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Introducing Spark - Cathy Boyd-Withers and Mona Fria-Brown - SASSY 2014


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Presented at the 2014 Student Affairs and Services Symposium at York University. This session, based on a poster session held at the recent CACUSS conference, will introduce participants to York University's new, free, e-learning academic writing resource, SPARK (Student Papers and Academic Research Kit). SPARK is a collaborative, pan-university project funded by the York University Academic Innovation Fund, and created by the Learning Commons, a partnership of the York University Libraries, the Learning Skills Services and the Writing Centre.

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Introducing Spark - Cathy Boyd-Withers and Mona Fria-Brown - SASSY 2014

  1. 1. Cathy Boyd-Withers and Mona Frial-Brown Learning Skills Services CACUSS 2014: NAVIGATING CHANGE Poster Session June 9, 2014 Introducing SPARK A free e-learning tool for students
  2. 2. What is SPARK? E.learning resource, accessible freely online, to help students with academic writing tasks Created by the Learning Commons, a pan-university collaborative partnership, consisting of: • Learning Skills Services • York University Libraries • Writing Centre Organized around the process of completing written academic assignments • Emphasis on promoting “academic literacies”: research, writing and learning skills • • • Division of Students PARTNERS IN STUDENT SUCCESS
  3. 3. Learning Skills Services Who are we? • Administratively, LSS is located in the Division of Students, as a separate unit within Counselling&Disability Services • Learning Skills Services (LSS) are open to all York students, undergraduate and graduate, at any level of study • Director, Polly MacFarlane, EdD • 2 full-time Learning Skills Specialists • Cathy Boyd-Withers, PhD • Mona Frial-Brown, M.Ed. • Founding partner in The Learning Commons, with Libraries and Writing Centre • Key partner in development of Divis•ion of Students PARTNERS IN STUDENT SUCCESS
  4. 4. Learning Skills Services • • Learning Skills Services (LSS) are about “learning how to learn”, improving student effectiveness and efficiency at studying and completing assignments, and helping students to achieve their academic goals, through fostering: • Self-knowledge about learning and motivation • Time management and organizational skills • Core academic literacies such as reading, note-taking, critical thinking, exam preparation Learning Skills Services include workshops, drop-in times, individual sessions, and consultation on learning skills topics with faculty and staff across the university What do we do? Division of Students PARTNERS IN STUDENT SUCCESS
  5. 5. Origins • Idea began in The Learning Commons, over 4 yrs ago • Generated and developed by Virtual Learning Commons Subcommittee • Sketched out rough plan • Funding opportunity arose,2011 – YorkU Academic Innovation Fund (AIF) • Applied and won generous funding for 3 yrs – 2011-2014 • Organization •Steering Committee, led by Libraries •Representing all partners: Learning Skills, Libraries, Writing Centre • Writing teams for each module, representation from all partners • External web developer hired for technical aspects Launched: Oct 16, 2013 • New Faculty Module to launch F2014 • Supporting Student Success Division of Students PARTNERS IN STUDENT SUCCESS •
  6. 6. Division of Students PARTNERS IN STUDENT SUCCESS Designed to Support Teaching and Learning Academic Support Services (eg. Learning Commons: Learning Skills, Writing Centre, Libraries) Faculty (Faculty Module to launch F2014) Students (Online modules)
  7. 7. Division of Students PARTNERS IN STUDENT SUCCESS
  8. 8. • 13 main modules, organized across 3 categories, reflecting key phases of writing a paper: • Getting Started • Exploring • Pulling It Together • Resources/worksheets to accompany each module • Can be done in any order, to allow for recursive nature of writing • 2 additional modules at or nearing completion • Academic Integrity – launched summer 2014 • Faculty module – to launch Fall 2014 Division of Students PARTNERS IN STUDENT SUCCESS Organization of SPARK
  9. 9. Supporting Student Success • Promoting Student Success through Partnership • Built / strengthened key partnerships across campus • A "win-win" for everyone,especially students! Bridged traditional "Academic versus Student Services" divide, typical of most universities • • End result stronger than any one unit could have produced Division of Students PARTNERS IN STUDENT SUCCESS
  10. 10. Division of Students PARTNERS IN STUDENT SUCCESS
  11. 11. Explore SPARK Hands-On! • Time Management • "Blank Schedule" • Gathering & Noting Ideas • “Note Taking Worksheet” Effective Reading Strategies • "Conquering Difficult Readings" Revising Your Arguments • “Peer Review Guide” • • Find each of the following Modules and associated Resource: Division of Students PARTNERS IN STUDENT SUCCESS
  12. 12. Contact Information: Cathy Boyd-Withers Learning Skills Specialist Mona Frial-Brown Learning Skills Specialist Learning Skills Services