinking.  

Ways to Improve Your Writing During Summer

By Madisson B., Writing tutor and Envronmental Science Supplemental Instructor

For some, returning to college from summer break can almost feel like entering into freshman year all over again. The best way to prevent this is by keeping your mind active during your months off from class. There are many interesting ways to improve upon your writing skills without doing coursework: 

 

  1. Creative writing prompts. There are many resources for finding creative writing prompts online, serving to stimulate the creative process and help you to create a story that's never been written before. If you are still interested but not feeling very creative, there are places to read other’s responses to these prompts as well! 

  1. Research different topics of interest. This could be anything from your field of interest   to the different things that you do in your free time. Whether it's researching the latest scientific breakthrough or writing about upcoming video game releases, picking something within your interests and writing about it is sure to improve your written skills.  

  1. Vocabulary flashcards. One of the best ways to feel more comfortable in your writing is by practicing new and different ways to say things. A lot of websites have vocabulary flashcards with increasing levels of difficulty, and it is very useful to see what you already know and how much you can improve! 

  1. Duolingo. While this isn’t necessarily focused on writing, practicing foreign languages (or even brushing-up on a language you already know) is a great way to exercise your mind. Duolingo is free, and it has different levels of difficulty that actually help you learn the language on-the-go! 

  1. Using alison.com on your phone or computer. Alison.com is a website full of free & fast certifications in every subject imaginable. There are 2-3-hour courses on this site for English writing and language that you can complete relatively quickly. Not only will you learn new skills, but you can also add these finished certifications to your resume!  

  1. Reading books that became movies. This one is a personal favorite; it is really fun to make a list of books that have movie adaptations, read them, and then watch the movie when you finish the book. It’s cool to see how ideas are portrayed on and off screen, and reading will keep your brain busy too! 

  1. Visiting writingclasses.com. In light of the recent pandemic, it is expected that there will be a cancellation of previously planned writing workshops and events around Dallas county this summer. For those who crave learning with others, writingclasses.com creates an environment for learners around the world to partake in writing workshops online. These can be geared towards professional development, scriptwriting, fiction, nonfiction, or just practicing the essentials. The class sizes are relatively small too, so you will get some one-on-one time with other students that share similar interests! 

  1. Practicing research paper elements on owl.excelsior.edu. This site features an online writing and reading lab, focused on practicing different parts of a research paper. This is specifically helpful for college students, with resources for learning in research, citing sources, argument and persuasion, avoiding plagiarism, writing for specific disciplines, ESL, and grammar & writing process workshops. 

 

Resources 

Alison: Free Online Courses & Online Learning. (n.d.). Retrieved May 28, 2020, from https://alison.com/ 

Excelsior OWL - the Excelsior College Online Writing Lab. (n.d.). Retrieved May 28, 2020, from https://owl.excelsior.edu/ 

Gotham Writers Workshop. (n.d.). Retrieved May 28, 2020, from https://www.writingclasses.com/ 

Learn a language for free. (n.d.). Retrieved May 28, 2020, from https://www.duolingo.com/