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The Student Learning Commons blog is your online writing and learning community

Different ways of approaching the academic essay

Published by Hermine Chan

Many students don’t find the academic English essay structure natural — it can seem repetitive, direct, and rigid. It’s important to recognize that the English essay structure is just one mode of thinking!   

Celebrate your academic integrity this week

Published by Julia Lane

SFU's Academic Integrity week is September 28 - October 2, 2020.

We know that this year is unlike any we've had before. You are learning from your own home, in front of a computer. In this context, academic integrity can be even more challenging than usual. It is also even more important. 

Participate in academic integrity week to learn more about how to complete your work with integrity, and to celebrate the ways you already approach your learning and your work with honesty and integrity. 

Writing a Professional Email: 101

Published by Julia Lane

Former SLC English as Additional Language Peer Bessie W. returns with tips and tricks for writing a professional email. Just in time to help you reach out to your professor or TA to get clarification on those first assignments... 

Insights from a summer of remote learning

Published by Julia Lane

Former Writing and Learning Peer Grace L. reflects on her experiences with remote learning in the summer 2020 semester. She offers tips to help you set and maintain boundaries to support both your academic success and your health and well-being. 

We wish you the very best for this new kind of learning adventure and hope that these insights from the summer semester can help you get set up for success! 

Join the Conversation Partners Program

Published by Julia Lane

Former SLC English as Additional Language Peer, Trina Lal, shares reflections on the benefits of participating in the Conversation Partners program. The program continues online during SFU's remote instruction. Sign up to participate here

Flowery Language: Does it really make your writing more beautiful?

Published by Julia Lane

Former Writing and Learning Peer Deeya B. returns with another post to help you do well in your writing courses this semester. 

In this post, Deeya debunks myths about "flowery language' and the value of such language in academic writing. 

As Deeya explains, flowery language occurs when elaborate words are substituted for simple ones and longer sentences are used to try to convey multiple ideas. However, flowery language often backfires and makes students sound less confident in their understanding of a subject.

In this post, Deeya will explain more about what flowery language is, why students choose to use it, and why it often has the reverse of the intended outcome. 

How to get your writing done this semester...

Published by Julia Lane

Imagine this: you’re typing away ferociously with the little time left for you to hand in your term paper. It’s due tonight, and although you had three weeks to write it, there were other more important assignments on your plate. It’s not that you didn’t know you had to write this paper too, but you were pretty confident you knew what you wanted to say and could put all of your ideas into words in one afternoon. It is now the afternoon of your paper’s due date. You’re scrambling, fumbling over the keyboard, ideas circling in your head but all of them sounding like a thought vomit on paper. You’re tired, overwhelmed and unable to comprehend your own words. You rush to the SLC for a drop-in session, praying that your peer educator can work a miracle and save your grade...

In this post, Writing and Learning Peer Deeya B. shares pro tips to help you get your writing done this semester and get the most out of the Student Learning Commons. 

It isn't a miracle, a magic spell, or a silver bullet, but if you follow these steps, you may find that your writing process this semester is that much easier (or, at the very least, slightly less painful). 

Grammar Camp: Common expression errors Part 3: Apostrophe angst

Published by Julia Lane

Does this word need an "s"? An apostrophe? An apostrophe "s"? 

If you often find yourself asking such questions, you've come to the right place.

And what better time to get those answer than when you are stuck inside between (the strangest) spring term and the forthcoming (entirely remote) summer term? 

Here to finally complete the promised three part series on common expression errors, it is Apostrophe Angst! 

If you want to review the previous two posts, you can read them here: 

Part 1: Subject-verb agreement 

Part 2: Pronoun Perplexities 

Enjoy! 

Be safe. Be well. Use grammar. 

A trauma-informed approach to difficult course material: Part 2

Published by Julia Lane

SLC EAL Peer Ashley K. returns with more information about using a trauma-informed approach to learning. She shares more information about a trauma-informed workshop co-facilitated by Jennifer-Lee Koble and Jennifer Dehoney. She also offers 8 important self-care tips. 

To read the interview she conducted with Dr. Elise Chenier, click here

If you are in need of support, please reach out. A particularly good resource for immediate support is My SSP. 

Maintaining social cohesion in a time of social distancing

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Published by Julia Lane

Graduate Writing Facilitator Kate Elliott and Writing Services Coordinator Julia Lane provide you with some information about how the Student Learning Commons has responded to the COVID-19 outbreak and the subsequent closure of our in-person services. 

In this blog post, you will get information about how you can continue to get support through the SLC, remotely. 

We hope everyone is keeping well - physically, emotionally, and mentally - during this time of increased stress and isolation. 

If you have questions, please reach out to us at learning-commons@sfu.ca 

(content reposted from the Canadian Writing Centre Association Blog