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

Revising for grammar: Articles ("the" and "a")

Published by Julia Lane

Former Writing and Learning Peer Deeya B. is back with an ongoing, occasional series about revising your work, with a specific focus on grammar. This series is part of the larger blog feature "Grammar Camp." 

In this post, Deeya focuses on the use of articles ("the" and "a(n)") and how to self-edit your writing with an eye to your article use. 

Facing White Privilege

Drawing of Eagle
Published by Julia Lane

In this blog post, SLC EAL Coordinator Dr. Timothy Mossman shares some writing that he did during his doctoral studies in a class (EDUC 925 - Critical Literacies in Multilingual Contexts) led by Dr. Dolores van der Wey. 

The SFU Library recently issued the following statement about anti-Black racism and white supremacy: https://www.lib.sfu.ca/help/academic-integrity/solidarity-black-lives-matter 

We in the Student Learning Commons recognize that race-based violence is not new, nor simply an issue for us to pay attention to during "flashpoint moments" like the one we are currently experiencing. With this post, Tim shares part of his journey learning to see his own privilege. 

We share this post as encouragement for others as we take on this troubling, difficult, and necessary work. 

Trigger warning: this post includes references to residential school trauma and to homelessness. 

Tips for Navigating Online School in 2020

Published by Julia Lane

Writing and Learning Peer Molly M. shares 9 practical tips to help you navigate remote learning in the summer 2020 term. 

If you have tips of your own to share, get in touch with us at slc-incommon-blog@sfu.ca 

Come OUT! and Write with us…

Published by Julia Lane

SLC Graduate Writing Facilitator Kate E. invites folks to join her for the Write OUT program -- a joint initiative of the Student Learning Commons and Out On Campus. 

Summer WriteOUT! sessions will include tips and tricks for:

  • Time Management (June 8th)
  • Writing Logically and Cohesively (June 15th)
  • Offering and Receiving Feedback (June 22nd)
  • Writing for Different Audiences (June 29th)
  • Making your Writing Interesting (July 6th)
  • Writing in English as an Additional Language (July 13th)
  • Respecting Writing in Different Disciplines (July 20th)
  • Descriptive and Creative Writing (July 26th)

All sessions are 11-1pm on Mondays. 

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. 

Reading Guide

Published by Julia Lane

Get your summer semester off on the right foot by learning how to read smarter, not harder (or longer)!

Graduate Writing Facilitator Jennesia Pedri has generously shared with us a Reading Guide that she created to support her own reading during her comprehensive exams for her doctoral studies in the School of Communications. As Jennesia explains, the guide aims to help you read more efficiently and effectively. It also aims to make itself obsolete: eventually you won’t need it because you’ll begin to automatically ask yourself these kinds of questions as you read.

Join the Student Learning Commons Team!

Published by Julia Lane

The Student Learning Commons is scouting out new talent for our Writing and Learning Peer and English as Additional Language Peer programs. 

Both positions will allow you to develop transferable skills in the areas of client service, interpersonal skills, giving effective feedback, and cross-cultural communication, and will give you access to a professional reference as well as a private study/social space in the library.

We hope you will join our team! Apply now through http://myinvolvement.sfu.ca