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Liberty Insider

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Six Ways to Organize Research Material

by Randy L. Miller
Jerry Falwell Library graduate research & instruction librarian

  1. Plan ahead. Good research takes time. At the start of each sub-term, review your assignments to see which ones require research. Use Outlook (part of the Office 365 Suite) to schedule your work before it is due and set reminders for yourself. Be sure to allow plenty of time to search, sift through the results, analyze the sources you discover, and complete your project.

  2. Learn research skills. Dedicate uninterrupted time to exploring library resources and develop research skills to more quickly find quality search results. As you review abstracts of articles, you will learn to recognize and use common scholarly terms in your searches. Library Research Tutorials andResearch Smart webinars are also available to help you learn some of these strategies. These tutorials and webinars teach you tips and tricks such as connecting Google Scholar to our library subscription databases. Go to “Settings” on the main page, choose “Library Links,” check all of the boxes for Liberty University, and click “Save.” You will then see “Get it @ LU” to retrieve articles from our databases in the search results. Additionally, Blackboard now has a “JFL Library” tab where you can find a series of short videos introducing topics such as beginning your research, searching by subject, choosing search terms, saving and organizing your work, and properly citing sources.  

  3. Follow assignment requirements. Review the grading rubric and assignment instructions before you begin. Our research guides give you access to subject-specific library databases, which are a better source for finding articles than using a search engine. You can also specify peer-reviewed articles, set a date range, and use advanced search techniques. With the InterLibrary Loan there is no need to pay for journal articles. If the Jerry Falwell Library doesn’t already have it, the librarians can likely find it for you.   

  4. Learn to skim search results. It is not necessary to read every article in a search results list. Learn to skim abstracts and look for bolded search terms that match your research needs. Only read articles that seem applicable to your topic.

  5. Save your work. To keep your worksave a PDF of the article, making sure to save the citation. You should also visit the organizing research Web page to learn how to create EBSCO, Summon, and ProQuest folders to save your work. Bookmarking the page will not work because of authentication processes required for accessing the subscription databases. 

  6. Ask for help. You can reach a librarian at the Jerry Falwell Library by chat, email, phone, or in person. Don’t hesitate to contact them. Research smarter — not harder!

Postedby Rebecca Eller at 11:12 AM | Permalink

Monday, November 9, 2015

Honor to Whom Honor is Due

by Maj. Gen. Robert F. Dees, U.S. Army, Ret.
Associate vice president for Military Outreach

As we near Veterans Day 2015, it is only fitting that we give honor to whom honor is due — our nation’s veterans, active duty service members, and their families. Consider where we would be without our military. What if they had not crossed the deadly beaches of Normandy or raised the American flag at Iwo Jima? 

Thankfully, we don’t have to know. Throughout our nation’s history, members of the U.S. Armed Forces have displayed a fierce loyalty, defending America and protecting human rights around the world. Their selfless and courageous service under the toughest conditions has allowed America to remain the land of the free and the home of the brave.

In John 15:13, Jesus said, “Greater love has no one than this, that one lay down his life for his friends.” Our nation’s veterans have pledged their lives in defense of our nation, and many of them have paid the ultimate sacrifice. Veterans Day is a time when we humbly honor these men and women.

As our nation’s veterans enter the twilight of their lives, many tend to lose a sense of purpose. Join us in encouraging these veterans. Remind them that they are a symbol of our nation's strength and security. Tell them that they inspire future generations.

Join us for the Institute for Military Resilience webinar entitled Honor to Whom Honor Is Due, Nov. 12 at 8 p.m. EST. This session is devoted to honoring service members, veterans, and their families through the sharing of testimonials and stories.

Postedby Rebecca Eller at 12:16 PM | Permalink

Wednesday, November 4, 2015

First Impressions: How to Write a Great Email to Your Professor

by Tess Stockslager
Director, Center for Writing and Languages

Your professors are the most important resource you have as you work through your courses. To ensure that your emails to them are effective, we have compiled feedback from Liberty University online professors regarding the best way to optimize your communication.

  1. Search for information on Blackboard before contacting your professor. Although professors are always happy to help their students, they often get emails asking questions that could be answered by looking at the course syllabus or elsewhere on Blackboard. 
  1. Spell his or her name correctly. You can find this information on Blackboard. 
  2. Be concise. It’s fine to open with a warm greeting, but it isn’t the right time to tell your life story. You also don’t need to apologize for contacting them. They want to help you!
  3. Ask clear, specific questions. Getting the best answer from your professor depends on your ability to clearly pose your question. Mention details like which class you are in, the assignment you’re asking about, and what kind of problem you’re having. 
  4. Include an opening and closing. An email is less formal than a written letter, but it should still maintain some of the formatting elements of one. Greet your professor, present your questions, and end your email with a closing.

Remember, email communication is a key component of online education. Present yourself and your questions well, and your professors will be eager to help you.

Postedby Rebecca Eller at 8:06 AM | Permalink

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Six Ways Successful Students Approach School

by Amy Hassenpflug
Department Chair/Assistant Professor, College of General Studies

College success is built on a series of good choices, and below are six areas that you should be giving special attention.  

First, set your priorities. You must prioritize your schoolwork if you expect to be successful. College courses can be among the most fulfilling (yet challenging) ways to spend your time. As an online student, you already have a full life outside of school; however, making schoolwork a priority is essential for your success.

Second, manage your time. Plan adequate time for homework and studying. You should also review each course’s syllabus early on in the sub-term to determine how much time you will need to set aside. Choose specific times and locations to complete assignments, splitting studying up throughout the week rather than trying to cram it all in on the weekends.

Avoid procrastination. Even if you have a good time management plan, procrastination can quickly derail your success. Unexpected things do come up, but for the most part, you should be following your plan. Completing work under a time crunch is stressful, so stick to the schedule. Once your work is finished, make sure to reward yourself! You will be more productive if you have something to look forward to.   

Recognize that your professors want to help you. Your success is their success, so if you’re stuck on something, ask for help! Ask questions through email or make an appointment to talk on the phone. Get help immediately if you discover you don’t understand something. Rest assured that asking for help is not a sign of weakness but rather shows your determination to do well.

Engage with what you are learning. After you finish reading or studying, reflect on it. How does what you are learning now contribute to your goals? Is there a way to enhance your learning through volunteer work? Practical experience in your field helps build your portfolio for future employment.

Learn from your mistakes. College education is not only composed of successes. Opportunities to learn and grow can also be gained from failures. If you don’t get the grade that you expected, learn from it so you can do better next time.

Although there is no magic key to success as an online college student, following these six tips should help move you in the right direction.

Postedby Rebecca Eller at 9:06 AM | Permalink

Monday, October 26, 2015

How to Extinguish Your Burnout

by Linda Mintle, Ph.D.

Chair, Behavioral Health, Liberty University College of Osteopathic Medicine

As an online student, you are balancing many responsibilities, including work, family, and school. Keeping up with everything can easily leave you feeling burnt out. Burnout involves three stages: stress arousal, energy conservation, and exhaustion. These three stages can cause a variety of symptoms, including trouble sleeping, headaches, anxiety, fatigue, social isolation, and even depression. By overloading your schedule, you are not leaving enough time for your mind and body to recharge. However, there are things that you can do to avoid these issues. Below are seven ways to combat your burnout.

Combating Your Burnout:

  • Take care of your body. Get sleep, maintain a healthy diet, and exercise. Taking care of your body is one of the best antidotes for stress.
  • Maintain a sense of optimism. When you think negatively, it affects your emotional and spiritual disposition — so stay positive. You can do all things through Christ who strengthens you (Philippians 4:13). God is on your side, and that is enough to overcome any circumstance. 
  • Invest time in your relationships and support systems. You need to connect with God and the people in your life. Deepening your relationships takes time and effort, but the result is well worth the investment.   
  • Say no and set boundaries. Overextending yourself is depleting. Sometimes you will need to pass on activities or extra projects.  
  • Make time to relax. Even God rested after He created the world, so take time to enjoy your hobbies.
  • Go to church. A worship service or Bible study can do wonders for recharging your spiritual battery.  
  • Don’t be afraid to ask for help. If you are struggling with stress management and burnout, Liberty has academic advisors, campus pastors, student success coaches, and many more individuals who are ready to help!
Postedby Rebecca Eller at 11:33 AM | Permalink

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