File Management and Backing Up

Imagine losing a week’s worth of writing you have done for an essay, or worse, a whole semester’s work.

There has been a huge shift towards computer based means of storing and delivering information. There are many benefits to this, and the main one I can think of is not having to carry around heavy books. For the tech savvy, the convenience of storing all of your photos, homework, music, movies, and work documents in one place is too good to pass up. With this convenience comes a risk: that your laptop or hard drive will break, crash, be stolen, or misplaced and you could lose everything. Even losing a few days’ worth of university work can be a huge setback. Continue reading File Management and Backing Up

Polish Your Work Before You Hand It In

Is the due date coming soon? No confidence with your assignment? Many students will face this problem during their study at university. Fortunately, technology makes our life much easier, even in writing. There are many grammar check websites that are available online, which assist you to check your work and give you some suggestions. Sounds great, doesn’t it? Continue reading Polish Your Work Before You Hand It In

YourTutor

imageHelloooooooo my lovely little kittens!

Miss me? I bet you did. Today I am going to tell you all about a fairly wonderful little thing called yourtutor.

Firstly, if you do not know about yourtutor, then you have been missing out. But given we are down to the extremely sharp and horribly pointy end of the year, it may just be the best time for you to get on it.

Yourtutor is a tutoring service. Basically. BUT it is online. AND it is free for FedUni students. PLUS it is accessible late at night when all your tutors and lecturers have drifted off into a deep slumber, or are out drinking wine and partying to their heart’s content. Whatever it is those crazy kids do that means they don’t reply to our emails right when we need them the most — an hour before the assignment is due at midnight, or the night before your early morning exam. So that’s when yourtutor becomes the greatest friend a uni student could ever have.

They are accessible from 3pm-11pm every day of the week except Saturday (because they need to party and sleep sometimes too, friends), and you do not even need to put on pants or get out of bed to talk to them. Yep, sounds pretty great, right? Well, it is.

Yourtutor is made up of experienced tutors, who can help with anything from maths and science to English and grammar. They will help you with research, topic analysis, study tips, basically anything study related that you need help with. You can even upload your assignments for them to have a look over and give you some help. Yes, they are that good.

To access yourtutor you will find a banner on the home page of Moodle. You can find more information and a short video clip about it here.

So seriously, if you find yourself struggling with a question that just can’t wait until tomorrow, or an assignment that needs to be looked over before you submit it, log onto yourtutor and watch them work their magic*.

-Tegan

*Not actual real magic. They have unfortunately not been to Hogwarts. Well, not that they’ve told me anyway…

Referencing for n00bs

So if you are anything like me, you probably find referencing the absolute worst part of writing assignments. I sit there for hours trying to smash out an assignment because, as usual, I’ve left finishing it off to the last minute, then just when I think I’m done…SURPRISE!!! There is still a whole reference list to go that, for some stupid reason, fails to write itself every time.

So if this sounds like you, keep reading, because I have some wonderful solutions for you.

Believe it or not, there are some awesome phone apps that can reference for you. You just need to download the app, search for your book — or if you’re real lazy, scan its barcode — select the reference style you want and BAM! You have yourself a correctly referenced book!
Some of these apps that I know of include:

  • Easybib (FREE!)
  • Easy ultimate referencing ($2.49)
  • RefME (FREE!)

Another way to make referencing less of a drag is to save your references in Microsoft word (convenient right?). So here’s how to do it:

  1. Click on the references tab up the top
  2. Click insert citation > new source
  3. Select the type of source, chuck in all the details and write in a little tag in the bottom left so you know what the reference is in your future list

Heypresto! Like magic, all the hard work is done for you. Now you just have to put the reference into your actual assignments. That is done like so:

  • In-text reference
    • Click references> insert citation > then just click on the reference you need!
  • Reference list
    • Click references> Manage sources > copy all the references you need into the ‘current list’ box
    • Now click references> bibliography> references. And now a reference list should magically appear where ever your cursor was

So these are just a couple of tricks I use to make life a little bit easier when referencing. If you know of any more then comment below and we will add it in. Hope this makes everyone’s life a little bit easier.

– Damon

General Guide to Writing & Study Skills

imageHelloooooo my lovely little kittens!

I’m here today to discuss with you a wonderful fun new resource we have available to help you with your writing and study skills. It is called (surprisingly) the General Guide to Writing and Study Skills! This handy little eBook/PDF is full of all sorts of hints and tips to make writing and studying that much easier.

This super handy guide contains things from adjusting to the university lifestyle, to writing different types of assessment, to avoiding plagiarism, to all manner of other exciting little tidbits to help you make it through university without being eaten by a crocodile*.

Even if you don’t feel as though you are struggling with any writing or study skills, I recommend checking out this book, as you may be surprised by what you can find. It is written in a way to try and make it as accessible to students as possible, so you don’t have to wade through *cough* stuffy *cough* academic language to try and find what you are looking for.

I feel like I am writing an advertisement here. I guess I kind of am, so maybe I should just commit to it. Let’s try that.

(read in big booming voice) Here for the first time ever, a study skills guide that is fun AND useful. Come on down and try out our General Guide to Writing and Study Skills, for the special price of $0! Yes, you heard me right folks, that is absolutely free for now and always!

Well…that felt weird. Maybe I should just stick to talking about it as I was. Basically, this is one handy piece of work. Let’s just stick with that. Have a look, check it out, and if you have any feedback or comments there is a form you can fill out to help this resource get even better. Yep. Better than it is now. That is going to be tough, given how good it already is, but we can try.

ANYWAY, the guide can be found here or by accessing the Federation University home page, and clicking students > learning and study > study skills and writing guides.

The feedback form can be accessed by following the same process, or simply by clicking here.

I hope you find this resource as useful and fun as it is intended to be, and that you enjoyed reading my (slightly insane) blog post.

– Tegan 🙂

 

*may or may not mention crocodiles at any point in this guide ever at all

Business Reports

Emma Foster - ASK Blog PicBusiness reports. Business Reports. Bussssssssssiness reports. Business business business business business reports.

Anyone jumping with excitement? Who’s asleep already? How about running away and quaking at the thought of having to compile one of these for themselves?

Writing your first business report can be quite a daunting task, particularly if you have no idea what needs to be included! They’re probably going to be a bit different from anything you’ve written before, and they’re also a little different to some other types of report out there. Let me try to shine a little light on the things you need to include to write a kick-arse business report!

Firstly, as with all assignments, you’re gonna need a cover sheet. This should include:

  • the title of the work you’re submitting,
  • your name and student number (and your group members, for a group report),
  • the course name and number,
  • your lecturer/tutors name, and tutorial time,
  • and the date submitted.

Next up for our business reports is an executive summary. Although this is pretty much the first thing people will read in your report, it’s going to be the last thing you write. An executive summary should be a brief overview of your entire report. Think of it as similar to the blurb of a mystery book — if the blurb told you exactly who did it, when, where and why! Someone should be able to read your executive summary and know exactly what your report is about: what you researched, what you found, recommendations you made and why you made them. It’s totally fine to dot point information in this section, as you want to try and keep it to one A4 page.

A table of contents is the next section, and should be on a separate page, as should the executive summary. This will make it easier to jump directly to any section, without having to pass ‘go’ to do so. Microsoft Word has a really hand table of contents feature, under the ‘references’ tab, that makes creating tables of content a breeze! The executive summary shouldn’t be included in your table of contents, but everything from the introduction (that’s next!) onwards should be. Everything onwards should also have a numbered heading, so that your table of contents will end up looking something like this:

TOC

Now is when the main text of your report, and the part that will take you the most time, comes into play. First you start with an introduction; this will tells readers what’s being studied and why, or gives a brief run-down of the case study if the report is centred on a case study. After the introduction, and on a different page to it, the body of the report will begin. This is where all the information you’ve researched (and referenced!) goes. Check your course description as some lecturers will tell you what headings they want you to include, while others leave it up to you. To finish off the main text, we have recommendations. Similar to a conclusion, this will recap the major findings of your report, and list all the recommendations you have, and why you’re making them.

Second to last we have everyone’s favourite, references! Make sure you’ve used the correct referencing style (for Business Reports, this is almost always APA, but make sure you check your course description for what your lecturer wants).

The last thing you need to include in your business report, is an appendix. This won’t appear in all of your reports, but if you’ve used supporting material that’s too long for the main body, or isn’t appropriate to use in the main body, this is where you’ll put it. For example, if you were completing a report for marketing and have referred to specific print ads, the appendix is where you would put the picture of the advertisement. Each appendix should be given a heading, such as ‘Appendix A’, ‘Appendix B’, etc. so that when you refer to them in the report, people will know exactly which appendix you’re talking about.

So there you have it. A brief rundown of your business report needs to be super awesome! If you want some more information, or need anything clarified (or just want to read more about business reports!) this document is a really handy guide!

Emma

3Rs Workshops

IMG_0938With the first week of uni coming to end, it’s time to brush up on important skills that students will need when the time comes for assignments. For many of us, this means writing reports or essays. This might seem daunting at first, especially if you’re a first year student and not familiar with the new expectations at uni, which include finding appropriate academic resources and referencing those resources.

Students looking to refresh their writing and research skills should look at the 3Rs (Researching, Referencing and wRiting) workshops. The 3Rs are a series of workshops that are normally run by your campus’ library in the first few weeks of a semester. They are currently being offered at the Mt Helen and Gippsland campuses. These workshops range from general library skills such as looking for journal articles to important writing skills, such as how to structure essays or reports. The 3Rs are an excellent resource to be taken advantage of early on in the semester. It’s arguably better to get on top of these skills now than waiting for the week before the assignment is due (I may be writing from experience).

If you aren’t able to attend the workshops, don’t fret, because there are a number of online resources that can be accessed via the 3Rs Moodle shell, which students are automatically enrolled in. However, attending the library workshops gives you the opportunity to ask questions in person, which is always a good thing.

Interested in getting involved? You can find a list of workshops and enrol at the Fed Uni library skills website (http://federation.edu.au/library/assignment-and-research-help/skillsworkshops/library-skills).

Luoxi.

Proof reading.

DanniSometimes you get to the end of an assignment, ffffinally, and you can’t wait to see the back of it. Let’s be honest, the last thing you want to do is go back over and proof read it. But we’ve all gotta remember that this is the easiest way to improve your marks. You’ve put in all the hard work already; you’re pretty much just ripping yourself off if you don’t proof it. Feel free to give yourself a rest from it for a while first though (if you have the luxury of time and your assignment isn’t due in an hour).

There will be typos and grammatical errors that are confusing to read and distort your sentences, that make it hard for your lecturer to work out what you’re trying to say – you don’t really want to work them too hard when they’re reading and marking your assignment. You want them to be happy and smiling and glad.

I had an assignment the other day that I just couldn’t get started. I forced myself to get some words on the page and basically began brainstorming my response, in sentence form. Bad sentences. But I had made a start and got on a roll. When I finally came to proof read it, it was ugly. It was U-G-L-Y.

So I frowned a little bit first, then I printed it out and plodded along scribbling on it (and cussing on it) and reading sentences aloud. I reckon printing my assignments out, scribbling on and editing them is a pretty effective way of proofing and improving my work, cos it essentially provides two proofing opportunities. First when I’m going to town scribbling on it and then again when I’m inputting my changes onto my word doc.

Reading your work out-aloud is really great for picking up grammatical errors, especially if you have a pal available to listen and give you some pointers 😉 For particularly difficult, fluffy, confusing sentences I speak aloud and pretend to explain to someone what I’m actually trying to say, what I meant by the sentence. This usually gives me some clues as to how I could structure my sentence to get my message across a bit more efficiently.

Another way to have your work read aloud is to use the program WYNN, that’s on all the Uni computers. This program is pretty nifty. It reads and highlights the text from documents you upload (or even webpages) so you can then listen and pick up any errors or areas for improvement. You can also type straight into this program and it will predict the next word of your sentence (sort of like Android predictive text on a mobile), this can be handy for reducing grammatical errors in expression, especially for international students.

Anyway, they’re the methods I used to proof read this particularly bad assignment I had written. I got through it and was pretty glad for it to be over once I’d finally finished. I definitely knew though that the work I submitted was MUCH better than if I had have neglected the proofing/editing process and felt much happier with the result. Smile.

So from me to you, do yourself a solid and proof read ya work.

P.S. I ended up getting 34/35 for this assignment… Wow, proof reading huh. What magic.

~Danielle

FOLLOW THE MARKING GUIDE!!!

SharelleComing fresh from high school to uni I’ve had to adapt to what university like to call ‘adult learning’. You don’t have your teacher there constantly reminding you of that upcoming assignment or online quiz, its up to you as ‘adults’ to read the course descriptor and figure it our for yourself.

Academic writing has a completely different meaning compared to what it did in high school. We have to think critically, comprehensively research our topic, and reference accordingly. However, the one thing many newbies forget, and even sometimes myself, is to READ THE MARKING GUIDE. When it comes to writing an essay cling to your marking guide and use it as your bible! Making sure you address each criteria, and have a look at what each criteria is worth.

Once you’ve written your essay and addressed all the areas on the study guide try marking your own assignment, and use it to reflect on any improvements that could be made to your work- this works for me anyways! I find it very helpful and often reflects the grade I end up getting 🙂

~Sharelle

 

Essay Structure

RyanYou know what’s fun? Essay structure.

Said no-one ever.

Essay structure is something that seems like it should be easy but isn’t. At all. It lulls you into a false sense of security with the fond high-school memories of TEEL and then smacks you around when your back is turned. There’s no one trick to nailing essay structure, but I’ll try and give you a basic breakdown. As in an explanation. I’m sure we’re all experiencing enough of the other kind of breakdown over the semester.

To start with, you need to make sure your essay holds a clear introduction, body and conclusion. The introduction and conclusion are typically one paragraph, while the body refers to the majority of the content. It’s worth stating that it will be really hard to write these if you don’t have a really clear idea of what you’re writing on, so make sure you understand the question and have a rough idea of your response.

The introduction, surprisingly, introduces the reader to the topic. It should start with a broad overview of the field and then narrow down until it explicitly states what the essay is dealing with. This should culminate in what we call a ‘thesis statement’. The thesis statement is a sentence or two that says exactly what you’re trying to do in this essay and it should be the last sentence of your introduction. The key with the introduction is to start broad and narrow down. But don’t go so broad that you lose all relevance. If your topic has to do with the development of the communist movement then you don’t have to go back to the Triassic period. After the introduction, your readers should know exactly what to expect from your essay. Nothing should surprise them. This is an academic paper not an M. Night Shyamalan movie.

The body paragraphs are the meat of your essay. This is where it all happens. Your readers have been introduced to what you’re going to do and now you’re going to do it. Each paragraph should be a topic of its own. Don’t try to deal with more than one major point at once. This is where planning comes in handy. Think about what the key points are that you want to address and devote a paragraph to each of them. Within the body paragraphs themselves, you want to start off by introducing your paragraph topic, then discussing the topic, then closing it off and leading into the next paragraph topic.

The conclusion is essentially the opposite of the introduction. Start narrow and broaden out. You typically want to start by restating your thesis statement and then look at the broader implications or the wider scope. You should not introduce any new information in the conclusion. This should be a summary of what has occurred and that is all.

A super easy way to think of the three sections is this:

     Introduction: Tell them what you’re going to do

     Body: Do it

     Conclusion: Tell them what you did

Hopefully that helps you folks somewhat. Remember, if you’re really struggling with essay structure you can contact the ASK service at ask.sal@federation.edu.au

Have fun and try not to stress!

Ryan