Understanding How Academics “Works”
at the Northeast Center of Empire State College
Helping You Connect the Pieces for
Orientation Presention by
Dr. Lisa D’Adamo-Weinstein
Director of Academic Support
• Academic Support - Services & Resources
What is it?
What is available?
• The Pieces of Academic Success
What are some strategies?
What can I do to learn how I learn best?
• Questions? (Stop me and ask throughout)
Helping You Connect the Pieces
for Academic Success
The staff of the Northeast Center Office of Academic Support operate as a
collaborative team, striving to establish a friendly welcoming learning environment
for all students.
We support students in becoming successful independent learners through a
comprehensive array of services and resources tailored to students’ individual
academic needs and goals.
We deliver these services and resources via individualized and group programming
in face-to-face, telephonic and virtual formats.
We work with students, staff and faculty with the expectation that willing students
can reach and exceed their academic potential with appropriate assistance.
Office of Academic Support
The Pieces of Academic Success
Office of Academic Support
As a result of utilizing the services and resources of the NEC Office of
Academic Support, students will be able to:
• Identify and manage their learning strengths and challenges,
• Incorporate traditional and technology-based resources in their
• Use effective strategies in different learning engagements,
• Create positive learning environments for themselves,
• Increase their self-confidence while decreasing stress, and
• Improve their academic performance and development as a life-
Resources Available for You
Learning Coaches & Content Tutors
• One-to-one appointments in person or via phone, e-mail, Internet, etc.
• Workshops (online & onsite)
• Small group assistance (online & onsite)
• Online Content Area Tutoring – Smarthinking (www.esc.edu/smarthinking)
• Webbased resource – NECAcademicSupport.Pbworks.com
• A self-paced or credit-bearing study & resources
• On Facebook - http://on.fb.me/NortheastCenterFB
Helping You Connect the Pieces for Academic Success
Services & Resources – Onsite & Online
Meet the Learning Coaches
Sarah Spence-Staulters is located in Latham working with Schenectady & Latham/Albany students
Her hours are: Mondays 3:00pm-7:30pm
Contact Sarah to make an appointment :
(518) 783-6203 ext 5992 or Sarah.Spence-Staulters@esc.edu
Kate Stockton is located in Latham working with Johnstown & Latham/Albany students
Her hours are: Mondays 4:00pm-7:30pm
Contact Kate to make an appointment :
(518) 783-6203 ext 5992 or Kate.Stockton@esc.edu
Mary Sanders-Shartle is located in Saratoga working with Saratoga &
Her hours are: Mondays 12:00pm-2:00pm
Contact Mary to make an appointment :
(518) 587-2100 ext 2827 or Mary.Sanders-Shartle@esc.edu
Paper Time Management Tools
Electronic Time Management Tools
What is Smarthinking?
Smarthinking is an online tutorial service that is
available to students 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
General Success Strategies
• Understand how you learn best and maximize your studying strategies
to match your strengths.
• Take a learning styles inventory. The VARK is a good example; you
can access it (www.vark-learn.com)online or come to a workshop.
• Apply your learning to your own experiences. Make connections
between what you are learning and what you already know.
• Ask questions when needed and do not let problems go unresolved! Be a
self-directed and self-motivated learner.
• Maximize your learning. Understand requirements, assignments, and
methods of evaluation by reviewing
your learning contract(s) (aka course syllabus/syllabi).
• Set appropriate goals to meet semester time
constraints, course requirements, and faculty expectations.
Understanding What is Expected of You
• Empire State College is reading and writing intensive.
• The model for learning is independent and active where students
take responsibility for what they are learning and work in one-to-one
studies, online courses, residencies, or part of small seminars known
as study groups.
• Several strategies can assist you in being more efficient and
effective with your reading, writing, and critical thinking.
• Understanding problem solving techniques, time management
principles, learning styles and identification of the overriding
purpose of your studies/courses will also help you better
complete your reading & writing assignments.
* Receives & implements instructions from the
* May ask questions for clarification.
* May not have work checked until end of the activity.
* Is given information to digest.
* Develops and implements a plan to
convey that information to the RECEIVER.
* May not check RECEIVER'S work until the end of
ROLES for ACTIVITY
• First, you have to understand the problem.
• After understanding, then make a plan.
• Carry out the plan.
• Look back & ask – How could the plan be improved?
-Source: George Pólya (1945) How to Solve It
The INK BLOTS activity forces you to use problem solving skills that can be
compared to the process of writing a research paper. The steps for conducing
research include, identifying a topic, researching/understanding all the details
related to that topic, and translating your research/ understanding into a format for
your audience to understand.
If you follow the problem solving steps listed in the gray box above, the process for
understanding the seemingly unconnected bits of information in the picture becomes
much easier. You need to get a sense of the larger picture and not focus on the
separate details of the picture as unconnected to a framework of understanding.
Once you find a way to look at the information (the problem) and process the
information into meaningful chunks/frameworks for understanding (make a plan), it
becomes easier to organize your thinking and present your ideas in a way that others
You evaluate the effectiveness of your plan as you translate your ideas to your
audience and determine if they could understand what you where trying to convey.
3 Ways to
To Known 3 Make new
Knight on a horse
Understand the problem/assignment
See the big picture first
Devise a plan to solve the problem/complete the
Understand what details make up the big picture and how you intend to
convey your understanding
Implement your plan
Communicate your understanding
Evaluate your effectiveness in solving the problem/
completing the assignment
ASK YOURSELF - “What will make me a better learner in the future?”
A schema in general is a specific,
well-documented, and consistent
plan. The related word, scheme
means a loosely described plan.
A schema (pl. schemata), in
psychology and cognitive
science, is a mental structure
(prior knowledge) that
represents some aspect of the
world. People use schemata to
organize current knowledge
and provide a framework for
Schema as a Net
Think of SCHEMA as a fishing net.
The first time you put the net in the
water, you gather a lot of big fish.
Over time, however, as the net’s
holes shrink from use, the smaller
holes allow for smaller fish to be
In essence, you get more fish each
time your dip your net into the
So, the more you activate your
schema before you try to study, the
more details you will pick up as you
read, complete an assignment, or
simply get to understand what your
course is all about and try to
manage your school workload.
Time is a Valuable Commodity
We all have the same amount of time ~
◦ 60 seconds in a minute,
◦ 60 minutes in an hour,
◦ 24 hours in a day,
◦ 168 hours in a week,
◦ 720 hours in a month,
◦ And 8,760 in a year.
Time cannot be saved and it does not gain interest.
There are no rollover minutes!
How are you spending your time???
Approximately 10-16 hours per week is
the optimum time for successful
completion of a 4-credit study. In addition,
it is important for you to have as regular a
schedule as you can manage to meet the
deadlines for assignments.
• Consider what you know about your constraints and how
you prefer to organize yourself.
• Pick the appropriate strategies and tool(s) to help you best
organize your time.
• Remember to be consistent with how you utilize your time
management strategies and tools, and that all tools are not for
• Know what you have to do and how
much time you have available to complete
Enhancing Your Personal
Time Management System
Review Learning Contract
aka Course Syllabus
= Key Concepts
= Critical Thinking
= Benefit to You
Characteristics of Visual Learners
• Easily remember information presented in
pictures, charts or diagrams.
• Have strong visualization skills. They can look up and “see” the
information invisibly written or drawn.
• Make “movies in their minds” of information they are reading.
Their movies are often vivid and detailed.
• Have very strong visual-spatial understanding of things such as
sizes, textures, angles and three-dimensional depths.
• Pay close attention to the body language of others (facial
expressions, eyes, stance, etc.).
• Have a keen sense of aesthetics, visual media and art.
Visual learners tend to:
Study Tips for Visual Learners
• Convert info into visual study tools
(diagrams, maps, charts)
• Visualize & make movies as you read and study.
• Add pictures to as many study tools as possible.
• Use "color coding" of new information in your textbook or
notes. Using highlighter pens, highlight different kinds of
information in contrasting colors.
• Copy & write new info - see it in your own writing.
• Use nonverbal clue’s by instructors to provide you with
• Always write down important information or directions.
Characteristics of Aural/Auditory Learners
• Remember quite accurately details of important information
heard during conversations or lectures.
• Have strong language skills, which include a well-developed
vocabulary and an appreciation for words.
• Have strong oral communication skills. They can carry or
interesting conversations and can articulate their ideas
• Have a “fine tuned ear” auditory may lead to learning a
foreign language more easily.
• Often have musical talents, can hear
tones, rhythms, and individual notes.
Aural/Auditory learners tend to:
Study Tips for Auditory Learners
• Talk out loud and recite information regularly.
• Discuss/study with friends.
• Record information and listen to it.
• Add rhythms or tunes to your learning.
• Use computerized technology – Text to Speech in
Word, Audacity, Natural Reader,
• Work well with their hands and may be good at repairing
work, sculpting, art or working with various tools.
• Often have well coordinated and have a strong sense of
timing and body movement.
• Learn with movement = often do well as performers:
athletes, actors, or dancers.
• Often wiggle, tap feet or move their legs when seated.
• Have been often labeled “hyperactive”
Characteristics of Kinesthetic Learners
Kinesthetic learners tend to:
Study Tips for Kinesthetic Learners
• Type or use a word processor – take notes as you read
including graphic organizing.
• Pace as you study.
• Make larger-sized study tools – flipcharts, chalk/white
• Learn by doing.
• Use case studies, examples and applications.
• Use your hands and your fine motor skills. Study with
pen/pencil in hand.
• Use exaggerated movement for emphasis and expression.
• Like lists and words to keep ideas and “To Do”
• Remember information displayed as words.
• Emphasize text-based input and output - reading
and writing in all its forms.
• Prefer PowerPoint, the Internet, lists, filofaxes,
dictionaries, thesauri, quotations and
words, words, words...
Characteristics of Read/Write Learners
Read/Write learners tend to:
Study Tips for Read/Write Learners
• Use a word processor – take notes as you read.
• Use dictionaries and/or make flashcards to remember key
• Write out the words again and again.
• Read your notes (silently) again and again.
• Rewrite the ideas and principles into other words.
• Organize any diagrams, graphs ... into statements, e.g. "The
• Turn reactions, actions, diagrams, charts and flows into
Life is multimodal.
Seldom are there instances where one mode is used, or is sufficient.
There are those who prefer many modes almost equally are of two types. Others
choose a single mode to suit the occasion or situation. There are others who are not
satisfied until they have had input (or output) in all of their preferred modes. They
take longer to gather information from each mode and, as a result, they often have
a deeper and broader understanding.
Northeast Center Office of Academic Support
Phone 518-783-6203 ext 5939
Mail Office of Academic Support
SUNY Empire State College – Northeast Center
21 British American Blvd.
Latham, NY 12110
Helping You Connect the Pieces
for Academic Success