By now (end of Term 1) you are probably familiar with finding your way around the Library, whether we are talking about the physical building or the Library’s online catalogue. But did you know the Library has its own collection of online courses? These were designed to equip students with key study skills, such as researching for their assignments, creating engaging presentations or knowing how to reference properly. For this reason, they can be a valuable resource when planning your essays and assignments.
The Library Online Courses are Moodle courses available throughout the year and open to all Warwick students. Once you get your Warwick ID, you’ll be automatically enrolled and be able to access the course content remotely, at any time. Unlike most online modules that are part of your course, and which have specific deadlines, you can work through the Library’s course material at your own pace. This means that if you have a free hour to fill during one rainy afternoon, that might be enough for you to get to grips with the basics of referencing. Or you could just as well decide to browse through the course material and only access those sections and activities that are relevant for you at a given time. Most importantly, it means that you can revisit the Library’s Online Courses anytime during your studies for a refresher. Going back to the question in the title: How can the Library’s Online Courses help you with your study/assignments? it all comes down to understanding what knowledge and study skills you can gain from accessing these courses. For this reason, I will move on to give you a brief description of three of the Library’s most popular online courses and highlight the specific study skills you can hope to gain from each of these. (The order is random, so which courses you take and in what order is completely at your own discretion).
Understand plagiarism and how to avoid it
Plagiarism is one of those scary words that can give university students recurrent nightmares, especially before an assignment deadline. This needn’t be the case: although plagiarism is a very serious academic offence, respecting some basic principles makes it easy to avoid it. “Avoiding plagiarism” was developed as a quick, accessible, and friendly introduction to the topic of plagiarism. The course provides an overview of the different types of plagiarism (e.g. deliberate, unintentional, self-plagiarism, etc.), along with relevant case-studies and helpful advice on how to avoid it. Passing the final quiz with a good score will also earn you a certificate, which proves that you have completed the course successfully (you might be required a certificate by your department). “Avoiding plagiarism” is, perhaps, the most popular and essential of all Library Online Courses, so do feel free to take a look at this course if you haven’t done so already.
Master the basics of referencing with “Introduction to referencing”
Avoiding plagiarism and writing good quality academic papers becomes much easier once you learn to reference correctly. As the name tells you, the “Introduction to referencing” course explains what referencing is and guides you through some basic referencing principles. Another section of the course deals with the structure of references and how this might vary slightly, depending on what type of source you are referencing: printed book, website, video, etc. You can take a quick quiz at the end to test what you’ve learned, or check your understanding through scenarios.
Step up your research skills with “Research for Assignments”
Good research skills are your (not so) secret weapon when it comes to writing successful papers. As you start planning your assignments, you will most likely find that you need to read more broadly and find sources that are not included in your reading lists. “Research for Assignments” can help you get to grips with how and where to find relevant resources on your topic of interest. If you are interested to know more about researching an academic database, creating effective search strategies, or what counts as a ‘scholarly’ resource, this course is a great place to start.
And some final tips…
If you’ve found any of the above courses useful, I encourage you to explore the other Moodle courses provided by the Library, such as “Mindful Library” (mindfulness course) or “Creating effective visual presentations”. Also, don’t feel shy of repeating a course section or even an entire course if you feel some information is not clear. Finally, don’t forget that help is always at hand. Many Library Online courses will include a “find out more section” at the end – here you can find information on additional help and support available throughout the University. You can always email the Library with your questions or contact your Academic Support Librarian.