Being Non-Traditional at UMichigan





Here’s a great article from NPR about the difficulties that non-traditional students face when they enter into the high-stakes environment of a prestigious university. Interesting food for thought: often, non-traditional students face alienation from their own communities as well as the university community at-large.

Posted in Uncategorized

WTF Professor!





After graduating cum laude from a top engineering program, Tom Miller has accumulated a treasure chest worth of study hacks. In his wittily written blog, WTF Professor, Miller explains the how- to of various learning methods and study hacks such as the “reverse learning technique” and “active-recall method.”

Miller’s studying advice is extremely helpful for students in any field, but the WTF Professor blog also includes more targeted study hacks for students in the sciences, especially those learning Physics who may benefit from Miller’s “Hacking Physics” problem-solving guide.

With just one visit to the WTF Professor website, you can sign up for Miller’s newsletter so that these weekly advice posts and study hacks are sent straight your inbox!

Posted in Uncategorized

Need Tutoring Help?

Using the FinishAgent system can be very useful in keeping yourself on track, as well as keeping an eye on the progress you’re making on your projects. But what if you need a bit more help? InstaEDU is a useful online service that matches you with a tutor. The tutoring takes place online, and features a complete suite of tools to help teach any subject, including audio and video chat.  They charge by the hour for the service, but you can check it out for free.
Posted in Uncategorized

Class Difference in Universities?






Ever wonder whether there’s a difference between an elite university and your local community college or branch of the flagship state school? Read here to find out. Professor Sherry Linkon has taught at both Youngstown State and Georgetown University and is one of the inventors of the field of Working Class Studies.

Does what she has to say make sense to you?


Posted in Uncategorized

Grammar Troubles?


Whatever we’re studying, almost all of us can all use a little help with English grammar. How can we fit essential grammar refreshers into our daily lives? Well, not surprisingly, there’s an app for that.

As a recent article in the New York Times details, new apps such as ‘Practice English Grammar’ and ‘Learn English Grammar’ now offer free and convenient grammar exercises that include easy- to- use flashcards, quizzes, and games. Other apps such as ‘Grammar Practice for Business’ created by Harper Collins offer more specified instruction.

As quickly as you can check the weather on your phone, you can now practice your grammar. Just a few minutes a day is all that it takes. Check out the New York Times article to learn more!

Posted in Uncategorized

Medical School for Non-Traditional Students!

Often when we think of “non-traditional students,” we imagine them as first generation college students or older, returning students. But take a look at what Mike Grasso has to say about returning to MEDICAL SCHOOL as a non-traditional student. His website offers great advice and his personal story is inspiring.

Posted in Uncategorized

The Power of the Nudge

Check out this article by Susan Dynarski for the New York Times. She writes about the substantial benefits of nudges and small reminders.

In one of the examples in the article, researchers found that high school students who received small reminders about their homework were 25% more likely to complete it! Research is still ongoing with college students, but initial reports are very promising.

Part of the mission here at the National Center for Student Success and the MAC is to create networks of nudges like the ones described in this article. Giving your peers little nudges can make a difference in their success as well as yours, and it doesn’t take a lot of time and effort. Is there someone you can provide support for today?

Posted in Uncategorized

Quick Intro to FinishAgent!

Hello to all of you who are in a MAC student success group this session!

First, welcome to MAC! Here’s a few tips to get you started:

Start with your profile page. Fill out your profile so others can see who you are, and what your goals are for this semester! Here’s mine:


Make sure you have all of these boxes checked on the account settings page to make sure you get email reminders when people are talking to you on the website!

Under the progress tab on the website, you’ll see a screen like this:
ScreenClipThere will be names on the far left side. In each square you’ll find a different series of icons. The speech bubble means that someone has left comment(s) on the progress page for that day. Click to check out what people have said, and to go to that day and set up encouragement and goals for yourself and others. In addition, a small star next to an icon means that you have commented on that page for the day.

The green circle with a checkmark means that someone has completed a goal for the day. Click to go to the page and provide encouragement and feedback!On the pages for each individual day, you’ll see a feed with all of the comments and goal setting that’s been done that day. Use the form that looks like the one below to add encouragement and support:

In addition to all of the these features, there is also a forum for general discussion, a built-in chat client, and a graphing system that you can use to track progress over time.

Get out there and do!


Posted in Uncategorized

JC-HEM Day One of Extreme Learning (and Teaching)

Day one of our program here in West Virginia was intense, almost overwhelming. I took more than 15 pages of notes. Our goal is to develop a strong first-year writing course to be accessed in refugee camps all over the world. Regis College will award credit for our courses, so it must be a “real” writing course, the equivalent of a college course in the U.S. Currently, JC-HEM runs courses in Malawi, Kenya and Jordan with plans to reach out to Thailand, Chad, and Afghanistan. And the students range in age from 18 to 50 years old.

I learned a staggering statistic. Do you know how many years the average refugee spends in a camp, unable to work, unable to leave, with limited access to food and the other necessities of life? Not one year, not five (as I guessed), but 17 years.

Posted in Uncategorized

Extreme Teaching (and Learning)

This week I’ve been lucky enough to be asked to participate in a project for JC-HEM, the Jesuit Commons group that’s bringing online education to refugees in Burma, Africa and Syria. I’m responsible for a first-year writing course. In four days, the JC-HEM staff plan to bring our team of faculty up to speed on the latest in distance learning techniques so that we can design courses that stretch across almost every barrier I can imagine-cultural, national, language, class, you name it. They call this “education at the margins” for good reason. Today we start with twelve hours of intense instruction in the mission of the program, in course design and in production. As is the Jesuit tradition, they plan to break this up with periods of reflection (thank goodness!) which I’ll probably spend blogging. Stay posted for more! See for a description of the mission.

Posted in Uncategorized