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Liberty Insider

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Top Three Library Resources You Probably Aren’t Using, but Should Be!

by Alexandra R. Andrews 

The Jerry Falwell Library (JFL) website offers many resources, and you may be missing out on some of the most helpful ones! Below are the three essential library resources that every online student should be using.

  • The InterLibrary Loan is a hidden gem that can alleviate frustration when hunting for specific books. If the JFL doesn’t have the items that you’re looking for in digital format, you can request physical copies be mailed to you. Currently, the JFL is testing a program that offers expedited shipping.

    The JFL also offers free access to online articles through its many databases. If the article that you need isn’t available, use the InterLibrary Loan to request it, and the JFL will locate and upload a copy of the article. Most articles are made available within 72 hours.

    Get started today by creating an account.
  • Research Smart Workshops offer free training on a variety of topics, so whether you are a research pro or a beginner, you can learn new tips and tricks to research more efficiently. View information on upcoming webinars and register by visiting the JFL Web page. You can also watch archived sessions. Don’t see the topic you need? Suggest future workshops by emailing
  • The Research & Instruction Department provides you with research assistance  through email,live chat, or phone. Every member of the JFL staff is committed to helping you, so contact one of them today! If you’re on campus, stop by the Customer Service Center — appointments are available. 
Postedby Rebecca Eller at 11:05 AM | Permalink

Monday, September 14, 2015

Watch Out - Your Digital Habits May Be Affecting You More Than You Think!

by Dr. Sylvia Frejd
Executive Director, Center for Digital Wellness

In today’s world, people spend much of their time on computers, cell phones, and other electronic devices. While these devices certainly have valuable uses, especially for online students, it’s important to not let technology distract from what really matters in life: our relationships with God, family, and friends, as well as experiencing the world that God created.

Liberty University’s Center for Digital Wellness, the first of its kind in the nation, surveyed Liberty University students by asking what they miss out on by spending too much time on their devices. Most students responded that they missed opportunities to meet a need or make a new friend. Others replied that they missed out on connecting with people on a deeper level and also failed to live in the moment.

On Aug. 24, Liberty Landing started the #LookUp competition. It supports the Look Up campaign initiated by the Center for Digital Wellness last September.

We encourage you to participate in the #LookUp competition by:

  • Engaging in conversation with the person sitting across from you
  • Looking into the eyes of a cashier and offering a smile or a few words of encouragement
  • Appreciating the beauty of God’s creation
  • Meeting a need of someone around you
  • Staying safe in the car by not texting while driving
  • Taking breaks from your devices throughout the day

Are you living in the moment, connecting with people and meeting the needs of those around you — or are you always checking the countless text, email, and Tweet notifications that you receive? Strive to live in and experience the world around you. Don’t be trapped in your digital screen — all you have to do is #LookUp!

Postedby Rebecca Eller at 9:15 AM | Permalink

Wednesday, September 9, 2015

5 Discussion Board Mistakes You Won’t Want to Make

by Tess Stockslager
Director, Center for Writing and Languages

Discussion board posts are some of the first assignments you’ll encounter in your online education. It can be a great forum for getting to know classmates, analyzing your beliefs, and considering new ideas.

Here are five things to avoid as you communicate through discussion boards:

  1. Not considering your audience. Remember, your entire class may read what you write. Please use discretion when you’re posting — don't use racist, sexist, or otherwise offensive language. Address others as you would want to be spoken to and don’t provoke arguments. Try to consider ideas from your classmates’ perspectives. Also, remember that although Liberty is a Christian university, it's possible that not everyone in your classes are Christians, and you need to do your best to show Christ’s love through your words. It’s all right to disagree with someone’s ideas, provided you do so respectfully.

  2. Not proofreading your work before pressing submit. If you don’t proofread, errors can distract from your message or make it unclear. Maintain college-level writing — avoid texting language.

  3. Not protecting your and others’ privacy. Since many people will be reading what you post, don’t share certain personal information, such as your Liberty password or home address, on discussion boards. Also, keep the information you learn about your classmates confidential. Don't allow others to view a discussion board post without permission from the writer.

  4. Not reading the writing prompt carefully. By not following the instructions, you can frustrate your classmates who are responding to your post, and may lose points on your assignment. Address all the points that your professor outlines and pay special attention to the details of the assignment, including responding to the required number of posts by your classmates.

  5. Not being yourself. Avoid misrepresenting yourself in your posts, which is a form of academic dishonesty. While you write in an academic tone, allow your personality to come through. When the context is appropriate, don’t be hesitant to write about how your interests, beliefs, and life experiences relate to the topic at hand. Ask questions you really want to know the answers to. Hopefully, your classmates will respond with equally interesting posts!

If you avoid the five mistakes detailed above, you will help create an engaging and edifying discussion board with your classmates.

Postedby Rebecca Eller at 1:44 PM | Permalink

Friday, August 21, 2015

5 Ways to Start the Semester off Right

Tamela Crickenberger
Executive Director, LUO Enrollment

You are looking forward to learning something new and have the desire to do well, but the uncertainty of what you will face once you are in the course has you a little concerned.  Does this sound like you?  If so, I have a few strategies that should help you get moving in the right direction.

  1. Thoroughly read your welcome announcement(s), course syllabus and course schedule.  One of the most important announcements your professor will post is the welcome announcement.  In the announcement, your professor will outline what you should do first and his/her expectations.  Professors have different preferences.  It is important to understand how your professor wants things done as these preferences will vary from course-to-course.  By understanding professor preferences, this will help increase your ability to be successful.
    The syllabus is the blueprint for your course.  It tells you what the course is about, what you will learn and the materials you will use, and what assignments need to be completed.  The course schedule outlines what assignments are due when so that you can complete the next step, preparing a schedule.
  2. Prepare a schedule.  Using a monthly calendar, write down any events that you know are happening over the next 8 weeks.  Do you have any birthdays, going out of town, babysitting your sister’s children?  Make sure you document events that will be taking your time, including your usual daily activities such as work, family and church commitments.  Once you document your commitments, identify open time slots to complete your coursework. It is important to note when “big” assignments are due, such as papers.  Make sure you incorporate plenty of time in your schedule for research, writing, and editing the assignment.
    If you would like additional help with creating a schedule, check out this video. 
  3. Complete your reading assignments first.  The best way to stay ahead is to complete your reading assignments first so that you are able to complete the assignment with understanding. When I was in school, I would take my books everywhere with me so if I have a few stolen moments, such as in the waiting room at the doctor’s office, I could get ahead on the reading.  
    If you have ordered your textbooks and they have not arrived as of the first day of classes, communicate with your professor as soon as possible to make arrangements.
  4. Determine what professional writing style is required for your course.  Writing style will vary based upon the course you are completing.  Your course syllabus and assignment instructions will outline which writing style is required—APA, MLA, Turabian, or another.  Understanding how to properly format writing assignments in the correct writing style can significantly affect your assignment outcomes.
    The Jerry Falwell Library offers a series of webinars each sub-term and free access to EndNote, a citation tool, which will help you format your papers.  Additionally, there are writing style resources on the Online Writing Center web page.
  5. Have a talk with your family.  It is important that the time you set aside for study and assignment completion is as distraction-free as possible.  When I was completing my last degree, I gave my family my study schedule. I asked them to support me by allowing me to have that time without interruption.  If my daughter walked into my study space and she wasn’t bleeding or otherwise incapacitated, I would give her “the eye” and she would leave.  Many things will vie for your time, even good things, but to be successful you really do have to be disciplined when it comes to protecting your study time.

I hope these 5 tips will help you start your semester off well!  Share your course success strategies with your fellow students by posting to Liberty Landing and including #LUOstudyskills in your post.

Postedby Rebecca Eller at 9:24 AM | Permalink

Friday, August 7, 2015

Why Are There So Many Citation Styles?

by Tess Stockslager

Director, Center for Writing and Languages

Although I think we can all agree that APA, Turabian, and MLA can be tricky to learn, there are logical reasons why all papers aren’t documented and formatted the same way.  This post will give you a brief introduction to the differences among the three major citation styles used at Liberty.

APA (American Psychological Association)

  • Used in psychology and counseling, as well as other social science-related fields such as education, nursing, business, sport management, and (sometimes) communications.
  • Because these fields value up-to-date sources, APA citations prominently feature the publication year.  Sources in these fields tend to have many authors, which is one reason why you’ll never use an author’s first name in APA—using just the initials saves space. Another reason is to avoid gender bias, a big deal in social science.
  • Finally, papers in these disciplines tend to follow a predictable organization pattern—literature review, methodology, results, etc.—which explains APA’s strict format for section headings.

Turabian style

  • An adaptation of Chicago style, which is used in many books.  Turabian is used primarily in religion and history courses, and its distinctive feature is footnotes. 
  • Appealing to a recognized authority is crucial in these fields, and footnotes allow the reader of a paper to glance down to the bottom of a page and see that authority cited.
  • Using up-to-date sources is less important in these fields than it is in APA, so when citing, the date is given less prominence.  On the other hand, you are more likely to quote in a Turabian paper than you are in an APA paper, so the page number where material is found is prioritized—in fact, a page number is included in every footnote.

MLA (Modern Language Association) style

  • Generally used only in English, foreign language, and some communications courses.  Nevertheless, many students are familiar with MLA because they learned it in high school or introductory college writing courses.
  • One reason MLA is so often taught is that it’s a simple, no-frills documentation style—no extra pages (e.g., table of contents, title page).
  • MLA has one major aspect in common with APA: it uses parenthetical citations instead of footnotes.  But when it comes to listing the references, MLA has more in common with Turabian.
  • Once again, the year isn’t that important; for example, in a literary analysis paper, all your sources might be over 100 years old.  Quoting, on the other hand, is extremely common in English papers (have you ever tried to put a poem in your own words?), so it’s crucial to include the page number in all parenthetical citations.

Chances are, you’ll use only one of these styles in your major, but you may be required to use others in your general education classes.  It’s good to have a basic familiarity with all of them.  For more in-depth information on citing sources, visit the Center for Writing and Languages resource page.

Postedby Rebecca Eller at 9:11 AM | Permalink

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