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Course Helps Build Academic Success With Information Literacy, Study Skills

One of the strongest shocks of university life hits when a student realizes that the study habits that worked in high school don’t get the same results in college. As chemistry formulas crowd the mind and missed assignments pile up, many a freshman asks, “Why wasn’t I warned about this?”

Loyola Marymount University’s response to that sudden surprise is a new, innovative course called “Information Literacy and Study Skills,” which is designed to give freshmen the support and encouragement – and show them the skills – to succeed academically. The class was developed by the Academic Resource Center, in the Office of Academic Support Services, and the Office of Ethnic and Intercultural Services, in the Division of Student Life, under the guidance of Rae Linda Brown, vice president for Undergraduate Education.

Students in “Information Literacy and Study Skills” are drawn mainly from chemistry classes. They produce a graded e-portfolio of accumulated work that includes a Web site they have built, quizzes they have created and that are reviewed by their classmates, and other assignments. Along the way, they develop study strategies, practice efficient note-taking, learn to prepare for tests and gain time-management experience.

“Our students are finding that this is the support they’ve been waiting for,” said Mariá Elisa Grandoné, director for Ethnic and Intercultural Services, who teaches the course with Husan Thompson, coordinator of learning services in the Academic Resource Center. Thompson added, “We guide the students through creating and evaluating information, using their chemistry class as a context, to better communicate with their peers.”

Grandoné said that the students are encouraged to make the connection between the skills they are learning in this class and the rest of their courses, so that they can apply their new methods to their schoolwork to save them some madness later on.

“We are building a foundation for academic success,” said Brown. The course is made possible by a grant from the Jesuit Network for Equitable Excellence in Higher Education.