Did you know that October is also Dyslexia* Awareness Month? Did you know that 1 in 5 people have dyslexia? Do you know what dyslexia is?
Dyslexia is a learning disability that affects the ability to read, write, and comprehension skills. Dyslexia is something that affects more than just how your brain processes words and their sounds. It can affect many other areas of the brain such as phonemic awareness*, motor control, memory, spatial awareness*, and more. People with dyslexia cannot “try harder” to catch up with their peers. It’s a neurobiological disorder*, which means that when you compare the two brains of someone with dyslexia and without you will notice that their brains respond differently when learning new words, spelling, etc.
Dyslexia is something that is a lifelong struggle. Which, in turn, affects adult learners in a variety of ways. They might be hesitant to do assignments with heavy reading, could be stressed out about deadlines, or avoid places like the library altogether.
Library and Academic Services is ready to help all students and we can cater to the unique set of needs that someone with dyslexia may need such as:
A collection of audiobooks
Auto renewals for physical books
Videos with closed captioned options
eBooks with dyslexia friendly fonts
One on one reference support services
Dyslexia (duh·slek·see·uh): A brain-based learning disorder that affects the ability to read, write, and spell.
Phonemic (fuh·nee·muhk) Awareness: The ability to focus on and manipulate different sounds in spoken words.
Spatial (spay·shl) Awareness: Knowing where your body is in relation to objects or other people.
Neurobiological (nur·ow·bai·aa·law·jee·col) disorder: Disorders of the nervous system caused by genetic, metabolic, or other biological factors.
Written by Justine Hawley – Resource Management Technician
The start of October marked Tutor Appreciation Week. This is a fitting time. As we move along this fall term, students develop an awareness of their course and academic strengths and weaknesses.
Tutoring is one conduit of academic support–tutoring provides students with the opportunity to engage with and review content in a supportive environment.
Tutors help to improve understanding and performance. What’s more, students often feel more comfortable asking questions in a 1:1 situation, and our tutors’ kind and student-centred approach instills a feeling of academic confidence in a safe space.
Studies point to a trend in the relationship between academic supports and students’ passing their courses and staying in college.
We are grateful to have over 50 peer and staff tutors who support over 200 courses. Our writing tutors, EAL specialists and academic coaches, round out an extensive level of support for our diverse student body. For a look at the courses covered, visit Courses We Tutor In.
Alex’s story: how a tutor changes lives
Alex has always held a keen interest in the education field. This interest, combined with a highly influential tutoring experience in Israel, paved the way for Alex to support hundreds of RRC Polytech students in a myriad of programs including Civil Engineering, Business Administration, Trades, Electrical Engineering Technology, Nursing and Early Childhood Education.
At 12 years old, Alex’s parents wanted to send him to a school with strict admission requirements. Alex didn’t pass the admissions test math component. So, Alex’s parents found a tutor for him.
This tutor was part of a team of professors at the University of Tel Aviv who developed standardized math tests. The tests were more challenging than grade 12 advanced placement tests. If you–as a 13-year-old–passed these tests, you were eligible to start working on your bachelor’s of math. Yes, you read that correctly!
After two years of tutoring under this professor, Alex took his first university course (at age 15). Alex attributes many aspects of that tutoring experience to his success in math. He was taught to learn the big picture in math and after that, learn in a focused, piece-by-piece way in areas such as logic and calculus.
Now, Alex has taken on the role of tutor. He supports students in areas such as math and accounting, statistics, and statics and strengths. Alex is a calming presence. He is quietly confident in math and science and has exceptional observational skills. He excels at sitting with students and seeing what they are writing down, understanding their facial expressions, and identifying their needs and approaches to course content.
When asked what he likes most about tutoring, Alex will share example after example of students going from a failing grade to a B+, or successfully helping students who have one try left to pass a course. It’s these results, when students’ grades improve, indicating increased understanding, that Alex appreciates the most. Alex strives to bring positive value to students’ academic life.
If you were to ask students what they appreciate about Alex you’ll hear, “he cares.” Furthermore, he has a way of breaking down problems into simpler/smaller steps, thus reducing anxiety. With reduced anxiety, comes higher clarity and capacity to work on course content.
Perhaps the lessons from his tutor back in Israel influenced Alex’s tutoring style. What we know for sure, is that Alex’s style speaks to our diverse population of students. Tutors like Alex play an important role at our college. They bring patience, commitment, and understanding.
An opportunity to pause and express our thanks
“Students depend on our tutors each day to help them perform well and succeed in their academic career and College journey.”
Kerry McDonald, Director, Library and Academic Services
As Kerry McDonald, Director of Library and Academic Services states, “We welcome the opportunity to pause and express our thanks to our tutors. Students depend on our tutors each day to help them perform well and succeed in their academic career and College journey. A BIG thank you to our tutors for all the support and guidance you give to students and for the kindness and compassion you show with each student interaction. We appreciate you and are glad to have you on our Team!”
A Final Note
To end, remember to share supports such as Tutoring at the Academic Success Centre with your students, and take a moment to thank the staff and faculty around you as we are all part of a supportive campus community.
Casazza, M. & Silverman, S. (2013). The Path to College Completion – Meaningful Access and Support. Council of Learning Assistance and Developmental Education Associations, p. 15.
Submitted by Dayna Graham, Student Case Manager and Faculty Liaison(Academic Success Centre)
Exam Accommodations at Red River College Polytechnic work closely with Student Support Services to provide students with documented disabilities the opportunity to accurately demonstrate how well they have mastered course material by removing disability-related obstacles to performance.
Exam accommodations are highly individualized and are determined according to the nature of the student’s disability, course objectives, and learning outcomes. Exam accommodations include, but are not limited to, reduced distraction exam environments, extended time, oral exams, scribes, and the use of assistive technology to support exam taking.
Visit the Exam Accommodations page to learn more about exam accommodations as well as the eligibility requirements and processes to receive accommodations. On this page, you’ll also find additional resources available for students and faculty.
You can also come visit us at the Notre Dame Campus in room D110, or in Manitou a bi Bii Daziigae, room E440.
It’s a few weeks into the school year, so it’s time to get to know all the awesome services, spaces and resources the Library offers to help you achieve your academic goals.
Whether you’re coming into the Library for the first time, you haven’t been to a library in a while, or you’ve never used the library as a post-secondary student, find out all the ways you can be an RRC Polytech Library power user.
1. Find your spot and get comfortable Use the Library’s spaces whenon campus
First, find the Library, and get to know the space. We recently posted a great virtual tour of the NDC Library space, give it a read-through and you may feel more prepared to come in for the first time. Get comfortable using the space to meet your needs; study independently, attend your online classes (using one of the available headsets or webcams), and meet with classmates to work on projects. The Library has two locations, one each at the Notre Dame and the Exchange District campuses, both with great study spots to discover and settle into.
2. Ask Questions! There are no silly questions, and we offer lots of ways for you to ask them!
Come find us at the front desks in the Library, a Reference Technician is ready to help you figure out anything from printing, finding your way around campus, using the Library website, to getting started with an assignment and better understanding the information resources involved in academic research. Not on campus? You don’t need to come in person, there are lots of ways to connect with the Library! Call us (204) 632-2233. Text us (204) 400-2463, or find us on the Library’s web pages during open hours by clicking the Ask Us bubble to start a chat. After hours? No problem, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
3. Get to know OneSearch Found on the Library homepage, OneSearch is how to search the Library’s many physical and online resources.
The Library has an ever-expanding digital and physical book and media collection which can be searched using our OneSearch system. If you’ve heard an instructor tell you to search the catalogue or search for articles, this is what they mean.
Getting started is very easy, using searches that resemble how you use google. Once you have started with some search terms and you are viewing the search results, you can take different steps and adjust settings to create more accurate results. Find out more about navigating OneSearch, the basic and advanced search options, as well as the use of Boolean operators and filters to amp up your searches.
4. Find the Guide you need Starting a research project or program of study and unsure where to get started?
Interested in broader topics and just areas of interest? There are Student Success Guides on topics including intercultural competence, employment Skills, and using Statistics Canada.
Having trouble figuring out how to use a specific database in your research? The Library’s Database Instruction Guides have step-by-step instructions for how to use many of the different databases subscribed to through the Library.
5. Use the right Database The Library subscribes to different databases that support the colleges many schools and programs.
Available databases range from software tools, searchable collections of codes and standards within an industry, and other reference collections, diagrams, and industry reports.
When looking at the A-Z list of databases, remember that databases marked with the OneSearch icon, are searched collectively when you use OneSearch. Databases missing that icon, need to be searched and used individually.
6. Discover Academic Success Centre supports Find the Academic Success Centre in the top banner of the Library homepage.
The Academic Success Centre’s services make up a big part of the academic support’s the Library has available to students, and is where students can access a variety of services including:
9. Export citations and keep them organized with RefWorks RefWorks streamlines research, data organization, and academic writing by providing an easy-to-use tool for citation, bibliography, and reference management.
10. Know about academic integrity and how it affects you Academic integrity hinges on six fundamental values, as defined by the International Center for Academic Integrity: Honesty, Trust, Fairness, Respect, Responsibility, and Courage.
As a critical piece of the learning environment and a fundamental core value of any academic institution, academic integrity directly links the credibility of an institution’s scholarship, research, certificates and diplomas. Academic integrity is essential to ensure students’ investment in their education is protected. To find out more, check out the Academic Integrity Guide for Students.
11. Explore other eLearning resources The Library website offers many types of online learning resources that you can access and use as study aids, or in your own supplemental learning.
Check out Hybrid LEARNing Modules, a suite of self-directed tutorials housed in LEARN that provides relevant and helpful resources.
Library staff love to hear from the College community about our collection! Feel free to connect with us in person at the Notre Dame and Exchange District Campus Libraries or through Ask Us Chat at library.rrc.ca.
Written by Artemis Hedrich – Library Technician, Information and Program Delivery
Services and Supports to Ensure College and Career Readiness
Assessment Services, a subdivision of Library and Academic Services, creates and administers entrance and diagnostic academic testing for College programs to help students determine their overall academic readiness for their program and desired career. They also work with students to help them prepare for College by determining and improving their academic readiness.
This department recently developed from offering admissions and diagnostic testing to incorporating language placement testing, external examinations, distance examinations, and accommodated exams.
In this series of posts, we would like to introduce our multi-faceted team to you, beginning with Admissions, Diagnostic and Placement Testing.
The Admissions, Diagnostic and Placement Testing Team
We organize, develop and facilitate admissions testing for a select range of program areas (Health Sciences, Community Services, AME, and international students) and for any application that is missing an academic transcript. We also offer diagnostic testing in collaboration with SIE for Intro to Trades, Compass Skills, and College Transition programs, in addition to offering diagnostic assessments to the Ndinawe organization that supports at-risk youth in Winnipeg. We are also responsible for organizing language placement tests for the Language Training Centre.
Applicants who need to take an admissions assessment as part of their application should visit our resources at our Admissions and Diagnostics website. Here students will find out about helpful resources and preparatory supports that we offer, including pre-program workshops for Community Services led by Yaw, and a tutor-led Degrees of Reading Power workshop.
Stay tuned for the next post in this series, where we’ll introduce you to our Exam Accommodations team.
All of the staff at Library and Academic Services are happy to extend a warm welcome to everyone returning to campus. We’re looking forward to providing a safe study space and continuing to offer supports to students and staff, both in-person and online.
Alan Chorney, Manager, Information and Programming Delivery with Library and Academic Services.
Staff and services nearby to help you succeed
For an overview of our free services, stop by in person at ATLAS (Academic Success Centre), the Library Service Desk or visit our website at library.rrc.ca. Library and Academic Services is not just a great place to study, but a supportive team of enthusiastic staff who are here to help you succeed.
Your ideal study space: a virtual tour
Our Notre Dame Campus (NDC) location offers multiple spaces to study. A variety of setups are situated under the skylight, by a window, in a study room, in private carrels, or at tables with whiteboards nearby. Find your ideal study space at the NDC Library!
We look forward to meeting you – online at library.rrc.ca and in person at the Notre Dame or Exchange District Campus Libraries. All the best in your studies at RRC Polytech!
Written by Linda Fox, Library Technician – Program Support and Promotion
Another school year is just around the corner and although it is always an exciting time, it can also be a little stressful! Check out these free resources and supports to help you feel successful and calm throughout your studies.
1. Take advantage of dog therapy
Studies have shown that spending time around furry friends can boost our mood, lower our stress, and give us a stronger sense of belonging.
Being a student can stir up a lot of negative emotions and for those who already struggle with mental health, it can feel hopeless. High numbers of students seeking help has led academic institutions to provide easily accessible mental health supports to students.
How can mindfulness activities help you be successful while keeping your stress levels at a minimum? Mindfulness for Students provides tips and tricks to better studying, active listening during lectures, and even how to properly prepare for exams. This book is a great tool for your life in and outside of the learning environment.
Clinical studies have shown that spending time outside lowers stress and boosts mood. Many colleges are striving to implement programs in which students can spend more time in nature and gain an appreciation of the great outdoors while also lowering the anxiety that can come with the stresses of college. A great guide for educators wanting to provide opportunities for fresh air in their programs and a great read for students to understand why getting outside is important for your mental well-being.
A step-by-step guide which makes the writing process a breeze! Offering suggestions from how to avoid plagiarism, to how to effectively organize your idea, How to Write Better Essays is sure to help you hand papers in with confidence.
This particular test targeted instructors, and would evaluate our “Average Instructor User” persona.
Our Academic Support Coordinator, Melissa Coyle, asked for volunteers via Staff News. Not sure how much interest she would generate, she was pleasantly surprised to receive a number of volunteers, all Instructors and EAs, and from different programs and areas of the college. Choosing five candidates that represented an even cross-section of our college, Melissa went ahead and administered a test, one-on-one with each volunteer.
We would like to take a moment to thank the staff who volunteered to take our test. Without you, this entire process would not have been possible. Bravo!
Using a list of twenty-one tasks, consisting of scenarios and questions that could be discovered on the Library and Academic Services website, Melissa monitored the candidates progress in browsing the web pages, taking notes as to the success or failure of the candidate in resolving each task.
It is true that you do not know how easy or hard a designed task might be until you observe an average person attempt to complete it. Melissa did this through a WebEx session with each candidate. It is an ingenious way to conduct a usability test, and Melissa was able to adeptly conduct the testing, all the while taking note of the challenges met by the users.
In case you were not aware, the Library and Academic Services website is quite deep, and contains information on services offered by the Library, Academic Success Centre, and Assessment Services. Some of the tasks were easily resolved by the users, such as:
Where would you go to find the hours for NDC and EDC campus?
You are browsing the LAS website and want to ask a Library staff a question. How would you ask a question or request help?
You are an instructor who would like to schedule an in-class Academic Skills workshop for your students. Where would you go to request this workshop?
You have a student in your class who you would like to refer for tutoring. What instruction would you provide the student to request or connect with a tutor on their own?
You are looking for information about Copyright, where would you go to find this?
Other questions posed to be more difficult for the users, indicating adjustments may be necessary on the web site:
You are an instructor who has assigned a research paper to your students for a specific topic and would like to reserve a selection of books for your class at the Library – how would you do this?
You have a student who is unfamiliar with LEARN and struggling to access course materials, submit assignments, and participate in online discussions . You would like to connect them with a tutor for help – how would you do this?
You’d like to share some self-directed resources with your students with a focus on study skills. Where would you find these?
Clearly we have more work to do to improve the Library and Academic Services website. In fact, we recognize that a website must be continuously managed, meaning changes are always necessary, and future testing will always be a smart step.
In addition to areas of improvement, the testing has shown us that our process of user-centric design is working. For the most part, we discovered that our Instructor persona was able to use the website to complete the tasks built into the user-interface.
When we build a web site, we think we can do plenty by considering how users will interact with the site. However, until we have some real users try the site, and we watch how they do it, we cannot know the whole story.
So, take our advice. Arrange for a few users to test your web site!
Mark Nelson Library Systems Specialist Red River College Polytechnic
The Nursing faculty invited the RRC Polytech Library to be the sixth stop on their Amazing Race team-building exercise this spring.
Participants arrived at the Library to receive an old-fashioned card catalogue card pointing them to a book on team-building on the Library’s shelves.
A clue hidden within the books pointed the teams to the sunny side of the Library to find another stop in the children’s section (too bad it rained on Tuesday). Surrounded by picture books, the nursing faculty teams found old magazines for their next task.
Fifteen energetic teams participated in the team-building exercise that involved Skills tests, quizzes, random acts of kindness, a College locations scavenger hunt, and a group project to create a creative Representation of Teamwork.
Connect with Us!
Do you have an opportunity to include the Library in your team-building exercises? We make a great stop on any scavenger hunt and are happy to brainstorm activities to fit your team and event.
RRC Polytech staff and students can now enjoy hassle-free scheduling with the library’s new online equipment booking system. Find out everything you need to know about the new booking system so you can plan ahead, and be front of the line for fall bookings!
There are many equipment categories to browse and book online:
You can navigate to the equipment booking system from the library homepage, either by selecting Book Equipment from the icon bar on the homepage, or find it under browse and borrow from on the homepage top menu.
Where to pick up a booking?
The RRC Polytech Library has two locations, one at the Notre Dame Campus in CM18, and another at the Exchange District Campus in room P214. Our two libraries have different equipment collections, so make sure you select the location you’ll be picking up from, before browsing and setting up bookings.
Add upcoming bookings to your outlook calendar
When you create a booking, you will receive a “Your booking has been confirmed” email with an .ics calendar file. Open the attachment and add the booking to your calendar.