Learning Resources

CASA is Here for You

Whether your course is traditional face-to-face, remote, online, or hybrid, the resources below are designed to help you get organized, stay motivated, and succeed.

Online

The class was originally scheduled to be taught completely online and will be largely asynchronous (students will not be required to meet as a group at specific times). Online classes are not assigned specific time blocks, so while the instructor might make appointments with specific students, or student groups may carve out specific times to meet remotely for group work, students cannot be required to all be present at certain times, as those times could conflict with work schedules or with other classes that do have specific time block assignments.

Remote

The class was originally scheduled as a traditional face-to-face class or a hybrid class that meets once a week with some of the content delivered remotely. Some of these classes now will be offered completely remotely. These classes do have specific time blocks assigned, and where a room location would have been listed, “remote” will now be listed in that cell of the course listing. Because there is an assigned time block, the instructor may choose to have synchronous class meetings, but only during the specified time block. Any other meeting time could conflict with other classes the student is taking. Instructors also may choose not to have synchronous meetings for these classes.

Hybrid

These classes will have some face-to-face meetings on campus. There are three possible models for these classes:

  • Standard hybrid model: the whole class meets together one day a week, face-to-face, with the remainder of the content covered online. (In some cases, it may meet less often than once a week.)
  • Team model: Rotating sections of the class (or “teams”) will meet on alternate days with the other section(s) participating remotely on their laptops, for example via Zoom or Blackboard Collaborate.
  • Multiple rooms model: The class will be spread out over more than one room to allow for social distancing. The faculty member will rotate among the rooms based on a schedule set out in the syllabus. Students not in the same room as the instructor will participate remotely on their laptops.
Traditional Face-to-face

In these classes, all students will meet together at the same time in the same room with the instructor. This will be possible only for those classes assigned to large enough rooms and with small enough enrollment numbers to allow for social distancing.

On this page, you will learn about various academic success strategies.  But first, take a step back and think about your own thinking.  Watch this short 5- minute video to learn more about metacognition. 

Metacognition video 

It’s important to approach your learning with a Growth Mindset, rather than a Fixed Mindset.  Check out the video below to learn more about Growth Mindset.   

Growth Mindset video 

One of the most important strategies for success in school and beyond is organization.  Each of your courses will have different requirements, due dates and maybe methods of delivery.  It can be hard to keep track of it all!  Here are a few tips to help.

  • Understand how content will be delivered for each course.   Are lectures in person, through Blackboard, Zoom or another tool?  A weekly schedule like the one below can help you keep track.
  • Download your syllabus from each course to understand expectations, your instructor's communication and instructional plans, due dates, grading and attendance policies.
  • Become familiar with any tools your professor is using to teach your class.  Understand how assignments will be submitted and how quizzes and tests will be administered. 
  • Understand faculty expectations.  Check out Dr. Sarah Mulhall Adelman's video about expectations. This video focuses on traditional face-to face courses, but the principles apply to all course delivery methods. 
  • Create a schedule for your coursework and stick to it.  See the Time Management  section of this page for tips on prioritizing your time.
  • Make a habit of checking your FSU email and Blackboard account daily. Read all emails and announcements from your professors and make notes.
  • Use Folders for each of your courses.  Whether you keep digital folders or paper, organize your materials for each course separately.

Resources

Weekly Course Schedule Example an example of organizing your week by day and course

Weekly Course Schedule Template a blank schedule template for you to enter your course information

Weekly Course Schedule Template with time blocks a more detailed, hour-by-hour schedule template for you to organize your week

Managing your time effectively can lead to increased productivity, less stress, and increased motivation and momentum.  As with many strategies, it’s important to find what works best for you.  Below are a few things to try:  

  • Utilize CASA’s semester calendar to record important due dates for all courses.  This exercise will help you identify your heavy and light weeks.   
  • Use your semester calendar to then make a weekly to do list to help you plan when you are going to work on your assignments to ensure they are completed for the due date.  
  • Incorporate the Pomodoro Technique to utilize your time effectively.  This technique can be used when reading textbooks or articles, studying for an exam, or writing a paper.  

Resources

 

Pomodoro Technique video a quick how-to on incorporating the Pomodoro Technique into your studying

Time Management Apps a list of phone-based apps to help you stay organized and on-task

Weekly Assignment Schedule to assist you with managing your workload 

  • Be realistic about what you can accomplish. Set time, page, or chapter limits and take breaks. Your brain needs time to rest and process information - reading a lot of dense information over one long stretch of time will not encode the information into your long-term memory, making it harder to recall.  
  • Prime yourself before you start reading.  Identify the purpose of the reading. Do you need to be able to answer questions about the reading, generate and submit your own questions about the reading, or use the reading to write a paper?  Read Objectives, Chapter Summaries, etc. before tackling the whole reading.  Pay attention to the first and last sentences of each paragraph.  Notice bolded or emphasized terms, definitions, or examples. 
  • Be active while you’re reading.  Keep track of key concepts and terms.  Use a pen, not a highlighter. Instead of highlighting or underlining, write questions, try to summarize in your own words, or try to connect the reading with something you learned from a lecture or during a discussion.  
  • Ask for help! Several of our CASA Writing Tutors can also work with you on your reading. Schedule a Writing Tutor appointment via Starfish. 

Reading Strategies 

The Morse Code reading method  a one-page guide for using the Morse Code method

The Morse Code reading method video see the Morse Code method in action

Four Strategies from LSU  a one-page guide for four reading strategies

Reading Resources 

Rewordify use Rewordify to “translate” challenging texts and build your vocabulary 

TextHelpPDF Reader (Google Chrome extension) open PDFs in Google Drive to access highlighters, built-in dictionaries, and to supplement your reading with audio of the text  

  • Use CASA’s writing tutors! They can work with you at any step of the writing process, from outlining to your final drafts. Make an appointment through Starfish. 
  • Read first. Take the time to re-read your assignment. Prime yourself as you would with any other course reading - identify what the purpose of the assignment is, what parameters you have (word count, outside research, etc.). If there is a grading rubric, read it before you start writing so you know what’s expected of you.  
  • Make an outline or mind map. Planning out your essay will help you as you write and during the revision process - saving you time and stress.  
  • Just start writing. Your first few thoughts don’t have to end up in your final paper, but you do need to start somewhere. It can help to use speech-to-text like Voice Typing in Google Docs to “brain dump” - speak out your initial thoughts to get words on the page. You may find that once you’ve got something, you’re able to keep going. 

Writing Resources 

Rams Write writing guide  a collaboration between an FSU professor, librarians, and students to help other student improve their essays

ThinkingStorm In addition to our professional writing tutors, CASA has partnered with ThinkingStorm to offer online tutoring.  You can submit a paper to the Writing Center and receive feedback in 24-48 hours.  

Purdue OWL The Online Writing Lab has resources for every step of the writing process, including guides for citing in MLA, APA, and Chicago styles 

Hemingway Editor website to help identify passive voice, lengthy sentences, and other common, fixable writing mistakes 

Natural Reader free screenreader to hear your essay read aloud in order to catch errors or awkward wording 

 

There are a variety of different notetaking methods.  Some methods work well across the board, while others lend themselves to a particular subject area.   

Before you sit down to take notes, there are a few things to do before class:  

  • Look at your syllabus so to know what topic is being discussed 
  • Preview the text or reading assignments before class 
  • Briefly review notes from the last class  

There are five main notetaking methods

  • Cornell Method  
  • Mapping Method 
  • Outlining Method 
  • Charting Method  
  • Sentence Method 

Review the above options and decide which method works best for you and your class.  The above methods work for online, hybrid, remote, or face-to-face classes.   

Resources  

Cornell Method video the Cornell Method in action

Taking Notes: Crash Course video an in-depth video on the importance of taking notes and various notetaking strategies

Notetaking applications an article and video review of the 10 best notetaking apps for browsers, Android, and iOS

 

Many of the same habits that help you learn course material during in person lectures can be applied to video lectures.  Here are some tips to help you get the most of your video lectures.

  • Stick to your instructor’s schedule as much as you can. Staying on a schedule will prevent you from falling behind. 
  • Find out how to ask questions. Is there a chat feature? Is there a discussion forum? 
  • Close distracting tabs and apps. We are not as good at multitasking as we think!  Give the video lecture your full attention.  Try to find a quiet spot or use headphones.
  • Take notes as you would if you were there in person.  Taking notes helps you make connections with the course material and will improve retention and understanding. Need help?  Visit the Notetaking Tips section for methods and examples.  
  • Watch recordings at normal speed. Research shows that playback speed of 1.5x can lower your retention and can result in lower scores on assessments. 
  • Review captioning when available. 
  • Use faculty office hours just as you would for an in person course to ask a question or get clarification. 

Resources

Tips for online lectures video specific strategies on how to take notes and learn from recorded lectures

Effective test preparation and study strategies contribute to greater productivity, higher grades and reduced stress. 

  • Good study habits throughout the semester will help you when it's time to take an exam or quiz.  Attend lectures, keep up with course readings, take notes and review them after each class.  Get help when you have questions - office hours, CASA tutors and Supplemental Instruction are all great resources.
  • Applying the Study Cycle will help you build effective studying and learning habits into your everday life.
  • Don't cram all your studying into one night.  Instead, study in chunks in the week or days leading up to an exam. Use the time management tips to help prioritize your studying.
  • Active study activities lead to greater learning than simply rereading notes or texts.  Rereading can be an important prestudy habit but you will retain more information if you also actively engage in the material.  Making flashcards, concept maps, creating your own quiz or study guide by topic are all active study activities.
  • For online exams, plan ahead to make sure you will have a quiet place to work and all the tools or materials you need.  
  • Prepare for open book exams the same way you would a closed book exam. 

Resources

Study Cycle video a quick video demonstrating the Study Cycle

The Study Cycle a one-page guide to help you improve your studying

Concept Map video an example of how to create a concept map from scratch

Open Book/Notes Test Prep video preparing for an open resource exam without digging through all posted course content

If you'd like to learn more about the above content, or discuss how you can apply these strategies to your course, the CASA staff members are happy to help.  Please email academicsuccess@framingham.edu or sign up for an appointment on Starfish.  

Tutoring and Supplemental Instruction will be hosted on Blackboard Collaborate during the fall semester.  Please visit their web pages for more information.  

Disability and Access services continues to be available to students.  Please visit the Disability/Access Services web page, or email disabilityservices@framingham.edu