From HackCollege: 10 Memorization Tips for More Effective Study Sessions

Image of woman balancing books on her head

“Study” by Judit Klein

HackCollege has come out with yet another usable and informative post to help students at all levels of higher ed make good use of their study time: 10 Memorization Tips for More Effective Study Sessions

Dominique Jackson tells us the how and why to switch to audio, put it in your own words, visualize it, use acronyms, link information, skim readings, use distributed practice, teach information to someone else, and use flashcards.

Flashcards: One of the oldest tricks in the book, yet some people still don’t know how to use them properly. The point of notecards is to help you recall important information by memorizing the main points associated with key terms or concepts. You should not be writing full paragraphs on notecards.

A helpful technique is to write a question on the front, and then the answer on the back. The answer should be short and concise — not a detailed explanation. That way, when you see questions on your test, you can easily recall the main points from the notecard you memorized. There are some great sites that allow you to create sharable flashcards online and browse through preexisting flashcards. … One of my favorite sites to study flashcards on is Quizlet. I have seen a lot of exam questions on the flashcards I studied from the site.

This post is worth your time if you have information to memorize for an exam, or you need to help another student study.


Fourteen Ways to Stay Calm When You’re Starting School

Fourteen Ways to Stay Calm When You’re Starting School
1. Breathe. Look around and enjoy where you are right this minute. -Tracy Mendham, Coordinator of Learning Assistance, Center for Academic Excellence
2. Choose just a few important activities your first year. Don’t take on too much at once or overextend yourself. Kirsti Bogaard, Graduate Assistant, Fitzwater Center
3. Don’t worry about not knowing anyone – neither does anyone else. -Jeff Ogden, Coordinator of Student Accessibility Services, Center for Academic Excellence
4. Don’t be quick to follow the crowd. Choose your own path. –Doug Carty, Director, Campus Recreation
5. Find out who your academic advisor is and when you should talk to them. -Terri Downing, Coordinator of Advising, Director, Center for Academic Excellence
6. Get enough sleep. Jill Wixom, Circulation Manager, DiPietro Library
7. Get into a schedule or routine so you don’t get overwhelmed. You may want to continue your high school schedule in college. –Brittany Nyzio, Graduate Assistant, Fitzwater Center
8. Get off Facebook and do your work! -Patti Vorfeld, Coordinator of Academic Support Programs, Center for Academic Excellence
9. Go to a quiet place like the Spiritual Life Center, walk the campus trails, sit by the water, connect with trusted people. Bill Beardslee, Associate Director for Student Involvement and Spiritual Life
10. Lay on the grass in a quiet place and feel the sun and the breeze and just listen to the birds. -Rebecca Weidner, Administrative Assistant, Center for Academic Excellence
11. Make your room a more comfortable place to work and relax—a good light, good chair, nice art and plants. –Ross McKinley, Student Manager, Center for Academic Excellence
12. Save everything to the cloud. Skydrive is your new best friend. Stephanie Loiselle, Library Assistant, DiPietro Library
13. Stay organized. Be prepared. -Maureen Baptiste, Language Skills Specialist, Center for Academic Excellence
14. Use a planner for your homework, upcoming tests and projects, school events, work schedule, and vacation times. You’ll never forget a thing! -Meagan Shackelford, Tutor, Student Manager, Center for Academic Excellence

Writing Help by Phone with

Tracy Mendham Banner Image

Yesterday I had a successful writing help session with a student over the phone using a screen-sharing program called With I could show the student what was on my screen just by emailing her a link for her to click on. Following the link, she could see my computer screen in her browser window. I brought up the Word document she had emailed me, and I could scroll around in the paper so we were both looking at the same thing at the same time as we discussed possibilities for global revision of her paper.

Screen sharing was even more helpful when we were discussing mechanical issues like in-text citations, reference lists, and headers. If a picture is worth a thousand words, live video is worth a million when you’re trying to talk where you’d put a signal phrase, format a citation, or have Word automatically insert…

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Google Something Beautiful

A few years ago Google quietly unveiled a new search tool, Google Cultural Institute, which lets you search, explore, save, organize, and share images of art and culture from around the world. It’s really quite beautiful, and could offer inspiration or topics for students writing about fine art, history, and many other topics. Check out the video above, or go to

How Secure is Your Password?

Imagine how much this would stink: someone hacks your email and changes the password. Ten years of personnel correspondence on your is lost forever.
Having a hard-to-guess, hard-to-hack password is one of the first keys to online security. The How Secure Is My Password? site at will tell you how long it would take a PC to guess your password. It’s fun, fast, and recommended by our friends at LifeHacker.

How Secure is My Password?
And to all the info pirates out there, it will take your little desktop computer with the skull-and-crossbones screensaver SIX THOUSAND years to guess my new password.


Here are my notes for a presentation I give on citing sources in college writing.
Son of Citation Machine, Easy Bib and More Web and Old-school Tools for Citing Your Work
-Academic discourse and research
-Current cultural climate of plagiarism
-Changeover from printed texts with physical locations to disembodied etexts
-Competing interests between academic disciplines
-However, it doesn’t need to be so hard anymore! Use one of the systems on page 2 below to make your life easier.
1. Clearly mark in your writing the beginning of any words, ideas, or sequence of ideas that you borrow from someone else; use signal phrases and quotation marks
2. Mark the end of borrowed language/ideas with an in-text citation (APA or MLA) or footnote (CMS), which briefly identifies the source, and when appropriate closing quotation marks
3. Put a list of references at the end of the paper that tells the reader everything they need to know to find your sources.
Use a particular style of format and stick to it through the paper: APA, CMS, MLA, or another
APA American Psychological Assn In-text citations include author’s last name and year, and the page number for quotes: At least one writer (Mendham, 2010) has complained that APA style “makes her brain hurt” (p. 1)
CMS Chicago Manual of Style Raised (superscript) numbers to refer to footnotes or endnotes. Tracy Mendham says “Chicago is the mob boss of documentation systems.”2
MLA Modern Lang. Assn In-text citations include author’s last name and the page number. At least one writing specialist claims that “MLA style rocks” (Mendham 3).

-Easy Bib: for FPU free account or for MLA-only
-Microsoft Word 2007 and later:
-Son of Citation Machine:
I always show students how to use Easy Bib if they’re struggling with sources. You can paste in a website to autocite or enter info manually. Easy Bib can will save your references—if you find out you have to write about the same book again, or use a different format style, Easy Bib or
Son of Citation Machine is similar and popular with some students:
This will make your life so much easier it should be worth the $35 the student edition will cost from IT and the time it will take to learn to use it.
A short YouTube tutorial:
Zotero needs to be downloaded and added to your Firefox browser, but it is plain awesome for collecting sources when you are working on more than one computer and it will “grab” information off Amazon web pages about book info and journal info from online databases. It will also automatically add items by ISBN or DOI.
Here’s a demo video:
The Cite feature in EBSCOhost and the good old Diana Hacker Writer’s Reference. I mark the pages I use most and now it’s faster than a website for tasks I do most often.
Come to the Center for Academic Excellence or use the Wensberg Writing Center for more help with writing or to learn to use the tools in this handout.
The Center for Academic Excellence
DiPietro Library, 1st floor,

Course concerns at Franklin Pierce, the College at Rindge

Warning Sign

From "Nadbasher" on Flickr

Rindge students, if you received an email about “course concerns” today, read it and then speak to your instructor within the coming week.

The Coordinator of Academic Advising and the Academic Services Center ask professors of 100- and 200- level classes to let us know if they have concerns about a student during the first four weeks of classes.  Concerns can be anything from missing one or two classes, not having the books, not doing well on a quiz, or just being really homesick.   We can make suggestions to help students or try to connect the student with resources on campus that can help them.  Students may not know about all the people and offices on campus who can assist them academically.  The course concern emails (also known as Early Alerts or ESI’s) help connect the dots.

So if you have an email like that, talk to your professor (even if you think you know why you received the alert).  Your instructor can tell you what you need to do to succeed in their course.

Writers write: 750 Words

750 Words Site750 Words is a neat and simple website to help writers (including profs and students) to make daily progress on their writing projects. This is from a Chronicle article, Writer’s Boot Camp:

Here at ProfHacker, we have written many posts detailing ways we can make the writing process smoother, faster, easier. Or doable. We strive to make writing doable. And we share our ideas. Writing hints that work for me might work for you. Your hints to produce usable writing might help others, and we hope you’ll share those hints. Some hints are simple; others are more difficult. But we share, nonetheless. The “butt in chair” method of producing written text, a hint that is shared by many, is probably the best way to accomplish a writing goal. Just do it. Today, however, we offer a different tool that might help you produce words.

Andrew Mara (Twitter’s @docmara) at North Dakota State University alerted me to, a website that provides space for writing. But unlike an average word processor, what most of use in writing, is very simple. It doesn’t provide textual manipulation tools (bolding, italicizing, etc.), as those tools can be distracting. The free online site encourages you to write, to produce 750 words of text a day. It does this by counting your words as you type and by providing small incentives to keep you going. It’s a very simple, but brilliant, idea.

Drop-in help for research papers and projects tonight from 7-8 pm (Tuesday 4/20/2010)

Image of pen and blank paper

Pen and Paper by Kristian D. on Flickr:

Final papers and research projects to complete? We’ve got you covered. Tonight featuring the fabulous Moe Baptiste, language skills specialist (and yoga teacher) extraordinaire!
Staff from the DiPietro Library and the Center for Academic Excellence are hosting drop-in hours on Tuesday evenings 7-8 pm for the rest of the semester (April 20, 27, and May 4) to help students with library research and to provide support for students at all stages of the writing process. If you’re stuck or just want help making a good paper great, come on by and let us help you. The Peer Tutor for Foundations of Math will also be available to assist students with their final written projects.
For those that can’t attend in person, the reference librarian remains available during other regular reference desk hours by IM, email, and phone. Visit for more information. For students at CGPS campuses, the Wensberg Writing Center is available by email.
Drop-in hours are just one of several collaborative programs that the Center for Academic Excellence is developing with the DiPietro Library and other groups on campus to promote student success.

Go, Lady Ravens!

FITCHBURG, Mass. (March 15, 2010) — Senior forward Johannah Leedham (Ellesmere Port, England) scored 34 points, surpassing 3,000 for her career, and added eight rebounds on Monday night to lead the No. 2 nationally ranked and top-seeded Franklin Pierce University women’s basketball team to an 82-79, overtime victory over second-seeded Holy Family in the final round of the NCAA Division II Women’s Basketball East Regional, hosted by Franklin Pierce at the Fitchburg State College Recreation Center.

via Franklin Pierce University : No. 2 Women’s Basketball Captures NCAA East Regional Championship With 82-79, Overtime Victory Over Holy Family.

Leedham scores