April 17, 2019

Instructor Blog: Tips for Succeeding in English Courses

By B&SC Blog Team

Instructor Blog: Tips for Succeeding in English Courses

Some students may feel as if they need to just simply survive English courses. As an instructor who teaches four different English courses at Bryant & Stratton, I wanted to share some tips for not just passing, but thriving in courses essential to your life-long learning and professional development.  

Most assignments in your English courses are focused on research and writing. This means that, to succeed, you will need to communicate an idea clearly and support it with research.  Thinking about how you can improve in those areas will help you in each English course. One common error I see is students not proofreading carefully. 

Almost all assignments in your English courses include a category in the rubric for grammar, including discussion. Taking the time to not only run spell-check (even in discussion) but proofread can be the difference between an “A” and a “B.” Creating even short assignments such as the initial posts for discussion and reflections in Word can ensure that you meet the word count requirement and have the opportunity to proofread carefully. Incorrect citation can greatly impact your grade.

Click here https://www.bryantstratton.edu/blog/2014/september/instructor-blog-citing-for-success to read more about APA format and avoiding plagiarism.  

Insufficient research is another area that can undermine an otherwise well-done assignment.  This brings us to one of the most important resources for students: the rubric. Rubrics are provided for most assignments, and all major assessments such as the portfolio project.

Remember, this is what your instructor uses to evaluate your work.  Look closely at each category and examine the quantitative requirements (number of sources, for example) and qualitative requirements (scholarly level of sources). Below are additional resources that are particularly useful for English courses:

  • The Virtual Library is an excellent resource. Think of it as a short-cut to scholarly sources. Also, we have 24/7 online librarians that can help you locate sources for a paper.  Learning how to navigate the Virtual Library and search efficiently for sources will save you hours of frustration.
  • Smarthinking is a tutoring service to help you with assignments. What this can also be helpful for is learning your own weaknesses. For example, if you consistently receive feedback about incorrect word choice or weak conclusions, this can help you learn to pay close attention to those areas.
  • The best resource for help on a particular assignment is, of course, your instructor. At the beginning of the week, look over all of the assignments for the week. Look over the directions and rubrics for major assessments as soon as they are available (in week 2 for many courses). If there is part of an assignment that is unclear, please email us! We are happy to help!

These strategies and resources will not just help you in your English courses, but in any assignment where research and writing are needed.

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