Changes to academic support during COVID-19

PHOTO BY SARA SHEIKH / THE SPUTNIK PHOTOGRAPHY

 

Laurier’s remote services continue to introduce new changes and updates for students seeking academic support as the close to the semester quickly approaches. 

 

Academic support services have adapted to provide students with a steady helping hand while students navigate their semester online.

 

Over the past few months, the Laurier Library has worked hard to help students online as services continue to evolve and expand to give students access to useful resources during the pandemic. 

 

In March, when the world shifted into a remote environment, the Laurier library didn’t see a significant shift in operations. Gohar Ashoughian, University Librarian and Archivist, notes that the transition to the remote environment was smooth. 

 

“We switched to predominantly digital support for our resources and services,because we already do provide a lot of our resources in electronic format, like books and journals, it was a good switch for us,” said Ashoughian, “and not only that, we have also acquired a lot of additional electronic resources to support our students.” 

 

One new service is the recently-piloted program, ‘scan on demand.’ This service, currently only available to Laurier faculty and graduate students, allows users to request scans of journal articles or book chapters from the Waterloo Library collection through Omni. This service allows users to access segments of material that may have viewed otherwise in-person. 

 

However, for those seeking scans of entire books, the Accessible Content E-portal provides accessible forms of books that have been digitized and made available online for universities participating in the Accessible Content E-portal service.

 

Students seeking physical access to books can use the new service, ‘books to go.’ The service allows Laurier students, faculty, and staff to request an item from the library’s available print collections through Omni. 

 

Brantford students can then pick up the items that were requested from the Brantford Public Library Main Branch after receiving an email confirming the item is ready for pickup. Instructions regarding the scheduled pickup interval will be included in the email.

 

Although operations remain remote on the Brantford campus, the library continues to offer a unique series of events online. Michelle Goodridge, Liaison Librarian in Social Sciences and Humanities on the Brantford Campus, notes that the library has continued, and will continue, to offer online programming and events for students. 

 

“We’re offering workshops that people can sign up to do, as well as I run the game talk lecture series in partnership with the game design program,” said Goodridge, “on the first Thursday of the month, we have guest speakers come in, and you know, we’re still trying to make it feel like a regular activity as much as we can.” 

 

Outside of support and programming with the library, Learning Skills and Development on the Brantford campus also continues to operate remotely to support students seeking academic assistance. 

 

Students seeking one-on-one help with assignments or study skills can book an individual consultation and meet with a trained writing and study skills peer mentor over Microsoft Teams, while students looking to attend workshops can sign up for one online and attend the workshop using Zoom. 

 

Registration for both consultations and workshops are available through the Student Success Portal. 

 

“It’s been nice, in that we’ve been able to, as a service area, expand our repertoire and our tools for how we provide service so that we’ve been able to maintain that level of programming and support that students have really come to count on and benefit from at Brantford,” said Jenna Olender, manager at Learning Skills and Development.

 

Towards the end of the semester as students begin to prepare for final exams, Learning Skills and Development will also be running the annual event known as ‘keep calm and study on.’

 

 This year, the event will be expanded to be a multi-campus event in conjunction with Waterloo campus, allowing all Laurier students to join in on 10 days of programming revolving around strategies for wellness and strategies for test-taking.

More information about the library’s services can be found at the library’s website, while general information about learning skills and development can be found here.

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