Chico Distance & Online Education

Student Learning Center Workshops

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Student Learning Center Workshops

CSU, Chico Student Learning Center Workshops are online video workshops to help you to develop or hone skills that will provide a foundation for an exceptional academic experience. The online application allows you to access the materials anytime, review the presentation multiple times, and print the handouts. The Student Learning Center website can be found here.

We believe these talks, as well as archived workshops from the Wellness Center, Career Center, Cross-Cultural Leadership Center, and Academic Advising Programs, will enrich the educational experience of our online students - and all students.

Paragraph Development

Brooke Hespeler, Student Writing Tutor, CSU, Chico Student Learning Center

Brooke Hespeler, a Chico State senior majoring in English, explains how to write better essays and research papers by focusing on paragraph structure. She identifies four aspects to paragraph development: every sentence in the paragraph is centered around one idea; the paragraph is clearly related to the thesis of the paper; the paragraph is well-developed; and the sentences within the paragraph are arranged in a logical manner and follow a definite plan. At the end of the presentation, Ms. Hespeler provides information about the writing assistance services available to all Chico State students at the Student Learning Center.

Presentation time:  35 minutes

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Preventing Math Anxiety

Dominique Silva, Student Math Tutor, CSU, Chico Student Learning Center

Dominique Silva helps her fellow students to overcome math anxiety. In this workshop, she defines what math anxiety is, explains what causes it, discusses settings where math is required outside of the classroom, explores resources to assist students, and talks about ways to prevent and ease math anxiety. She advises students to have a confident attitude, break problems down into small steps, seek help from teachers and tutors and, if necessary, change their study habits.

Length: 26 minutes

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Money 101

Natalie Wren and Erin Wilson, CSU, Chico Student Financial Services

The speakers use their daily experience in working with students about financial matters – and their own personal experience – to present suggestions about how to avoid credit card debt. They start with a dramatic example, explaining that if a person has a $3,000 credit card balance at 17% interest and pays only a minimum $50 payment per month, it takes 38 years to pay off the debit – and the person ends up paying $10,553. To help students avoid such situations, the presenters pass along tips for planning ahead and budgeting.

Presentation time:  31 minutes


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School Year Budget for College Students

Strategies to Save Money

Credit Card Tips


GRE Writing Preparation

Dani Anguiano, The Writing Center-CSU, Chico Student Learning Center

Dani Anguiano teaches her fellow students about the Analytical Writing portion of the GRE (Graduation Record Examinations), part of the standardized test that is an admissions requirement for most graduate schools in the United States. As she explains, the GRE Writing Measure consists of two timed essays that tests the student’s critical thinking skills and ability to articulate an argument. Ms. Anguiano shares information about how the essays are scored, how to best prepare, how to tackle the exam question, and how to create an introduction, three main points, and a conclusion. Contact information for resources is provided, including where to find sample exercises and how to receive assistance through the CSU, Chico Writing Center.

Presentation time:  28 minutes

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Effective Reading Strategies

Christine Connerly, CSU, Chico Student Learning Center

Christine Connerly has taught reading and other study skills at the college level for many years. In this presentation she discusses strategies that students can use to experience the power of reading as a key to academic success. She emphasizes “active” reading over “passive” reading, and presents tips to improve reading speed and comprehension.  Ms. Connerly also explains the SSQ3R method of reading study skills: Survey the reading materials, ask Questions about the materials, Read, Recite, and Review.

Length: 42 minutes

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Story of the  Superheroes handout

KWL Reading Strategy handout

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Mastering Study Skills

Dr. Aldrich “Pat” Patterson, CSU, Chico Counseling and Wellness Center

Dr. Pat Patterson has been helping CSU, Chico students meet their academic goals for 31 years. He starts this presentation by giving an inspiring pep talk about how to approach college, how to set goals, and how to strive for excellence. He then discusses essential study skills – for example: time management, list-making, exam preparation, and the “SQ5R” method of reading and note taking. Click here to see Dr. Patterson tell the story of his journey from East Los Angeles – where his third grade teacher said he would never learn to read – to earning his PhD and embarking on his long career as a counselor at CSU, Chico.

Presentation time:  51 minutes

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Digital Media for 21st Century Students

Tim Sain, CSU, Chico Educational Opportunity Program (EOP) Advising Intern

Using a website called “thinglink,” CSU, Chico graduate student Tim Sain introduces and guides his fellow students to applications for 21st century students. Among the many apps he touches on during his whirlwind tour are Audacity (to record and edit audio files), Quizlet (notes, quizzes, and study guides contributed by students from all over the world), Poplet (a visual storybook format to organize ideas for papers and oral presentations), Wikispaces and Google Docs (tools for collaborating and sharing documents within a group), Merlot (a multimedia source for online education), and more. Best of all, the apps covered in this presentation are all available for free

Presentation Time:  43 minutes

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Resource Link - thinglink app

How to Write a Unified, Coherent Essay

Mike Bluing and Sonoma Koontz, Writing Tutors, Student Learning Center

CSU, Chico student writing tutors explain the concept of “unity” as a tool to write more coherent essays. Unity in writing means that each paragraph is about only one topic. Further, all sentences within a paragraph tell the reader about one subtopic within the main topic. The presenters go on to give details about this disciplined approach to writing essays, including paragraph development and coherence/flow between paragraphs.

Length: 49 minutes

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Pre-writing: How to Complete Your Essay Before You Even Begin

Dani Anguiano and Gina Spadorcio, Writing Tutors, Student Learning Center


Two CSU, Chico students share their strategies and tips to make the writing process easier, focusing on the first steps to writing a paper or essay. Their multi-point process includes free-writing, clustering, outlining, and mind-mapping. Along the way, the presenters give visual examples of each step. In addition, they describe the services available through the Writing Center, which is a program of the Student Learning Center. Help is available either in the office or online. Using PowerPoint slides, the presenters show exactly how students access these writing services through BlackBoard Learn in their portal accounts.

Length: 39 minutes

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Developing a Research Question that Interests You

Kevin Klipfel, Information Literacy Coordinator, CSU, Chico Meriam Library


Kevin Klipfel shows students how to turn a general interest in a subject into something specific that has enough materials for constructing a research paper around a research question. He uses as an example researching information for a paper about the rapper Drake and his approach to authenticity. Klipfel searches his topic through Google with some general keywords and then drills down deeper using other keywords, showing how to refine and narrow results. Klipfel also goes to the CSU, Chico Miriam Library home page and demonstrates how to search for books, articles from newspapers and popular magazines, and scholarly articles. He recommends combining a variety of sources to support the main point of the research paper.

Length: 47 minutes

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Effective Note Taking

LaTiana Ridgell, CSU, Chico School of Nursing  Student

Ms. Ridgell shares with her fellow students the importance of taking good notes; notes that assist in providing clarity, easy access to specific topics, and productive study methods. She discusses and shows examples of different note-taking methods, including outline, Venn diagram, and the Cornell method. She also shares examples of note-taking software. Ms. Ridgell recommends that students choose the note-taking style that fits their learning style. She also recommends that students review their notes as soon after class as possible and, if there is something that they don’t understand, go to the professor to ask questions.

Length: 35 minutes

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Prewriting (The Invention Phase)

Mike Bluing, CSU, Chico Graduate Student

Prewriting (The Invention Phase) play button

Mike Bluing defines “prewriting” as the first stage of the writing process, typically followed by drafting, revision, editing, and publishing. He advocates planning before starting to write anything. Mr. Bluing defines prewriting as “the phase of invention.” He guides workshop participants through the following elements of prewriting: choosing a topic; defining a purpose; determining the audience; gathering and organizing information; and outlining.

Length: 53 minutes

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Organizing and Outlining Your Essay

Kate Ory, CSU, Chico Graduate Student

Organizing and Outlining Your Essay play button

Ms. Ory begins her talk by listing and explaining six steps to the writing process: brainstorming, organizing ideas, drafting, revising, editing, and finalizing/turn in. She explains how to construct an outline in order to organize ideas and make an essay read smoothly. As an example, she shares an outline of a final paper she wrote. Finally, she and her audience create an essay topic and outline from scratch.

Length: 45 minutes

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Beginner’s Guide to Using Prezi

Tim Sain, CSU, Chico Educational Opportunity Program (EOP) Advising Intern

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Prezi is a web-based presentation application that uses a single canvas instead of traditional sides. Text, images, videos, and other presentation objects can be placed on an “infinite canvas” and grouped together in frames.  Tim Sain gives a step-by-step introduction to this versatile program that students can use to make their presentations more interesting.

Presentation Time:  31 minutes

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Budgeting Your Money

Tim Sain, CSU, Chico Educational Opportunity Program (EOP) Advising Intern

Budget Basic Play Button

With interactive games and a sense of humor, presenter Tim Sain shows that budgeting doesn’t have to be boring.  During this fast-paced presentation, he explains the tools of budgeting and offers budgeting “traps and tips.”

Presentation time:  34 minutes

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Writing Made Easy

Donna Pierro, Coordinator of Supplemental Instruction, Student Learning Center

Writing made easy player

Ms. Pierro starts with the question, “What makes an essay?” She continues with practical tips on how to write an essay, with her focus on the types of writing assignments students are asked to do in their courses. She breaks down the parts of an essay – thesis statement, body, and conclusion – into basic equations.

Presentation time: 47 minutes

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Time Management

Quinn O’Brien, Student Assistant, Student Learning Center

Time management player

In this presentation, Quinn explains pitfalls that result in poor time management and how they can be avoided.  He outlines several time management strategies and includes various tips to help students get the most out of their study time. Quinn shares his own time management successes and failures in ways – often humorous – that his fellow students can empathize with and understand.

Presentation time: 23 minutes

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Preventing Test Anxiety

Kristy Phillips & Kelly Greene, Student Learning Center
Preventing test anxiety play button

Are tests the main reason for stress in your life? There are many tips and tricks that can help to reduce the stress of test taking. This presentation will help you understand what can be done to improve test taking skills and reduce exam stress.

Presentation time: 20 minutes

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- Study Habit Inventory
- How to be Study-Wise
- Test Anxiety

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Memory and Concentration

Cecily Nelson-Alford, Educational Opportunity Program
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Learn the tips and tricks to memory and concentration enhancement.

Presentation time: 18 minutes

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Avoiding Procrastination

Christine Connerly, Student Learning Center
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Don’t delay - watch this one today! One focus is on creating “a cycle of success” that will encourage you to get satisfaction from beginning a task. Time management tips are presented, including a model for an assignment time calculator. Self-motivation tips are also included.

Presentation time: 35 minutes

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- Procrastination Survey
- Break an Unproductive Habit
- The Un-schedule
- Self-discipline & Procrastination

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Planning for Finals

Dr. Pat Patterson, Counseling and Wellness Center
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The final exam in a class is your last opportunity to “seal the deal” on your final grade and what you learned. Learn how to prepare early (Dr. Patterson recommends starting 18 days in advance), study in a systematic way, and anticipate the test questions.

Presentation time: 40 minutes 

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- Test Taking Strategies
- Flashcards
- Time Management Tips
- SQ5R Method



Don’t Let the Strain Take You Out of the Game

Dr. Stephanie Chervinko, Counseling and Wellness Center
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Learn how to cope with, and even prevent, negative stress. Stress can be a positive, as it can motivate you, keep you alert, and help you to perform at your peak level. But too much stress is unhealthy, mentally and physically. Dr. Chervinko looks at how negative stress can be prevented and reduced.

Presentation time: 49 minutes

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Workshop Handout

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Learning More and Testing Better

Dr. Marc Siegall, Management Department
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You can learn better ways of learning and retain class materials by developing a knowledge structure. Dr. Siegall also explains how to get the information from your brain onto the exam answer sheet.

Presentation time: 39 minutes

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APA Style

Scott Lewis, Graduate Student
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APA is a widely-used standard writing style for certain majors, including psychology, sociology, business, economics, nursing, social work, and criminology. This style covers everything from the margins for the printed page to citations and references. Online web sites for further information are also provided.

Presentation time: 44 minutes

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Public Speaking: The Art of Keeping Cool

Taureanna Shimp, CSU, Chico Senior Communications Major
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Studies have shown that one of the most common fears people have is that of public speaking. Taureanna shows you how an organized presentation, combined with the right verbal and non-verbal communication skills, can make public speaking easier. She includes practice strategies and memorization tips you can use in your next class presentation - or any time you speak to a group.

Presentation time: 24 minutes

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- Outline
- Useful Phrases


The Tech-Savvy Student

Quinn O’Brien, CSU, Chico Junior
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Student Quinn O’Brien shares numerous online tools, all of them available for free, that help students organize their work - and their lives. His presentation includes time management programs, calendar programs, and study aids available on the web at any time. One program even provides an innovative way to take notes that arranges the notes in a non-linear pattern.

Presentation time: 41 minutes

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Planning Your Study Time

Christine Connerly, Student Learning Center

Planning Study Time play button

Planning and prioritization of study time is a key to academic success. Christine Connerly goes into detail about how to set up your study space, how to best use your time, how to set up a study kit, how to plan, and more.

Presentation time: 29 minutes

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- College Schedule
- The Balancing Act