The Mesquite Online News - Texas A&M University-San Antonio

Column: Tips to help you through the home stretch

University Librarian Stefanie Wittenbach

Crunch time has hit! Procrastination has caught up with you! It’s that time of the semester to get serious about completing projects and papers.

Here are a few tools compiled by the university library that can help you get through your finals and finish the semester successfully:

Time Management and Organization

• Manage your time and organize your work.

• Break larger assignments into component parts and work on manageable chunks. Writing an outline for a paper can make it more organized and manageable. The project will be easier to complete that way.

• Worry less about filling the paper to the required number of pages and more about the quality of the thesis and content.

• Ask your professors for guidance if you are struggling with an assignment. If there is a research component to the paper or project, ask library staff for assistance.

Group Projects

If you have a group project, finding the time to get together can be a challenge.

Do your part and deliver your portion of the assignment to the other members of the group as early as you can so that everyone can be successful on the assignment.

Remember that the library has study rooms available for students use. One room can be reserved in advance by calling or stopping by the library information desk. The rest are available first-come, first-served.

Two rooms are available for individuals to use for one hour at a time. Groups of two or more can use rooms for three hours at a time.

Student Resources

Smarthinking and Turnitin are two tools that can really help with papers and presentations. Both are available through Blackboard.

Smarthinking can be accessed on the left tool bar in Blackboard. Students can submit papers to Smarthinking and get feedback on everything from grammar and mechanics, such as sentence and paragraph structure, to thesis development and content.

Turnitin is selected by professors and papers are automatically sent to Turnitin for review through Blackboard. Turnitin is a plagiarism detection service that provides students and professors with feedback on student writing that may be plagiarized from other sources.

Both tools provide written feedback on the student’s paper.

Extended Hours for the University Library

The library will have extended hours from Dec. 3 through Dec. 14. The library will be open until 10 p.m. Monday through Thursday and until 8 p.m. on Friday.

Coffee will be available during finals week.

During intersession from Dec. 18 through Jan. 15, the library will only be open 9 a.m.-6 p.m. Monday through Friday. The library will be closed on Saturdays and Sundays during intersession.

For the holidays, the library will be closed Dec. 24 through Jan. 1, 2013.

Good luck on completing your projects for this semester. For those of you graduating this semester, congratulations and best wishes.

Happy holidays, everyone!

Stefanie Wittenbach, University Librarian

About the author: Stefanie Wittenbach is the recipient of the 2010 I Love My Librarian Award. The award encourages library users to recognize the accomplishments of exceptional public, school, college, community college, or university librarians. To learn more about Wittenbach’s accomplishments at A&M-San Antonio, read the 2010 nomination letter written by Dr. Bill Bush, department chair and interim head of the School of Arts & Sciences.

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