Remote Learning 101: The Learning Commons

Posted by Deea Deb on October 28, 2020

Academic Success

Hey Lions! Are you wondering where you can get help with assignments, developing time management skills, prepping for exams or creating your resume? The Learning Commons is your go-to place for all the above and more! This #YUBlog will take you through the key services offered by Learning Commons partner units to help you develop the many skills, tactics, and strategies required for success in university and beyond.

What is The Learning Commons?

The Learning Commons, is a collaboration between learning services (such as the Libraries’ research support, writing instruction, learning skills and careers services) offering support for students in the form of appointments, drop-in consultations, online modules and workshops. You can get help in areas such as writing, citation help, learning skills, time management, English language communication support, career skills, etc.

Note: The Learning Commons partnership also includes Learning Skills Services and the Career Centre, which we have covered in our previous posts:

So, we won’t be going into too much depth about them here. Make sure to check these posts out for more information about how their services have moved online during the pandemic.

Virtual Welcome Desk

If you are unsure of where to find help for your specific needs, the newly launched Virtual Welcome Desk is the place to start! This service is a convenient first check-in point with friendly and well-informed Learning Skills Services Peers. The Learning Skills Peers will help you directly or refer you to the Learning Commons resource or service best suited to your needs.

Success tip: The Virtual Welcome Desk is offered through instant chat located at the top right of the Learning Commons website. This chat platform features Zoom integration with a screen-sharing option and is available Monday to Friday from 1 to 3 p.m.

Libraries and Research Help

If you need help with finding the perfect research materials for your paper, check out the Ask a Question website. To provide you with more personalized assistance, this system uses Zoom integration for screen sharing and offers bilingual services. If you have complex questions and need in-depth assistance with research, you can book virtual consultations with subject and data librarians. A librarian will respond to your request within two business days to schedule a time for your Zoom meeting.

We also recommend that you check out the Libraries’ Research Guides, curated by subject librarians when you require specific databases and resources for your research papers.  These guides can save you time by getting you to excellent online scholarly resources quickly!

Success tip: If you do not have enough time to get someone to help you with research, the Learning Commons also offers an eLearning resource called the Student Paper & Academic Research Kit (SPARK) that is designed to help students produce successful written academic assignments.

Check out the #YUBlog’s Remote Learning 101: York’s Top Online Library Services for more information on the virtual services offered by the Libraries.

The Writing Centre

Want to enhance your ability to produce effective academic and professional writing? Take advantage of the Writing Centre. Their writing experts can help you structure your writing, develop a thesis statement, or learn strategies for revising and proofreading. They’re a one-stop shop for all your writing needs. Drop-in virtual appointments are best for times when you need quick help right away in a short session with a writing instructor. You can also book 50-minute one-to-one video chat appointments about any writing assignment at any stage. Make sure you enrol first by registering (first-time users) or logging in, and make sure to check out this handy FAQ with tips on one-to-one writing support.

The Multilingual Studio

The Writing Centre’s Multilingual Studio provides a supportive learning environment for multilingual students to learn to navigate academic writing conventions while using their multilingual experience as a source of valuable knowledge.

Success tip: In addition to individual writing instruction, the Writing Department offers a number of workshops on specific aspects of writing.  Don’t forget to check out their online workshops calendar to find the one best suited for you.

The ESL Open Learning Centre (OLC)

If you are learning English as a secondary language in the ESL program or are currently enrolled in an academic undergraduate or graduate degree program at York, the ESL Open Learning Centre has you covered. The ESL OLC provides English language support to enrolled students at all levels and from different disciplines as well as assistance with students’ academic assignments. The ESL OLC is offering virtual assistance to get help with assignments, presentation practice, drop-in sessions on an appointment basis and virtual cafes. Check out the ESL OLC Services page about drop-in and bookable appointment services and classes for individuals and groups with ESL tutors.

Success tip: When booking virtual consultations and appointments, make sure to select the option of “language facilitation” to get a booking with an OLC facilitator.

Learning Skills Services (LSS)

LSS has recently launched their Student Guide to Remote Learning to help you find resources and supports to successfully navigate being a remote learner. We did an in-depth breakdown of the guide in our previous post, “The New Student Guide to Remote Learning”. Don’t forget that you can earn your Passport to Success by attending eight or more different Learning Skills Workshops at any point during your time as a York student. You can also add the Passport to your Co-Curricular Record at York.

Career Centre Services

Visit My Career Plan for a series of activities to help you with your career exploration and job search. We provided an in-depth sneak peak of My Career Plan in a post earlier this month. You can also drop into the Virtual Career Lounge where the Career Peer Educators are available during posted hours Monday to Friday to answer any career-related questions.

Success tip: If you would like to meet with career experts on popular career topics offered daily, check out the Career Corner: Ask the Pros events calendar for details.

We definitely recommend that you visit the Learning Commons website and go through the suite of virtual services available to you. The website also offers a new set of Learning Commons FAQs to answer popular questions if you prefer quick support.

If you have further questions related to the Learning Commons, please reach out to Sophie Bury, Director of Learning Commons & Reference Services, York University Libraries.

To stay up to date on campus life and events, connect with York on social media. You can follow us on Facebook @YorkUStudents, Twitter @YorkUStudents, Instagram @studentlifeyu and with our weekly This Week @ York emails.

Deea Deb
Deea Deb

Deea Deb is a third-year English and Professional Writing major at York University. She loves reading, travelling, being organized, and writing. She hopes to help York students succeed at university.

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