S’11 Week 2: From the Director

Oski the Cal bear wants YOU to have a wonderful time. Oh, and he wants you to work smart, too.

Here you are already starting the second week of your ATDP class and every student I have met is still smiling, making friends, and learning, learning, learning. It is always a delight to see how quickly ATDP classrooms develop into micro learning communities—places where everyone learns from everyone else, sees new viewpoints, and is introduced to important ideas. It is important that you know that your classroom along with all of the other ATDP classrooms full of eager students combine to form a large, mutually supportive group that furthers both friendship and learning across disciplines, geographic locations, and since I’m included, age.

Since we all need support to do our very best thinking and work, please begin utilizing your ATDP support systems. The sign-up sheets are in place on the wall just outside of the ATDP office (room 3639 Tolman Hall). If you come a day or so in advance of your desired tutoring appointment, you’re likely to get your desired day and time. If you come at the last minute, you’re less likely to secure your preferred appointment. So, as with everything else, think ahead and come to tutoring with specific questions. Your classroom instructor will help you to pinpoint the questions you are seeking to address. Also, remember that your tutor is there to assist you in learning how to improve your performance, not to give you the answers!

  • Create a calendar today! Make certain to list your assignment due dates and all other course obligations.
  • Remember that learning takes time, and lots of it, so plan accordingly. Make a schedule for each week of the program, and then break it down to an hourly schedule for each day. [Hint: don’t forget to schedule some recreation and rest; meals are also a good idea—salmon is Oski’s favorite for all three meals.]
  • Write items onto your calendar as you receive the new information, and then check your schedule a few times each day. Divide your binder into sections that are appropriate for your class. Your teacher will be delighted to suggest useful section headings. Have a specific place to list the contact information you will need, such as how (and when) to contact your teacher and your classmates.
  • Don’t forget to re-evaluate and re-group frequently. [The only things that work “like clockwork” are clocks.] After you complete an assignment, evaluate how it went and adjust your schedule accordingly. Get assistance as soon as you have a p
  • roblem with a concept or assignment. Perhaps I need to clarify that. “As soon as” means after you have given it your best effort, and after you have articulated what your question or problem is––“I don’t get it” isn’t useful.
  • As you plan, make certain to include plenty of opportunities for active learning.
  • If you are not as well organized as you, or your teacher, would like, turn over a new leaf in your binder, bring up a new screen on your calendar program, and get started now.

Just take a look at what happens to other Bears who take Oski’s wise counsel — they team up with other academic superstars, and they make it to the Men’s Baseball College World Series!

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