Friday, January 30, 2015

Spring vs. Fall Semester

It’s the second week of spring semester, and things at colleges are a little different in the spring compared to the fall.  For starters, there are fewer students.  While some students graduated or transferred at the end of fall semester, there are far more who don’t attend classes in the spring semester for other reasons.  Usually this is a result of a GPA disaster in fall, but sometimes students do fine academically but have family situations that prevent or delay their return. 

Students who do return usually start studying earlier in the semester.  We are certainly seeing more students using the library for this during breaks between their classes than we did in the fall.  Spring classes are usually more advanced than those in the fall, so there’s an increased workload.  Successful students now realize they need to review class notes every day instead of just before tests.  They also see the benefit of doing the assigned reading in the textbook before class, so they understand more of the lecture the first time they hear it.

In the spring semester, the vast majority of people on campus are familiar with the campus environment.  This means that in general, everyone knows the names of the buildings, where to park, who’s in what department, and how to get whatever it is accomplished.  In the fall, library staff seems to spend the first three weeks of the semester giving directions to various buildings and showing students (and sometimes new staff members!) how to navigate eTC.

Because most students have been here for at least one semester by now, faculty tend to think that the students remember EVERYTHING from last semester.  Librarians are often approached by students who need help and sheepishly admit, “I knew how to find books last semester, but I forgot”.  It’s important to remember that “student semesters” are different from “instructor semesters”, like “dog years” are much longer than “people years”.  Instructors know that students learned something in a pre-req course last semester and they expect them to apply it flawlessly now, five months later.

If you knew how to use TCTC’s library last semester but seem to have forgotten what to do this semester, please ask a member of the library staff for help!  Alternatively, you can watch a quick video for a refresher on whatever skill needs polishing on the library’s Instruction Video” page: 

Sue Andrus
Information Literacy Librarian

No comments:

Post a Comment