Transitions & Connections: Peer Mentor Program for New Students.

BACKGROUND

Our incoming students have experienced a variety of academic, health, and personal challenges in the last 18 months. Coming to college can be an overwhelming experience under normal circumstances, and this year there’s an even greater need to create opportunities for authentic human connection, reflection on transitions and change, and open and inclusive interaction with peers. While some units on campus offer mentoring programs for first-years, many students don’t have the opportunity to connect with peers and to receive support in their transition to college prior to their arrival to Ithaca. We are piloting this program to offer meaningful support in the summer and to ease the transition to Cornell.  Contact summerpeermentors@cornell.edu for more information.  

 

ABOUT THE PROGRAM

IDP and LSC are recruiting and training a select group of undergraduate peer mentors who have the skills, experience, and desire to create an inclusive and connected campus community. These mentors will meet via Zoom with small groups of incoming students and facilitate connection to the Cornell community throughout the month of July. They will facilitate casual conversations, share about their own Cornell experiences, answer mentees’ questions and  refer students to other resources when needed.  Check out the TC Peer Mentor Flyer.  Contact summerpeermentors@cornell.edu for more information.

 

LSC Resources Overview

Fall 2021 information is forthcoming. 

Please check back in August! 

Whether your courses are online or in-person, the LSC is here to help you get and stay organized and maximize your learning and growth as you navigate your Cornell journey. On this page you’ll find detailed information about the LSC’s academic support services—free for all undergraduates at Cornell—plus a wealth of ideas about how you can study most effectively.

Supplemental Courses

Supplemental courses are offered to support students in:

Chemistry 2070 and 2080, Chemistry 3570 and 3580, Economics 1110 and 11120, Math 1106, 1110, 1120, and 2210, BIOG 1440, BIOMG 1350 (Cell and Developmental Biology), Physics 1112 and 2213. LSC supplemental courses help Cornell students:

  • Evaluate and implement effective learning strategies.
  • Enhance their sense of agency.
  • Learn and practice effective problem-solving strategies.
  • Expand conceptual understanding of parent course material.

You can find more information on supplemental courses here and the course schedule here.

Office Hours and Peer Tutoring 

The Learning Strategies Center provides FREE tutoring to ALL Cornell undergraduate students in:

BIOMG 1350, BIOG 1440, CHEM 1570, CHEM 2070/2080, CHEM 3570/3580, ECON 1110, ECON 1120, MATH 1106, MATH 1110, MATH 1120, MATH 2210, PHYS 1112, PHYS 2208, PHYS 2213/2214, Statistics courses (AEM 2100, BTRY 3010, HADM 2010, ILRST 2100, ILRST 2110, MATH 1710, NTRES 3130, PAM 2100, PSYCH 3500, SOC 3010, STSCI 2100, STSCI 2110, STSCI 2150, STSCI 2200), and Italian 1201, French 1210 and 1230, and Spanish 1120, 1210, 1230, 2000.

You can find more information on tutoring here and the schedule for office hours and tutoring here.

The LSC can help you with:

Explore the website for more information!

Need additional help with study skills?

The LSC provides additional support and resources to help students develop study skills.  We offer the following:

Check out our study skills tips Youtube Playlist here!  Hear from LSC peer experts on academic success, preparing for exams, self-care, asynchronous classes, back to back or clustered exams, Zoom fatigue, and more!

Find additional Support and Resources: 

For useful information, go to the Cornell COVID-19 updates page covid.cornell.edu

The Learning Strategies Center is committed to ensuring access for all students.
Please email us if you have any questions or concerns about accessing our services.  

Remote Learning Preparedness Checklist

During this time of learning with Covid-19, it is important to patient, flexible, and forgiving! A little empathy from everyone will go a long way. Take some time to get comfortable and proficient with Zoom, Canvas, and other tools.  Below are some things to think about if you are going to be participating in courses remotely (online or remote access).

In this checklist, we share a few things to help you be prepared to learn online:

  • Confirm how you will communicate online
  • Download and try out Zoom
  • Access library and research support
  • Check technology recommendations
  • Download mobile apps (if desired)
  • Explore Canvas
  • Ideas for learning online and taking online exams
  • Resources for families to support online learning

Confirm How You Will Communicate

Your course faculty will be letting you know how they will be communicating with you and will share guidelines for communicating with them and the TAs. Make sure that your Canvas notifications are enabled (and not going to your junk folder!).

Download and try out Zoom

Zoom may be used by faculty for hosting virtual, synchronous classes, offering office hours, and leading review sessions. Students automatically have a Cornell Zoom account. Just install the software and you’ll be ready to go. You can install Zoom on Windows, MacOS, iOS, and Android devices.

  • Install Zoom on your device.
  • Test your Zoom setup by trying a Test Meeting to make sure your audio/video is set up correctly.
  • Find the Zoom meeting link for your class. If the meeting was scheduled via Canvas, the Zoom meeting link can be found:
    • In the Canvas course, under Zoom.
    • In Canvas Calendar, as an event.
    • In a Canvas event notification (in your email if notifications are on).
    • In the Zoom app.
    • In an email from your instructor.
  • Once you’ve found the link, join the Zoom session by clicking on the link. Plan to “arrive” a few minutes early. Follow the instructions to join the audio and mute yourself and/or turn off your video. You can unmute when you want to talk. In some cases, the instructor may be recording the session so that you can watch it later.

If the meeting was scheduled via Canvas and recorded, the Zoom recording can be accessed in your course (left-hand navigation) in the Zoom tool > Cloud Recordings tab a few hours after the meeting ends.

Access Library and Research Support

Check Cornell University Library’s guidance for using their resources while you’re away from campus. You can connect to databases and other electronic resources from anywhere with internet connection.

Check Technology Recommendations

Internet stability is critical. If you experience network slowness while attending class virtually, try turning other services (Netflix or video games) that use substantial bandwidth. Consider talking with your roommates, parents, siblings, or whoever else is using the internet bandwidth about when you need to be online. Some in the Cornell community may not have reliable access to a computer or the internet.

You can find specific requirements for Zoom (hardware, software, and bandwidth) here. Check to make sure you meet the following base technical requirements for remote learning:

  • Computer with reliable, high-speed internet connection
  • Up-to-date Internet browser supported by Canvas
  • Camera for still and video images (or smartphone)
  • Headphones or earbuds (computer mics usually work)
  • Smartphone or webcam for office hours or meetings
  • Microsoft Office to open files. Cornell students have no-fee access to Microsoft Office 365 ProPlus
  • Courses can also be accessed on mobile devices

Download Mobile Apps

Many Cornell-supported services have mobile apps. You can download the mobile apps for the tools your instructor is using for remote teaching. Visit the app store on your device to download:

Explore Canvas!

You might be using Canvas in new ways in your online courses. Canvas has a repository of Student Guides. You can look through some useful guides here. Canvas support is provided through CTI (Center for Teaching Innovation) and is available during standard CTI work hours (8:30am-4:30pm).   Find support via the “help” icon.

Ideas for Learning Online and on Taking Online Exams

To learn effectively online, you will need to make an effort to stay engaged with your coursework, with your peers, and with your instructors. To be successful, you cannot expect to just watch some videos and take some tests! You will need to participate actively in your courses–use our resources here to learn how.

Online exams present a unique set of logistical challenges, whether you are home or on-campus. Be prepared! Gather as much intel as possible about the testing format before the exam. Read about taking online exams here.

Resources for Families to Support Students’ Remote Learning are Available!

For addition plans related to Covid-19, please visit covid.cornell.edu.


Adapted from The Sheridan Center for Teaching and Learning at Brown University—thank you to our colleagues!

The Perils of Multitasking

Be mindful of your focus and avoid multitasking

Most people think they can multitask effectively, but the simple truth is that most people cannot. If you’re participating in classes remotely, it may seem like there are even more distractions than in regular classes (email, messages, movies, shopping, etc.) and you might be tempted to multitask.

People think they are “multitasking,” but most often people are “microtasking” instead. This means they are switching back and forth rapidly between tasks–NOT doing both tasks at once.

Here’s what happens when you try to do more than one task at once:

  • Assignments take longer, because each time you come back to an assignment you have to get familiar with it, find your spot, remember what you were going to do next, etc.
  • You’re more likely to make mistakes because distractions and switching between tasks tires out the brain.
  • You’ll remember less because what you are learning doesn’t get encoded properly into long-term memory.

Tip: Turn off distractions when you attend class.

Instead, do these things to move towards “monotasking”:

  • Allow yourself to focus on one thing at a time.
  • Plan breaks between tasks. Get up and stretch, check on your friends, have a snack, pet the cat or dog.
  • Consider the “Pomodoro Method” to help you focus for 25- or 50-minute periods and then reward yourself with 5- or 10-minute breaks.
  • If you find avoiding electronic distractions to be especially challenging, consider using a distraction-blocking app.

It’s easy to multitask without being fully aware of it. Try to pay attention to where your attention is going. If you find this challenging, try a guided meditation or relaxation technique.

Check out this video on Managing Multitasking!

 

For useful information, go to the Cornell COVID-19 updates page cornell.edu/coronavirus/

References:
Many of these tips are adapted from the Center for Academic Innovation at the University of Michigan—thank you to our colleagues for generously sharing their resources.

Adler, R. F., & Benbunan-Fich, R. (2012). Juggling on a high wire: Multitasking effects on performance. International Journal of Human-Computer Studies, 70(2), 156-168.

Bowman, L. L., Levine, L. E., Waite, B. M., & Gendron, M. (2010). Can students really multitask? An experimental study of instant messaging while reading. Computers & Education, 54(4), 927-931.

Law, A. S., Logie, R. H., & Pearson, D. G. (2006). The impact of secondary tasks on multitasking in a virtual environment. Acta psychological, 122(1), 27-44.

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Resource videos

Here you can find a complete list of all the videos on learning during COVID-19.

NEW! Study Skills Tips from LSC Tutors!

Check out our study skills tips Youtube Playlist here!  Hear from LSC peer experts on academic success, preparing for exams, self-care, asynchronous classes, back to back or clustered exams, Zoom fatigue, and more!

We also have a variety of resources to support learning during COVID-19.

Check out:

Don’t forget to check out resources on Remote Group Work.

Videos on Time Management for Online Learning: A 3 Part Series

Part 1 – Structuring your Workday:

Managing your time when learning remotely / online can be very challenging!  But good news!  It’s not too different from managing your time when you’re on campus.  In this video, we help you learn how to manage your time efficiently by providing strategies on how to structure your day like an official workday (i.e. a 9-5 workday).   This will help you designate time for work, but also for important things like eating meals, spending time with your family, and connecting with friends online – just like you would if you were on campus.

 

Part 2 – Managing Time and Space, Communicating:

In “Structuring your Workday“, part 1 of the Time Management for Online Learning series, the video covered the idea of structuring your day like a workday – a strategy for efficient time management.  In Part 2, the video addresses the importance of “space”.  Where you are working, in addition to the time you set aside to work, is a big consideration.  Find out how to protect your space from distractions and learn how to communicate with the people you live with to create a new plan with boundaries and expectations.

 

Part 3 – Using Time Intervals for Balance and Efficiency:

Getting your work done in intervals might be a more flexible, time efficient strategy and give you ways of adapting to fluid work situations and contexts, such as learning online.  Learn about intervals, switching between tasks, and cognitive biases we’re all prone to that make it difficult to manage our work flow.  Don’t forget to check out Part 1, which focuses on the importance of managing time, and Part 2, which focuses on the importance of managing space.

Don’t forget to check out our resources on Getting Organized in Time and Space.

 

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The Perils of Multitasking

When you’re participating in classes remotely, it seems like there are even more distractions than in regular classes (email, messages, movies, shopping, etc.) and you might be tempted to multitask. Most people think they can multitask effectively, but the simple truth is that most people cannot.

How can you move towards “monotasking” instead?  

People think they are “multitasking,” but most often people are “microtasking” instead. This means they are switching back and forth rapidly between tasks–NOT doing both tasks at once.  In fact, we are often in a constant state of “continuous partial attention” – where we may not be focused on anything in particular!   When learning online, it may be inevitable that we “switch” between tasks, so learn how to take control of your focus and manage multiple tasks efficiently – while staying engaged with the material and staying connected with your friends, your classmates, and the community at large!

 

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Learning from Online Lectures and Discussions

Successful online learners have a growth mindset! They are flexible, tolerate the inevitable technical problems that arise, ask for help when they need it, do regular work for each class, and persist when things are hard.

Take notes just like you’re in a normal class.  

Watch the LSC’s videos on Cornell Notes for good general note-taking tips.

 

What are some good strategies for reading in online classes? 

This video covers how to learn in a lecture and reading course when you’re doing it online.  In a typical reading based course, you can expect to attend the lecture, take notes, see some powerpoints, do some reading (before or after class), and demonstrate knowledge through either papers and/or tests.  However, when you’re not physically going to classes, what are some tips and strategies for tackling this type of course?  Learn what you can do before (preview reading) and after the class (active), how “lectures” and “reading” are connected, and how to engage in them together, rather than separately.

Don’t forget to check out our resources on Learning from Online Lectures and Discussions!

 

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Being Flexible

Throughout this situation, you’ve already demonstrated that you can be flexible. Nice job! We all—your classmates, your professors, your friends, your family—are dealing with changing our routines and figuring this out as we go.

In order to make this work as well as you can, figure out how you can develop new routines that support your needs. Try new things. See what works.

There’s a great TED talk called “The Power of Belief” that offers some great advice about developing and maintaining your Growth Mindset.

 

Find a New Routine

It’s important to establish a new routine when your environment, schedule, context, space, and/or situation changes.  Figuring out how to get work done and manage your time and space can be daunting!  Know how to set realistic expectations and be prepared for the process to be iterative.  Setting new plans and goals is important, but keep in mind that tracking your progress and process are just as critical.  Learn how and what strategies to use in tracking your work in this video on finding a new routine.

Don’t forget to check out our resources on Being Flexible.

 

For useful information, go to the Cornell COVID-19 updates page cornell.edu/coronavirus/

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