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Ohio State program aids A+’s for students

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As a college student at Ohio State, you’ve likely experienced those caffeine-dependent moments where writer’s block has potentially delayed your efforts to finish those sometimes dreadful writing projects.

The Writing Center, which offers free tutoring at Mendenhall Laboratory and William Oxley Thompson Memorial Library for various kinds of writing, is in collaboration with the A+ Research Program. The program is a student-to-student program that the Thompson Library is using to help undergraduate students lower the stress of structuring a term paper.

The program involves 45-minute presentations designed to take students step-by-step in the writing process. In a four-part series, the program will help students find a starting point, structure a term paper, find the resources students need and attempt to take students from average to A+.

Cheryl Lowry, training and education program assistant, said the A+ Research program was created because of the recent studies from the Project Information Literacy (PIL). PIL is a national study about how college students find information and conduct research for coursework, and it had shown that 84 percent of students have issues getting a research paper started. The setting for the program is quite informal. Dorms, student organizations, fraternities, sororities and the Younkin Success Center are other places where presentations could be offered, Lowery said.

“We want the students to be where they are comfortable,” Lowery said.

With the program, participants able to get instruction from peers. The program found that students rely on their colleagues rather than librarians.

“Students experience less intimidation. We chose undergraduates rather than graduate students as instructors because we want the students to relate to each other,” said Fred Roecker, instruction librarian.

Working with students and making it accommodating is something important to the program, Roecker said. The presentations are typically held in the evening, but students are welcome to schedule time during the day to help provide the instruction needed.

Karen Diaz, head of the teaching and learning office at the OSU libraries, said making the program free makes it affordable for the students and the librarians.

Undergraduate students are specially trained by OSU librarians to help provide the tutoring.

“With the training students will gain presentation skills. The librarians will help edit the presentations so that student instructors will grow and evolve,” Diaz said.

Marie Conger, a fourth-year in anthropology, has been giving program presentations for more than a year. She said she loves the program because it caters to students, the students are passionate, the presentations are interactive and she has gained valuable speaking experience.

“I’m a lot better at public speaking. I’ve been good before, but I’m more comfortable,” Conger said. “I’ve learned a lot. I wish this was available when I was a freshman.”

Ciara Kinzig, a third-year in English, said giving presentations is personally beneficial.

“The research presentation helps me when I’m compiling a paper,” Kinzig said. “It’s a two-for-one combo.”

More than 370 students attended the presentations in Autumn Quarter, but Diaz said that number has declined since the start of 2012.

“The problem is getting the word out,” Diaz said.

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