Library and Academic Services

Student Supports

Thinking Differently About Class Time

October 24, 2023

Two students attending class at College.
Image source: Flickr

Study time is often thought of as time we make in an already packed schedule to work on assignments and prepare for tests. However, what if class time could be used as study time?

You have a lot to tend to! Class time, lab time, work, housework, homework, family commitments, to name a few.

This newsletter will focus on one of those items: study time.

Study time is often thought of as time we make in an already packed schedule to work on assignments and prepare for tests. However, what if class time could be used as study time?

All students have an established study time built into their schedule: class time. By making the most of class time, you may require less time outside of class to review and practice content.

Asking questions in class, silencing distractions, sitting as close to the front as possible and working through the material as the instructor demonstrates are all ways to engage in class. This is treating class time as study time.

Ryerson University instructor, Deena Kara Shaffer discusses class time in her book, Feel Good Learning with the following student tips.

Four Ways to Turn Class Time Into Study Time

1. Arrive early, and even if you arrive late, show-up

Like an athlete warming up prior to a practice, arrive early, and look at the course outline to anticipate the focus of class and learning objectives. If you have several minutes, review material from the previous class or do a practice question or two.

If you arrive late to class, consider new ways to improve on this, such as creating a pre-class routine or changing the mode of transportation if possible.

2. Arrive in the college community

Connections with others matter, and they help students learn. RRC Polytech wants you to feel welcome and safe. Forming relationships with peers in class creates opportunities for sharing notes, forming study groups, and accessing student supports.

3. Arrive with questions

Class time is your chance to ask questions about an assignment or for examples of course concepts. If you are uncomfortable asking questions aloud, consider writing them down and listening for the answer in class, asking your instructor during office hours, or discussing them with a tutor.

4. Arrive with attention; eye contact is a first step

When you look at the instructor, your focus is greatly improved.  If students are scrolling through their phone, they cannot fully listen to their instructor, and will inevitably miss important information.

Also, you should sit as close to the front as possible – this keeps you more involved and keeps distractions at bay. People tend to stay on task when we know that their actions are observable.

Invitation to Academic Coaching

Student getting help from an academic coach in library.
Image source: Adobe Stock

Academic Coaches listen to student goals, challenges and academic needs and assist in improving outcomes.

In addition to showing up fully to each class, remember that you can make an appointment with an Academic Coach to work on implementing strategies like the ones above. Academic Coaches combine their knowledge in study strategies (such as taking good notes in class) with their listening skills. Academic Coaches listen to student goals, challenges and academic needs and assist in improving outcomes. To connect, complete the Academic Success Centre’s Tutoring and Coaching Request Form.

By being fully present, attentive and engaged in class, you can reduce the amount of time they have to make to review course content.

For further reading on Time Management, specifically on short-term planning strategies, visit our student blog iteration, How can I manage my time better?

Submitted by Dayna Graham on behalf of the Academic Success Centre

Boost Your Writing Skills With the Academic Success Centre’s Online Workshop Series

September 7, 2023

Are You Ready to Elevate Your Writing Skills?

The Academic Success Centre can help with that! This fall, we are offering Building Your Writing Foundation, a series of seven online workshops, each tailored to refine a specific aspect of academic writing.  

Sessions will be held on Wednesdays from 12:15-12:45pm, Sept. 13 – Oct. 25, 2023.  Students are welcome to attend any or all of the seven sessions. No registration is required! 

Building Your Writing Foundation Workshop Schedule

Workshop 1: Writing Professional Emails

What does a professional email look like? When should I send one? 

Date: September 13, 2023 12:15-12:45pm

Description: Join this workshop to learn all about professional emails: when to send them, what they look like and sound like, how to structure them, and how to write with a professional tone.

Workshop 2: Claim and Evidence

How do I support a claim? What even is a claim? 

Date: September 20, 2023 12:15-12:45pm

Description: Join this workshop to learn what a claim is, how to strengthen your claims with reasons, and how to back them up with evidence. Learn how to provide evidence with both personal experience and research.

Workshop 3: Reflective Writing

What does it mean to reflect? How can I write about what I’ve learned?

Date: September 27, 2023 12:15-12:45pm 

Join this workshop to learn what reflective writing is and how to spot a reflective writing assignment. Learn a reflective writing structure you can use in your assignments and see it in action with a discussion board post example.

Workshop 4: Paragraph Structure

How should I organize my ideas in a paragraph? 

Date: October 4, 2023 12:15-12:45pm 

Description: Join this workshop to learn how to organize big ideas and details into a clear paragraph. The paragraph structure you will learn can be applied to all types of academic writing assignments, including summaries, reflections, discussion posts, essays, reports, and more.

Workshop 5: Summarizing

How can I reduce a text to only the main idea?

Date: October 11, 2023 12:15-12:45pm

Description: Join this workshop to learn what summaries should and should not include. Learn how to write a summary that accurately expresses the main idea of a text.

Workshop 6: Paraphrasing

How do I use other writers’ ideas in my writing? 

Date: October 18, 2023 12:15-12:45pm

Description: Join this workshop to learn how to write another person’s ideas in your own words and how to incorporate into your writing. Learn a five-step process to paraphrase effectively. 

Workshop 7: APA Citations and Formatting

What is APA citation style? Where can I find information to use APA accurately? 

Date: October 25, 2023 12:15-12:45pm 

Description: Join this workshop to learn the basics of why and how the APA citation style is used in many academic assignments. Then, learn how to use online resources to become confident in creating in-text citations and references in the APA 7th edition citation style.

Visit Our Webpage!

Visit the Building Your Writing Foundation webpage for login information and more!

Content submitted by Meg Loewen, Academic Support Specialist – Academic Success Centre

English Language Centre: Support to Develop Your Language Skills

May 4, 2023

English Language Tutoring

Do you need help with your English on a writing assignment? Would you like to practice your class presentation and get feedback on your language before you deliver it?

You can request ongoing language tutoring using our Tutoring and Coaching Request Form, or you can book a Short-Term English Language Tutoring session directly with a language tutor for specific, immediate needs such as working on a writing assignment or preparing for a class presentation.

Consider Ongoing Language Tutoring if you want:
  • support with ongoing development of speaking and pronunciation skills
  • strategies to develop listening and reading skills for program and occupation success
  • guidance to improve academic and professional writing skills
  • weekly support from the same tutor, over an extended period
Consider Short-Term Language Tutoring if you:
  • need support understanding assignment instructions
  • want to practice and receive feedback on an oral presentation
  • have an assignment due soon, and need support with the writing and editing process
  • have discreet skills and tasks they need support with
  • feel comfortable using the TracCloud booking system to register for a tutoring session

For more information about Ongoing or Short-Term English Language Tutoring, contact or visit the English Language Centre online.

Submitted by Linda Fox on behalf of the Academic Success Centre, Library and Academic Services

Building Your Writing Foundation: Online Workshop Series (May 10-June 14, 2023)

May 1, 2023

Writing Workshops for Student Success

The Academic Success Centre is offering a six-part online workshop series this term called Building Your Writing Foundation. It is open to ALL students. The series includes six sessions that will equip you with foundational writing skills for your college success!

You are welcome to attend any or all of the six sessions. No registration is required, just log on!

Sessions will be held Wednesdays from 12:15-12:45pm on Webex. To join a session, click the button below and log in with your RRC Polytech credentials.

Workshop Series Schedule

Claim + Evidence
How do I support a claim? What even is a claim?
May 10
Paragraph Structure
How should I organize my ideas in a paragraph?  
May 17
Reflective Writing
What does it mean to reflect? How can I write about what I’ve learned?
May 24
How can I reduce a text to only the main idea?
May 31
How do I use other writers’ ideas in my writing?
June 7
APA Citations and Formatting
What is APA citation style? Where can I find information to use APA accurately?  
June 14



Visit our website: Building Your Writing Foundation

Submitted by Meg Loewen – Academic Success Centre

Writing Centre: For Help at Any Point in the Writing Process

April 27, 2023

Student writing on a note with a marker.

The Writing Centre

Do you have a writing assignment that you need help with?  Would you like to improve your overall writing skills for better results in your courses?

The Writing Centre can help you at any point in the writing process, including the planning stage, draft writing, revisions, referencing and formatting.  We can also help you if you’re simply looking to improve your confidence as a writer. 

Flexible Options


Currently available at the Notre Dame Campus Library Tutoring Nook:

  • Mondays from 1-3pm
  • Thursdays from 1-2pm

By Appointment

Book an in-person or online appointment with a staff or peer writing tutor using TracCloud, our online booking system in HUB.

Through Email

Too busy to meet with a tutor? Try our Writing Support through Email to get feedback on your drafts.  

Questions about writing tutoring? Contact or visit the Writing Centre online.

Submitted by Linda Fox on behalf of the Academic Success Centre, Library and Academic Services

Spring Into Encouragement: Let Hope Guide You During Exam Week

April 14, 2023

Spring into encouragement: Let hope guide you during exam week. Share your message of hope on the Wellness Wall in the Library.

“Hope” is the thing with feathers –

That perches in the soul –

And sings the tune without the words –

And never stops – at all –
(Emily Dickinson)

The Wellness Wall

In partnership with Campus Well-Being, the Library will be hosting a Wellness Wall display from April 17th – April 28th, 2023 where students, staff, and faculty can write anonymous responses to the question “What gives you hope?”

The purpose of the Wellness Wall is to give users a space to write anonymous notes with the anticipation of giving hope to those who may need some words of encouragement.

Where can I post a message?


A tree shape will be hung on the wall near the exit across from the Tutor’s Nook. Post-it notes and materials will be placed near the tree display for users to write their notes.


A tree shape will be displayed on the window at the entrance to the Reading Room. Post-it notes and materials will be placed near the tree display for users to write their notes.


Can’t make it to the Library? Send a message of hope through the online form. We will write and post your message at the EDC and NDC Libraries on your behalf.

Photo Gallery

Photos of the trees budding with messages of hope at EDC and NDC.

Submitted by Meagan Acquisto and Fatima DeMelo – Library and Academic Services

October is Dyslexia Awareness Month

October 19, 2022

image source: Pixabay
image source pixabay

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
    • And more!

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

Let’s Talk Tutoring

October 7, 2022

Tutor Appreciation Week: October 3-7, 2022

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.

Photo of Alex Shatokhin reviewing Business Finance.
Alex Shatokhin, tutor, reviewing Business Finance with a student

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: Removing Disability-Related Obstacles to Performance

October 3, 2022

Introducing the Exam Accommodations Team

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.

Learn more

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.

More in this series

This is the second in a series of posts introducing Assessment Services. The previous installment of this series is available here: Admissions, Diagnostic and Placement Testing Team.

Written by Melissa Coyle, Academic Assessment Services Supervisor

How to be an RRC Polytech Library Power User

September 20, 2022

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 when on 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

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?

The Library has Guides that can help you, ranging from Guides to your school or programs main subjects, and Guides for specific research topics. There are also Academic guides for writing, and citation styles.

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:

At the NDC campus, the Academic Success Centre has a new tutoring space called ATLAS – an acronym for Active Tutoring and Learning Achievement Space

Find the Academic Success Centre when entering the NDC Library by taking a right and following the signs for ATLAS.

At EDC you will also find the Academic Success Centre inside the library, when entering through the northern entrance of the Library, the ASC is located through the opening in the wall to the right.

7. Book Equipment before you need it
The Library has an assortment of equipment available from both the Notre Dame and Exchange District Libraries.

Need an adaptor to connect with the projector in a classroom? A camera for a photo or video project? A portable battery charger for your phone? A temporary laptop while your own is being repaired or replaced? A light therapy lamp for working from home on short winter days? All Library equipment can easily be booked online through the Library website, just look for the book equipment icon, or check out the Equipment Borrowing Guide.

8. Use streaming video services
Videos are a great tool in online learning and instruction, and the right videos from the right sources can be cited and used as resources in your academic writing.

The Library’s licensed streaming databases, CBC Curio, National Film Board: Campus, and LinkedIn Learning offer thousands of educational videos, documentaries, and feature films.  

Find out more by checking out our Streaming Video Guide.

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.

RRC Polytech has integrated RefWorks with Office 365, it can easily be accessed and used by students alongside the exportation tools within OneSearch. If you are new to using Refworks, the Library has you covered with our Refworks Guide, and our recorded Lunch and Learn tutorial.

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.

The Lunch and Learn program is a series of uploaded video tutorials covering our most popular Library subjects, including OneSearch, Nursing Reference Centre Plus, and APA 7th Edition Citation style.

Find videos and solutions on different math and science topics offered by the Academic Success Centre’s Math and Science Centre.

The Academic Success Centre has compiled the review materials for specific business math and accounting courses into one central location to help you easily access these resources at any time: Business Math & Accounting Review Self-Enroll LEARN Courses

…And finally: Follow the Library on social media
Stay up to date on the latest by following the Library on Social Media!

The Library is on Twitter and Instagram with daily tips, study hacks, events and other great need-to-know information.

Have Questions or Comments?

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

Written by Artemis Hedrich – Library Technician, Information and Program Delivery

RRC Polytech campuses are located on the lands of Anishinaabe, Ininiwak, Anishininew, Dakota, and Dené, and the National Homeland of the Red River Métis.

We recognize and honour Treaty 3 Territory Shoal Lake 40 First Nation, the source of Winnipeg’s clean drinking water. In addition, we acknowledge Treaty Territories which provide us with access to electricity we use in both our personal and professional lives.

Learn more ›