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Learning Tools - Humanities

Learning Tools for student study help in HUM courses. Instructors that are interested in improving this page should consider applying for the Faculty Fellowship.


The mission of the Learning Commons is

"to offer pathways for students to connect, integrate, & create ideasin order to deepen and develop  knowledge.”

Learning tools provide students with meaningful ways to practice skills & discover what they think about new ideas presented in class lectures and readings. These resources are developed by peer tutors and faculty fellows to make learning more accessible. Students are encouraged to make use of these resources to study independently or with a tutor. Please feel free to contact the Learning Commons with suggestions about how to improve & expand these resources more meaningfully.


Study Tips

  • Recognize that you will have to study differently in Humanities than for Math & Science classes
    • There are no traditional "problem sets" to do
    • It's easy to get a false sense of security about what you do (not) know
  • Keep up on the weekly reading
    • Take reading notes so that you can find exactly what you want
  • Learn to Contextualize
    • There are always "shades of gray" underneath every ethical question
  • Learn to Close Read
    • Don't take things for granted--especially words!
    • Ask lots of questions and look for supporting evidence
    • You can write a good paper focused around 1-2 paragraphs than an entire book
    • If you are struggling, as your instructor if they will do an in-class activity to demonstrate this or help students practice this.
      • Contact instructors privately, after class so they have time to prepare
      • Let instructors know if a particular activity was helpful & ask if another opportunity can be scheduled.
      • They may not always be able to but often they will try!
  • Compose written answers carefully
    • Take a position & explain it carefully
    • Two people can have the same answer, for very different reasons
    • Two people can have the same answer for the same reason--and get different grades because of how well it was explained.
  • Many courses are built up thematically
    • Look for conflicts, values, motifs, etc. that constantly come up in class
    • Know that this is NOT a coincidence--figure out why these are important to the class
  • "Spark Note" Warning
    • Be careful with third-party summaries & study guides.
      • Sometimes they are poorly written
      • They are "filtered" through the writer's opinion & may not reflect the original text well
      • You might end up making an argument (without knowing it) and have no supporting facts!

Developing Study Skills for this Subject


Consider attending the following workshops to improve study skills:

  • Blackboard Basics
  • Getting Organized
  • General Test Taking Tips
  • How to Study
  • Notetaking Strategies
  • Textbook Reading Strategies
  • Office 365
  • Planning Projects

Improving study skills for College is important for independent learning. Picking up a few "study hacks" from tutors can help make you more efficient and productive.