Reading at University

Week 1 is over and university work is starting to kick in, this includes readings for each of your units.

Image of QUT Readings home page with the log in button on the right hand side of the top level menu highlighted in a yellow box with a yellow arrow pointing to it, saying click here.

The best place to access your readings is through your Blackboard Unit site. Under the Learning Resources tab you should be able to see QUT Readings. This will take you to the readings assigned for your unit and can include books, book chapters, journal articles, videos and lots more. You can access QUT Readings directly as well and search for a unit code as well as for past exam papers. Make sure when you are in QUT Readings that you click the log in button so that you can access all of the resources available. Visit QUT Library to find out more about how to find your readings and textbooks.

The first few weeks of university life can be overwhelming at times, especially with all of the readings you have to do before, after and during class. To assist you with doing your readings and to stop them from taking up all of your study time, QUT Library has put together a quick video to tell you about different strategies to use when reading such as skimming and scanning.

QUT Library has also put together a short workshop, Read it, Note it, Recall it, that you can access online anytime you like. This workshop gives you some more reading tips as well as some notetaking tips too! QUT has other online workshops available to assist with writing for university, researching for your assignments and referencing. You can access these online anytime you like.

If you have any questions about how to access your readings or need further assistance with reading strategies you can contact the library!

One Librarian One Reference – Wikipedia and Librarians

Whether or not you use it, Wikipedia is a wealth of knowledge and information on just about every aspect of the world we live in, from the composition of an atom to the synopsis of your favourite television program. Students are often warned about citing Wikipedia in an academic setting because entries are created and edited by you, the user, which means anyone could create an unreliable entry which could be mistaken as fact. Anyone familiar with the internet would consider it dangerous to trust a source of information created by a group of anonymous users however Wikipedia has garnered for itself a reputation for being the first point-of-call for many knowledge seekers.

In the age of fake news, how can I tell Wikipedia is accurate?

Take a look at this article for some tips on how to tell if the wiki page you are reading is a reliable source of information. One of the first things you should do is check the citations of the article which are the little blue numbers which appear above a sentence in Wikipedia. The number will lead you to the source of the information cited in the article. If the article is credible, the information will be from an academic journal or other reliable source. QUT Library’s Finding Information page has some helpful resources to help you evaluate online sources.

How are Librarians helping the cause?

This is where the hashtag #1lib1ref comes in – this is a worldwide initiative where librarians (and you!) come together to edit Wikipedia pages by searching for uncited statements and adding a citation using a reliable source. You can read more about it on the WikiMedia page.

Exam Preparation

“Study hard” by Bartosz Maciejewski (CC BY-SA 2.0)

The end of semester is here and we are well into examination period. We know that this time can be stressful and tricky, you may have multiple exams to study for or exams and assignments to complete at the same time, but with a few tips and tricks under your belt (as well as some planning) you’ll be set to ace your exams in no time.

Firstly, take a look at our exam preparation page. It is filled with useful information about how to tackle different exam types, as well as general study tips about time management.

You can also take a look at our exam preparation blog post from earlier this year to get some hints for what to do in the days leading to your exam. Also, don’t forget – Gardens Point Library has extended opening hours until 10pm Friday 18th November for all your late-night study needs.

If you’re feeling a little overwhelmed you can always contact QUT Counselling Services or read this tip-sheet about managing exam stress and anxiety.

QUT Library wishes you good luck! And if you need any help, don’t hesitate to ask.

All in this together: tips for using library spaces

students in library spaces KGExam period is right around the corner. By now, you need to be starting to think about your approach to exam preparation. Using library spaces and rooms might be part of your strategy – we think it’s a good one!

The library offers study spaces of different types – for study groups, for conversation and collaboration, for topping up your power supply or time to study on your own. Whatever your needs – on the floor, in a room, at a desk or on a couch, you’ll likely find your ideal study space. Rooms are available for bookings made in advance of your study sessions.

Exam stress is real and you don’t need any extra when you’re trying to concentrate on exam revision. When using spaces in the library, particularly the collaborative zones, it’s a good idea to exercise a little consideration for your peers. Many of you will have exams and so many of you will be in the same boat – all in this together.

We’ve come up with some top tips for being a considerate peer in library spaces during exam preparation and exam period:

  • Try not to listen to loud music. Instead, bring some earphones.
  • You may like to bring a meal or snacks into the library. Totally fine with us! But maybe don’t be the student who brings the smelly or over-powering food.
  • Don’t sit at a desk with a computer when you’re not using it. Another student might need it.
  • Don’t put laptop cords across walkways. This causes a trip hazard. Not cool.
  • Return library books on time. And this includes the course reserve items. Don’t be a scrooge!
  • Planning when and where you’re going to study? Luckily, Gardens Point Library will again be extending opening hours during the study and exam period. From the 28th October until 10pm on 18th November the library will be open from 7am – 2am Monday to Friday and 9am – 2am on the weekends. There are ample study times for you to choose from, yay!

For more top exam & study space tips, these other past blog posts have you covered.

Now go ace that exam prep and those exams!

Search tips: Wildcards, Truncation, and Boolean – What do they all mean?

You may be aware of the simple search strategy we librarians like to call Boolean. It’s a form of database logic which can help connect your keywords together when you search in a database.

The three basic Boolean operators are AND, OR, and NOT and you can use these to broaden or narrow your search.

For example:

Puppies AND kittens – results containing those two keywords

Puppies OR kittens – broadens results

(Puppies AND kittens) NOT dogs – narrows results

There are extra tools you can use to help refine your search strategy, these are called wildcards and truncation.

Truncation help by broadening your keyword search by attaching to the root of a word, this is usually done by adding an asterisk to the end of the root of a word.

For example:

Child* = children, children’s, child’s, childhood

Wildcards are useful when multiple spellings of a word can affect your search. Remember, the symbol of the wildcard may change depending on which database you use.

For example:

coloni?e = colonise, colonize

 Wom!n = woman, women

If you want to read further about this, take a look at one of our resources to help you Think Like a Computer and bring your research to the next level.

Welcome to semester 2!

Blink and it is semester 2 already! Welcome to all the newcomers and welcome back to all the old hands. Are you ready to get back into study? O-Week is over and done with, so it’s time to get back into the game.

A couple of things to get you up to speed for second semester:

  1. QUT Readings has replaced the CMD (course materials database)
  2. Assignments are to be submitted online now – Goodbye Assignment Minder!
  3. QUT is now smoke free

If you’re a new student make sure to come to the Library Helpdesk and grab a hard-copy of Cite Write and have a chat to the friendly librarians who are waiting to help with all your study needs and questions. Don’t forget you can also contact us online, we’re always here to help!

Mid year re-boot: preparing for Semester 2

Uni breaks are never long enough, right?

Semester 2 is just around the corner. Staying on top of your study load means being proactive and getting a plan in place ahead of time. Do the thinking now, before you’re too busy, and halfway into your first assessment piece.

Re-boot for next semester in 3 steps.

  1. Prepare your study space and materials.
  2. Start to make a plan and create a study schedule.
  3. Re-connect to get motivated.

Prepare your study space and materials

Your ‘to do’ list:

  • clear your study space – put old assignments and files away; archive them or transfer to an external hard drive, off your normal computer. Why not add a few fresh touches, like a photo, motivational quote or a plant?
  • top up your stationery supplies or update needed software
  • gather unit outlines for Semester 2 units and set up new files
  • make sure you’re enrolled in required units and registered for your classes
  • prepare a book list and acquire required textbooks

Start to make a plan and create a study schedule.

When you have registered for your classes, you’re starting to gain a sense of what your routine will look like during semester. This is a good time to be proactive and start to plan your approach to the semester. You can be more flexible for when the unexpected happens if you have a plan and study tasks scheduled regularly.

Start by blocking out time for your classes, plus any important dates and commitments you know about.

day-planner-828611_1280

 

For more planning tips, check out our blog post about setting up for study success.

Get motivated

Re-connect and catch up with friends and peers

Why not sign up to a study skills workshop? Or you may like to brush up on study skills using the online modules in Blackboard. Once logged into Blackboard, either go to the community site directly and click ‘Enrol’, or use ‘Community Finder’ and search with the name ‘Library Back to Study’. By enrolling in the community site, you will have ready access to these resources from your Blackboard home page.

Set some goals – What would you like to improve on this semester? What changes would you like to make to your assignment work or exam preparation? Effective goals are ‘SMART‘: Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, Timely.

Need help through the semester? Ask a Librarian – online, at the Library Helpdesk, or by email and phone.

We’re here to help.

Mid-Year Fiction and Film Fun!

What do you like to do when there are no exams to study for, no assignments to finish at the last minute (check out Assignment Calculator to help plan your study), or lectures to take notes through?

Some people like to take a holiday, others like to spend time with their friends and family, others like to binge on television shows, and others like to read. Guess what? The library can definitely help you with the last two!

Check out a list of some of our film and TV databases. I recommend Kanopy for streaming access to a great bunch of movies and documentaries like Pride and Prejudice or Gayby Baby.

If you’re more of an “old-school” DVD kind of person you can borrow from the extensive film and TV collection at Kelvin Grove Library – just look for the call-number range: 791.43 on level 4 – R Block.

Maybe reading is more your thing? If so, you should take advantage of our online subscription to Overdrive which is a collection of fiction and non-fiction audio-books and ebooks.

Whatever you decide to choose over mid-year break make sure to stay safe and relax!

Time for exam preparation!

study with laptopWe’re now approaching Week 11 of semester and if you haven’t yet started your exam preparation, here are some tips to get you cracking!

  • Gather information about your exams. Keep this information within reach such as in a calendar on your phone. What are the dates and times? Which campus and rooms? What are you allowed to bring into the exam room?
  • Block out time in your schedule for exam preparation to avoid last minute panics.
  • Gather and organise your study notes. Check your unit outlines, lecture topics and unit objectives for the main topics. Organise your notes into main topics and sub-topics. Summarise.
  • Go to last lectures for any exam hints!
  • Study actively – re-write main points in your own words; mind map key concepts; do revision questions from your textbook or go over tutorial exercises.
  • Turn off social media notifications during exam study time. You can check them in your breaks.

Need somewhere to study? Gardens Point library will have extended opening hours for Semester 1 exam period.

From 3 June 2016 to 24 June 2016 the library will be open:

  • Monday – Friday: 7am-2am
  • Saturday – Sunday: 9am-2am.

QUT students and staff will have extended access to all Gardens Point library study spaces and collections. Further information is on the library website.

How to take a break and not fall behind

The first few weeks of semester can be overwhelming. Assignment deadlines are coming up fast. Unit readings are piling up. While these things might be happening, taking a break, even for a couple of days, can make a positive difference to your productivity and outlook.

reading by the water

The mid-semester break is an opportune time to decompress and process what you’ve learned so far. By taking a step away from study, you can return with fresh eyes and motivation that will help you through the rest of the semester. A break doesn’t need to cause stress. A break that is planned well can help ensure you don’t fall behind.

Before the mid-semester break, ask yourself, ‘What do I absolutely need to get done this week?’

Prioritise what you need to have completed before the mid-semester break. Is it an assignment? Some research? An assessed activity or quiz? There might be small, niggly things that you could complete in little time. If there are big things, break them up into bite-sized chunks. This will help you focus and work through them.

List 3-5 next steps for yourself for each unit.

Save time reviewing your progress and figuring out where you left off. Do the thinking before you take a break. What are the very next steps you need to take to progress an assignment, revision, tutorial activity, etc? Keep these steps small so you can pick up momentum more easily.

This is what I mean…’research for accounting assignment’ can seem big and daunting. Instead, try breaking it down, like this…

  • Review my assignment task and identify key requirements.
  • Review my reading notes and mind map key concepts and ideas.
  • Identify the resources I need to search. Formulate a plan.

By being more specific about what you need to do next, you can know exactly what you need to get on with when you return from your 303study break.

Catching up on readings? Be strategic about it!

Readings overload? You will rarely need to read every single word. Before you start to read, understand the purpose of why you’re reading something. This will determine the strategy you take.
Are you looking to deepen your understanding? Looking for clarification? Answer a specific question?

For more about how to read more strategically, check out the study skills workshop ‘Read it, note it, recall it’ available on Blackboard. Once logged into Blackboard, either go to the community site directly and click ‘Enrol’, or use ‘Community Finder’ and search with the name ‘Library Back to Study’. You’ll find the workshop materials under ‘Resources’.

It’s okay to take a break! Here are some ideas…

Take a picnic blanket and a book (or your unit readings) and head outside. One of my favourite spots is by the water at Sandgate, easily reached by the Shorncliffe train line. Fish n chips, anyone?

Go explore a part of Brisbane you’ve never been before.

Chill out in the Games Lab at the Kelvin Grove Library. Consoles and controllers can be borrowed from the Library Helpdesk on Level 2.

Did you know there are free fitness classes at Southbank? Why not take a friend?

Have a fabulous break!

What do you do to take time out from study?