Showing posts with label orientation. Show all posts
Showing posts with label orientation. Show all posts

31 July 2017

Beyond Google

Many students get into the habit of turning to Google when they need information for their assignments and it's not a bad place to start if you need an idea or two. The problems begin when you start using such general information to inform a university assignment, says librarian Sophie Wright.  

Much of what Google has to offer just will not be good enough. In addition, as with anything you find on a Google Search, the information you read could be fake. You need well-researched scholarly sources, such as academic books and journal articles in order to write from an academic perspective.

How do I find better information?

You may ask: but where do I find this information? And how do I navigate my way through the thousands of results returned in Search or databases to find resources specifically on my topic? This is a librarian's area of expertise and we are here to support you in this journey.

Being smart about how you go about locating resources for your assessment has many benefits. The main one is the hours (potentially hundreds over a standard Bachelor's degree) that you will save if you choose to invest just an hour or two learning some tips and tricks for information searching. Secondly, you will increase your marks. Your lecturer will be looking very carefully to see what you have read to inform your arguments and conclusions in your written work. Sometimes you will be expected to pay close attention to prescribed readings from your reading list. Other times, you will be expected to locate your own resources.

Can I take a class?

There is a bit to do here - but do not fear we've got you covered. Firstly, please come along to a free class run by the Library called Beyond Google. This class will teach you the basics to get you up and running and finding the resources you need straightaway. We'll take you through it step by step and answer all your questions.

Alternatively, we have prepared some Quick Study Guides to help you on you way. If you are an online student you would gain a lot from completing our tutorial on Developing a Search Strategy.

Remember, librarians are available at the drop-in sessions Monday to Friday to answer any specific questions you have as well. In many academic courses we offer programs in consultation with the lecturer which cover finding information as part of the curriculum. We also have other free classes running in the library to help you, depending on your study needs. We look forward to meeting you soon!

In summary- some options for you:

Beyond Google: Classes on searching & databases - Sign up here

Quick Study guides on the library website - Here

Online tutorial on developing a search strategy - Here

Attend a 15 minute drop-in with a librarian - At these times / places

Attend another class on study skills in the library - Sign up here

Read More

24 July 2017

Time management tips: How to get organised

Juggling readings, assignments and revision can be one of the most challenging parts of university. Here’s how to get organised and make the most out of your time! By Clinton Bell

You probably already know procrastination is a bad idea. If you put off doing assignments or don’t revise regularly, it’s easy to fall behind and end up with way too much stuff to catch up on. Unfortunately, even if you know you should study, it can be difficult to make yourself do it - especially if you’re busy with other things.

If you find yourself struggling to make time for study, or you feel like you just have way too much going on, try planning your time with a study schedule! There’s an example of how to make one on the library website.

Making a schedule has several benefits:
  • It helps you work out how much time you have, and plan your study around your work, social life, and other commitments
  • It’s easier to keep track of tasks and due dates if you have them all written down in one place
  • You’re less likely to procrastinate if study is a regular part of your routine. Scheduling study in advance can also make you feel more committed to actually doing it
  • Having a plan can help you feel less stressed and more in control of your study.
When making your schedule it’s important to prioritise. Consider how important things are as well as when they’re due - if an assignment is worth a lot of marks you’ll probably need to spend more time on it. If you need to do something which requires other people, special facilities or equipment, you may also need to work around when those things are available.

For large assignments, it can be helpful to split the task into smaller goals. For example, you might aim to write one paragraph of an essay each night. Splitting the task into chunks can make it less intimidating to get started, and can also help you stress less - if you’re meeting your goals you know you’re on track to get the assignment done.

As well as planning your time, it’s important to use it effectively. Using good study methods and improving your skills can give you better results in less time:
Time management can be challenging, but with good planning and study skills you can get everything done on time. So best of luck with your study this semester - and remember, come see us at a drop-in session if you need help!

Read More

4 July 2017

Welcome to all new students

Hello to those who are newly enrolled. We hope you are looking forward to your time at University, despite the cold weather we are experiencing at the moment.

If you're new to Monash, we've put together the Library orientation guide to give you the basics about using the Library.  You will also find Library activities in the Orientation planner.

But first, some interesting facts: did you know that research shows that students who use the Library achieve better results than those who don't? [1]

At Monash 79% of students who used the Library achieved at least a Distinction, based on students' best estimates of their academic results. In the user survey, “Library use” meant either coming in to the Library or accessing it online daily or 2-4 days a week. [2]

Study spaces and facilities

New students will find that they are using smart refurbished areas with facilities like bookable discussion rooms for group projects and study, in the Caulfield and Matheson libraries. 

At Caulfield some inconvenience may apply until the building project is finalised. At present you will enter the library from the arcade level 1 between Buildings A and B (opposite Monash Connect), but very soon the main entrance facing the Caulfield Green will be open.
Programs, resources and activities
As well as working with you in your courses and units, we provide a range of programs and drop-in sessions related to your assignments and other tasks. Drop-ins begin from Week 2.

We’ve developed a new Research and Learning Online site as your gateway to the Library’s online learning materials. Check it out to access online modules such as academic integrity, citing and referencing, and more.

Visit the Students’ page for a complete list of Library programs, resources and activities.

Don’t forget to check this blog for useful articles with tips and advice for your study. You can also find us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter and Instagram.

1   Soria, K. M., Fransen, J., & Nackerud, S. (2013). Library use and undergraduate student outcomes: New evidence for students’ retention and academic success.  Portal : Libraries and the Academy, 13(2), 147-164.  

2  2015 Monash University Library User survey

Read More

3 March 2017

First in family – A world of opportunities

If you are the first in your family to start at Monash University, you might feel you are embarking on the most thrilling and yet frightening journey of your life, says Roland Clements, Learning Skills Adviser. In this post he shares with you the ‘absolute essentials’ that will help you during your first year at university.

You may be the first in your family to have ever thought about going to university. Whatever inspired you to want to study, you are here, which is wonderful - so make the most of it because education and learning can be joyous!

Until the early part of the 20th century, people went for higher education because their subjects fascinated them. They were passionate about what they were studying and intensely curious about the world around them. You are such a person, so don’t be scared or have any reservations.

I’m not going to give you an Alice in Wonderland-style tour of fascinating facts and tricks on how to get the most out of your studies. Our Library offers you a wide range of resources and services which can help you in many of these areas, and they have online tutorials to help you with your study and assignments. What I can share with you are the ‘absolute essentials’ that will help ease the stress of your first year at university. If you have these on hand you won’t feel like a castaway on a desert island (remember Tom Hanks and Mr. Wilson!).

Here are a few essentials you will need for your survival at university at the start of the year. 

1. Campus maps and Library opening hours - Good to have if you need to visit other libraries - Monash students can visit any of our branches.

2. Your Library - Get to know your Library and what it offers: computers, printers, photocopiers, physical items (such as books and DVDs), and online eResources (such as databases and academic journals). The Library staff are always here to work with you through any queries you have, no matter how trivial or complex.

3. Librarians and Learning Skills Advisers - They can work with you to build a number of skills that will be useful both during your time at Monash, and beyond! Librarians have expertise in selecting appropriate databases, searching for academic resources, evaluating sources and citing and referencing. Learning Skills Advisers can build your skills in understanding assignment tasks, structuring your work, academic writing, effective reading, and note taking.

4. Monash M-Pass -Your M-Pass is linked to an online account - you can use it to add credit, copy, print, and pay fines at the Library. You’ll also need it for exams as your student ID!

5. Your username and password - You’ll need this to log in to computers, your, and to access electronic resources (such as databases) through Library Search.

Throughout the course of a regular day at university, you will meet students and lecturers from various corners of the globe who bring their educational knowledge and experience with them. You will learn to work with people from various disciplines and how to work as a team member. No matter what stage in life or circumstances you find yourself, remember that we are all human beings and always learning. So think about the events that brought you to Monash University and make the most of it - persistence and perseverance will lead to success!

Read More

28 February 2017

Planning your PhD journey

What does it take to go through the journey to a PhD successfully?  Learning Skills Adviser Anita Dewi offers answers to key questions asked by new candidates.

Are you commencing a PhD journey at Monash? A PhD is a great avenue to build your career in academia and other areas as well - the penultimate qualification! Through a PhD you have opportunities to share ideas and knowledge in your relevant field. But what does it take to go through the journey successfully?

One of the keywords in your PhD journey is planning. Your plan needs to cover  all aspects relevant to your PhD journey. Below are some key questions that you should ask yourself and find the answers when planning your PhD:

1. How do I manage my supervision?

Your PhD is YOUR journey! This means that you need to take the responsibility for these aspects in managing your supervision:
  • Maintain good communication with your supervisors.
  • Negotiate how frequently you will need to meet with your supervisor (this will vary over time).
  • Take responsibility for scheduling supervisor meetings.
  • Take notes from these meetings and send your supervisor(s) emails that confirm mutual understanding of what is or is not expected after each discussion.
  • Think of a few alternative solutions to issues arising, and then discuss them with your supervisor.
  • DON’T rely on your supervisor(s) to solve your problems for you.
Keep reminding yourself that you’re in charge of your own journey.

2. How do I manage my 3-4 year candidature?

Managing time is not always easy. A PhD journey is a “marathon” rather than a “sprint”. A key tip is to prioritise your tasks. One of the best ways to prioritise your tasks is by implementing, and possibly modifying, the Eisenhower method to suit your needs. To give you an idea of how this method can be implemented in real life situation, have a look at this link.

3. Where can I find relevant resources and advice?

The Library has a great range of resources that you can use to facilitate your PhD journey. Below are some examples that the Library provides:
Also keep in mind that the Library provides you with one-on-one consultations with a learning skills adviser or a subject librarian dedicated to your discipline. Highly motivating writing groups are also available at different campuses. The list of these contact people are here.

4. What will I do after completing my PhD?

Don’t forget to consider what kind of career you will seek upon completing your PhD. Understanding what responsibilities and skills needed to function in this dream role or job will help you in incorporating relevant skills development into your PhD journey plan.

5. What skills do I need to develop for my PhD to be a successful journey?

Here is a researcher skills questionnaire that you will find useful. Feel free to download, fill out, and hang on to it for the duration of your PhD journey. Get back to it and reflect on it from time to time, as a reminder of the skills you need to maintain and perhaps develop to enable you to succeed in your PhD.

6. What do I need to do and when should I do them?

It is best to have a map of your PhD timeline, along with the relevant milestones, e.g. confirmation seminar, progress review, pre-submission seminar, and the thesis submission at the end of the journey.

Finally, don’t hesitate to contact learning skills advisers and subject librarians at the Library for advice. All the best with your PhD journey!

Read More

26 July 2016

Taking notes - with or without lecture slides

If you're a returning student here at Monash - welcome back! You’ve had some experience of being in lectures and tutorials, and have seen what works for you...and perhaps also what doesn’t. If this semester is your first, welcome to Monash! You can review our tips and tricks from last semester, but for those seeking to build their skills, look no further...

Materials used in lectures (such as slides) are typically made available to students either before or after the lecture - you’ll usually find them in Moodle. But what if the slides aren’t published? This does happen sometimes, for a number of reasons - it could be connected to the way the unit’s content is assessed, for example. It can be frustrating, but try to remember everyone else in that unit will be facing the same situation, so it’s still a level playing field.

Key ideas

So with no slides to guide you, how can you approach note-taking? Try to resist the urge to write down everything that you can see on the slides, along with everything that your lecturer’s an impossible task, and while you may be able to manage it for the first week or two, you’ll soon run out of steam. Think about information in terms of key concepts and explanations: Write down the key ideas presented on the slides, and listen to what the lecturer says to fill in your knowledge of these ideas. This handy infographic gives you some tips to help determine what information is going to be most useful for you later on, as well as some nifty shorthand for when the pressure’s on!

Get organised

Organising your notes once they’ve been written is an important step that is easier said than done - it can be difficult to find the time to go through what you’ve written, especially when assessments start rolling in. Try and set aside a few hours each week to go through the week’s notes for each of your units. Aim to organise them into something that will be useful later on, when you’re beginning your research for assignments, or revising for exams. You don’t have to do it all in one block - half an hour before dinner each night can make things a little more manageable. Apps such as Evernote are a popular organising tool, and if you’re a more visual person, a mind-mapping tool such as XMind may be the answer. It can be tempting to try to skip a step and just use these apps in class, but things move at such a fast pace, that it’s rarely a good idea. Plus, using tablets and other devices in class means infinite distractions at your fingertips, which only those with the strongest willpower will be able to ignore! Best to keep it lo-fi in class, and save the fun gadgetry for later on...

It goes without saying, of course, that during lectures you should not only try to minimise distracting yourself, but also distracting others - in other words, please don’t talk during lectures, unless you are asked to! It can be hard to concentrate for two (or more…) hours at a stretch, but you’ll receive far fewer death-stares from your classmates if you save the chatter for the all-important post-lecture coffee. If you were feeling really dedicated, you could even invite a few friends from your class and swap notes...okay, I’m pushing things a little too far here, but it’s not as crazy as it sounds!

Don’t forget to have a look at the Library Class Booking System - we run a variety of skills classes throughout the semester. Search using keywords such as ‘note’ ‘skills’ ‘lecture’ ‘listen’ or ‘study’ to see if there are any relevant classes you can go along to! Or, chat to a Librarian or Learning Skills Adviser at your Library’s Research & Learning Point - check for opening times here.

Read More

20 July 2015

Get to know the Library

Everyone in second year and above likes to think they have a map of campus in their heads and know everything there is to know - but the truth is, we were all Just Another First Year at one point as well, and we are definitely still learning. There were things I didn’t know (everything), things I wish I knew (everything), and things I definitely needed to know (... everything). Luckily I had help, and can pass that knowledge on to you new and future Sara Nyhuis

Unfortunately I can’t provide you with an in-depth guide of where to and not to eat, the best spots to nap, that one carpark that’s always free or the answers to all your tests. I can, however, provide you with information that is just as valuable as all that.

The library how-to guide.

Shake off any notions of the library being ‘uncool’, because you are about to find yourself there far more than you realise. When you’re at university, the library is exactly where you want to be - it has all the answers to all your questions (except the answers to tests), quiet places to escape the manic bustle of the first few weeks of semester (be prepared to fight for it), and honestly - it’s actually super valuable.

Which library is where?

All the libraries are different on each campus, with the smaller campuses like Berwick, Peninsula and Pharmacy having smaller libraries mostly focusing on nursing and teaching or pharmaceuticals. Clayton has three (because the more the merrier), and each one specialises - there is the Law library (pretty self-explanatory), Hargrave Andrew Library (science, technology, engineering, medicine), and Matheson Library (arts and humanities). Caulfield library is the busiest during exams, so you have to get in early to grab a seat before the rest of the vultures flock to it, but it has a large focus on art theory and literature books. 

Get to know your library

I strongly suggest doing a library tour during O Week. I was lucky enough to already be familiar with the Matheson Library when I started at Monash, but the amount of friends I still have in my final year that don’t know how to borrow books is astonishing. An O Week tour will tell you all the basic things you need to know such as opening hours for that library; where the group, quiet and private study spaces are; how to find books; how to borrow them; how to print (which is so confusing and so very, very important) and where to find your friendly library staff to ask any further questions you might have. The tours are usually run by current student volunteers who understand the library in a way that the staff behind the desk don’t, because for students it is as much a social space as it is a place for study.

Your online library

You don’t have to be physically in the library to use it to its full potential either, with most of the study resources accessible online. The most important aspect of the online library that I seriously encourage you all to get familiar with is the library guides. They’re currently working on creating a guide for each unit, and when they’re all up these things are going to be your saving grace come survival week. I’m talking cloud-parting, ray of sunshine, angels singing type of thing. Right now these guides have reading lists, related databases, external websites, your go-to subject librarian, information on assignments and referencing guidelines.
See? Angels singing. 

Make the most of it

While you’re doing the tour, you might as well do a class, too. You can access the class booking system through the library homepage to see which classes are being run and when. If you only take one library class in all your years at uni, take the Search class. This class will teach you how to use Search to navigate the labyrinth that is the library catalogue for books, journals, and multimedia specifically related to what you’re researching. I recommend it because while Google seems like the fountain of knowledge for all your questions, but when it comes to researching academic sources, it’s definitely not credible.

So now that you’re a library master…

Talking about your own experience can be really helpful to others who are unsure of how to tackle O Week and their first week of university. We encourage you to get involved and discuss if and how you used the library when you first started, and how you use it now. 

Sara Nyhuis is a Monash student who works as part-time casual staff in the Library.

Read More

Welcome to a super new semester!

Orientation Week for Semester 2 runs from 20 to 24 July,  and is an important time to prepare for your studies, explore your campus and the services available, and make new Melissa McKenna.

Congratulations and welcome to all of our new students joining us for the first time this semester!  Be sure to engage with the Library to make the most of your learning and research experience at Monash. Throughout Orientation we provide tours, tips on how to get started at University, and training on how to search electronic databases for researching a topic. This will save you time in the future when you have assignment deadlines. Be sure to check out the Orientation ePlanner for Session information.

Psst! - Did you know research shows that students who use the library achieve better results than those who don't?  You will find that the library is a very popular place on campus for both individual and group study.  Some of our libraries even have bookable meeting rooms available, and can be reserved online.  For those students not on campus, we haven't forgotten about you - there are plenty of resources and services to support your study and research needs.

Here are some other super handy tips for new students:
  • The Library website is your access point for information resources. Using the Search function will open up a world of information beyond Google.
  • Visit the Students’ page for a quick guide to your Library resources.
  • As well as working with you in your courses and units, Library staff provide a range of programs and drop-in sessions associated with your assignments and other tasks.
  • Keep up to date with the Caulfield and Matheson Library refurbishments. Visit the website for more information and view the fantastic images. 
We understand that it can get a little overwhelming at times for new students, so we're happy to answer questions and receive feedback on your experiences. You may contact us via the comments box below or via  You can also engage with us on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

Happy O Week, everyone!

Image  rpavich, under CC 2.0 licence.

Read More

13 March 2015

Numbers tell a story

 It was a very busy start of the semester for the Library and we know why... by Heidi Binghay

The start of semester is a much anticipated time not only for students but for Monash staff. As with other areas of the university, Library staff put in a huge effort during Orientation Week and Week 1, and in the weeks beforehand in preparation.

We know that this is just the beginning and the momentum will continue to build through the semester, past survival week, through assignment deadlines and towards exam time. We are there with students every step of the way.

Some key insights drawn from collecting the data:

  • The number of people coming to the libraries confirms that our libraries are some of the largest learning spaces on campus where students spend time doing academic work outside of lectures. 
  • The use of our collection in print and electronic formats and the number of recorded lectures streamed is evidence of the availability and accessibility of the scholarly collections and resources provided by the Library. 
  • The skills development programs delivered by the Library are increasingly built on partnerships with faculty to ensure students develop the information research and learning skills within disciplinary content. 

Here is a neat little summary of what happened in O-Week and Week 1.

Read More

3 March 2015

Lectures, listening skills, and note-taking

Whether you’re in a first-year class with 200 others, or a cosy, intimate third-year lecture featuring you and 15 classmates, your listening and note-taking skills are crucial for Romney Adams.

Doodles on a notepad

Nothing is worse than getting to the end of the year and finding stuff like this in place of notes =>

Entertaining? Yes. Useful? ...not so much. Here’s our quick guide to surviving in the lecture theatre.

Sit down, shu-- ... be quiet

While of course, you are welcome to ask questions in lectures, your primary concern is to listen, and take notes. Talking is an obvious distraction, not only to yourself, but also to your neighbours - you’d be surprised at how far two whispering voices can travel in a lecture theatre!

Mary and Lucas had this huge fight, but then....Listen up, and take notes

Generally speaking, your lecturers will make their slides available to you, before or after class. So, you shouldn’t think of note-taking as simply copying down what your lecturer has on their slides - chances are these will be given to you, so writing their content down will simply be a waste of time.

What’s better is to listen out for important pieces of information you can use to strengthen the content of the lecture slides. If you’ve been given the slides beforehand (check Moodle!), you can print them off, and annotate them in-class.

It’s not necessary to write down everything your lecturer has to say - you can usually tell simply by the lecturer’s tone of voice, emphasis, or even body language, as to whether the information you’re about to receive is of particular importance.

Tablets and laptops are great to bring to class, but, as we all know, they can be incredibly distracting. Consider going back to Classical times and just bring pen and paper - you won’t find yourself scrolling through StalkerSpace, and any doodling you do may actually help improve your concentration!


When using Allocate+ to submit your preferences, you may have noticed the lecture component of your classes are sometimes referred to as ‘seminars’, or ‘workshops’. These still follow the basic principles of a lecture, however greater participation is encouraged - it may even form some of your overall mark for the unit. Participation does not simply mean being present - you’ll be expected to engage with the teaching staff and ask questions - another good reason to listen to what’s being said!

What if I can’t make it?

The life of a student is busy, and sometimes, due to seen or unforeseen circumstances, it’s not always possible to attend your lectures. If this is the case, don’t worry! Many lectures are captured and stored for your viewing pleasure on MULO. This is also a great source for exam revision at the end of semester.

If your lectures aren’t recorded, things are a little trickier - but not impossible. Teaching staff are usually understanding if you have a good reason for not being able to attend, and may be able to email a copy of the slides to you - it goes without saying that the after-effects of partying are not considered to be ‘good reason’! You can also ask your lecturer if you can have a quick consultation/appointment with them, to catch up on anything important you may have missed. If you know you’re going to miss a class, you can also ask friends to take notes for you - it helps if you shout them coffee or a pint in return, to show your appreciation.

Do you have any tips or tricks for listening and note-taking in lectures? Or perhaps a suggestion of how not to behave? Comment below!

[Illustrations created by Romney Adams]

Read More

24 February 2015

Tips for 'first in family' students

Are you the first in your family who is going to university? Isn’t it amazing? Yet, do you think it is going to be challenging at the same time? Anita Dewi

Yes, it is amazing. You are the awesome pioneer in the family! If at the same time you also feel a bit anxious about what to expect in this new environment called “the university”, don’t worry! If others can do it, you can too.

The Library provides a wide range of resources and services that will guide you through your university journey. To start with, here are some tips from your very own learning skills adviser on how to get ready with university life as a first in family student at Monash.

Quick hints for creating new study patterns and developing a study strategy will help you to start off on the right track.

There is also a mentoring program that you may find helpful for support in your discipline.

While it is certainly not true that university life is without stress, the level of stress can be managed. It helps to know where to go for support.

Read More

23 February 2015

Welcome, new students 2015!

We're glad you're here. Engage with the Library to make the most of your learning and research experience at Monash.

Image: Jeni Rodger (CC BY-NC 2.0)
Did you know research shows that students who use the library achieve better results than those who don't? 

You will find that the library is a popular place on campus for both individual and group study.  

Here are some handy tips:
  • The Library website is your access point for information resources. Using the Search function will open up a world of information beyond Google.
  • As well as working with you in your courses and units, Library staff provide a range of programs and drop-in sessions associated with your assignments and other tasks.
  • At Orientation the libraries provide tours, tips on how to get started at University, and training on how to search electronic databases for researching a topic. This will save you time in the future when you have assignment deadlines. Session information can be found in the Orientation ePlanner.

We would like to hear from you. Put in a comment to this post or submit a question or feedback through Ask.Monash.

And by the way, you can also find us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter and Instagram.

Read More

27 January 2015

Orientation 2015

The year starts for new students properly in Orientation Rosemary Miller

It is wonderful to see students who have recently accepted an offer to enrol in a course for 2015 visiting their campus.

Links from the Orientation page to Academic orientation and the Orientation ePlanner will introduce you to Library services, resources and programs. Orientation is held between  23-27 February.

You are welcome to visit the libraries on campus at any time; please feel free to call in.

Read More

About the Blog

Welcome to the Monash University Library blog. Whether you are engaged in learning, teaching or research activities, the Library and its range of programs, activities and resources will contribute to your success. Here you will find useful information, ideas, tips and inspiration. Your comments on any of the articles are welcome.

If you believe that copyright material is available on this blog in such a way that infringes copyright, please contact our designated representative