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Language Center to bring back workshops

Last updated on February 17, 2016

By: Jessica Peña, Staff Writer


The Language Center and the Thigpen Library will be working in conjunction this semester to bring back MLA/APA workshops at Volunteer State Community College.

An MLA/APA workshop is a place where students can get information about how to set up documents using those specific format methods.

Through explanation and practice, students will be able to take away some of the stress that comes along with research papers.

“Obviously, these formats take longer than one hour to learn, but the workshops are quick, and they will cover general things students need to learn, so that at the very least when they are writing their papers, they don’t have to lose sight of their content and focus of their paper,” said Suzanne Previte, an English instructor and the Language Center Director.

Previte said she believes the biggest motivation to come to these workshops is to take away the anxieties students feel when faced with the specifics of the format.

“They get so caught up in the subtleties and the specifics about the format that they often waste time focusing on the format and take time away from the focus of their paper, which is vitally important,” said Previte.

Previte has been a part of the Vol State faculty for six years and the MLA/APA workshops through the Thigpen Library began last semester.

“I’ve been talking about doing the workshop for years. But with a workshop, you need space and you need people who can do them.

“Working in conjunction with the library, we have both of those things,” said Previte.

The MLA/APA workshops will be done in the Library Instruction Center located on the second floor of the Thigpen Library.

There, students will find the resources on hand to implement the format practices as they are being presented by the instructors.

“I have been conducting workshops since I’ve worked at Monmouth University in 1997.

Workshops are vital.

“Doing them does actually add to my ideas about learning and instruction, but that’s not at all new.

“It’s something that I have been doing for ten years at different institutions. We did workshops when I was in Auburn University and Columbus State University,” said Previte.

If universities did not have a workshop to begin with, Previte said that she would definitely be the one encouraging them.

“Another thing that’s very important about the workshops is that they’re quick and they don’t take that much from the student.

“Students can go to a workshop and even if they pick up very little, it is still more than they had when they walked in the room, added Previte.

The success of the student is the main priority of the workshops and the instructors in the Thigpen Library.

“Students from past workshops expressed appreciation for what they learned and that it helped them successfully complete research assignments.

“On a personal level, this type of feedback makes me feel so grateful to be in a position where I can help students feel more confident using citation styles as it is a challenging part of the research process for everyone,” said Sarah Smith, Director of Library Services and Learning Resources.

“Students should expect to leave the class feeling more comfortable with their ability to incorporate APA or MLA style into their papers.

“Too, students will understand why different styles are required by their professors and that there is a meaningful purpose to citing sources,” said Smith.

Previte also says that she would like to see more workshops being offered at Vol State and would like students to recognize the importance of workshops as a whole.

“As we do more of them, they will be as common, if you will, as the Language Center or the library. It just takes time to establish that.

“We are going to do it every semester and it’s just beginning now, but it’s looking very promising, said Previte.

Previte will be instructing the MLA workshops and Smith will be instructing the APA workshops.

Laura Sheets, the Library Instruction Coordinator, will be overseeing the workshops as well.

“Citations are stressful because they are important but I see many students making them harder than necessary. In these workshops, we’ll talk about the philosophy behind citation styles, which makes the process of creating the citations themselves much easier.

“We want students to know that coming to these workshops will help take the burden of citing sources off their plate, so they can focus on research and writing,” said Sheets.

The workshops will help students free up time to dedicate to the more important aspects of the writing process such as research, organization and drafting.

Sheets said she loves having this chance to work toward a common goal with her department and the faculty outside of the Thigpen Library.

“I view every interaction with students as an opportunity to become a better teacher. I learn just as much from students as they learn from me.

“They motivate me to be a better teacher, inspire me to try new things in the classroom and remind me of the joy of learning,” said Sheets.

The librarians and Language Center tutors are on campus every day to help make students’ life easier and utilize the tools that can help their college and professional career.

The MLA/APA instructors said they hope to increase student attendance to these workshops by the Fall 2016 semester.

Vol State students can register online for the February MLA/APA workshops at the Language Center web page:


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