Effective educational practices
Effective reading is essential in university studies. Being an effective reader means using different study and working methods. USCCC has developed a three step working process which has proven successful with students:
- Before lectures
- During lectures
- After lectures
Before lectures - Screening
Screening is a method to prepare for the lesson. You read a book´s headlines, chapter
headings, introductory and summary and try to understand and perceive the main concepts of the text. You also view images, tables and other information derived separately from the text.
The purpose of screening is becoming familiar with the content of the lesson without reading the text extensively. If, however, a student´s participation is required in class he needs to prepare more thoroughly.
The process of screening takes approximately 10-30 minutes for each lesson. Its aim is to increase understanding, give an overview of the content and connect new material with previous knowledge.
important to attend lectures and try to get the most out of lessons, pay
attention, listen for main points and to write down useful/meaningful notes. Be
careful, however, not to write too much at the cost of listening and
notes to highlight and draw attention to the main ideas and get a clearer view
of what the teacher proposes is important. Good notes are invaluable aids in reviewing
tips for note-taking
- Have the right tools at hand,
such as a good pen / pencil, notebook / paper / computer, highlighting pens,
- Write down dates on all the
notes, page numbers, use colours and symbols to emphasize important points
or keywords. Put a question mark or an asterisk if you need to check
something later or pay special attention to.
- Screen the reading/study material
before the lesson.
- Be active; ask questions, etc. whether
in lessons or while reading.
- Choose a seat in the centre of
one of the front rows – that way you are closer to the teachers. You are
less likely to be disturbed by others, you see better and it’s easier to
read slides or on the blackboard.
takes place in the lesson and also while reading/studying the course material
after the lesson.
during the lesson – Note-taking methods:
- When using the computer, write
below the slides or create a Word document. If you write notes directly onto
the handouts from the teachers you can highlight or underline the key
words and use colours to distinguish your own words from the teacher´s.
- The Cornell note-taking method
involves dividing the page down lengthwise into two columns. You have the
right column wider than the left one (which is 6-8 cm). In the right
column write fairly detailed notes in your own words from a lesson, but on
the left write key words and questions formed while reading and revising.
Key words or key phrases contain core elements, such as the name of the
theory, the name of the entrepreneur, an important year or a fundamental equation
in the calculation. Key words call forth images and links to other words
and ideas. They are useful for reviewing.
- Card method: On one side of a card
you write a question, concept or password, such as the name of theories.
The other side allows you to frame an answer, and often a reference to the
detailed explanations in the textbook and /or notes.
lessons – Reading in-depth and note-taking:
is when you study the material after the lessons. It is good to allot at least
two hours for in-depth reading because it takes time to get active and become
involved in the subject. You can use special methods of in-depth reading, for
example, it can be useful to prepare questions from the material of the lesson
(approximately 4-10 questions) either in writing or in your mind and try to
answer them. Do this before beginning reading so that you approach the subject
with a specific purpose in mind. Answering questions is a powerful way to learn
new material, i.e. to ask yourself questions before you move to in-depth reading.
It is also advisable to use the slides / notes as milestones to read from. While
reading it is effective to take notes, underline the words / phrases, insert
notes from a lecture or write on the margins. Create a reminder card when
pausing from the reading.
Attending a study group / reading group is also a very powerful way of
learning. The study group gives you the opportunity to exchange views and
discuss topics with others.
lessons - Reviewing
a vital part of learning. When reviewing you are actually practicing for any type of assessment. The process can be divided into three
- Daily reviewing of
approximately 10 minutes per subject, where you review the notes after the
lecture and / or after in-depth reading, i.e. summarizing after reading a
few pages, a section, or after a specific theme. Reading the notes and adding
to them while the subject is still fresh in the memory shortly after the
lesson is effective. Try to find key words and identify the main points,
make a check-list, cover the right column of the notes with your hand (when
using the Cornell method) and review by reading the key words, etc.
- Weekly reviewing of
approximately 1 hour for each subject, as you quickly glance over the
notes of the week and/or prepare for projects or short exams.
- Major reviewing for exams.
systematically and continuously throughout the semester you increase
significantly the likelihood of success in education. It is important for you
to reflect upon yourself, consider what kind of learning methods you are using
and whether there is need for change. USCCC give students advice on work
practices in higher education, by offering individual sessions and workshops
available at the beginning of each semester.