York University has launched a new online study resource that brings together academic support services available on campus in one centralized place — the Study Hub.
The Study Hub is the brainchild of Stephanie Christopher, Myda Kavazanjian and Pam Smith, counsellors and educators with Counselling and Disability Services (CDS) at York University. When students turned to them for help with academic challenges or to build their learning skills and habits, they realized that York offered no lack of resources — but that finding them was an altogether different matter.
At a large university, with 11 Faculties, nine colleges and two campuses, the dispersion of resources comes as little surprise. Yet the three counsellors, with technical support from York University Information Technology’s Rod Potter in particular, wanted to alleviate the stresses that students might experience while attempting to locate suitable academic support and collaborated to create a central access platform. The Study Hub directs students to workshops on anything from note taking to essay writing to improved time management hosted by a variety of York entities such as York Libraries, Learning Skills Services or the Career Centre. Likewise, the website lists study groups or peer-mentoring services from all colleges and Faculties.
Students can also learn how to set up their own study groups, how to recognize early signs of academic struggle and what to do about it and how to go about finding or advertising one-on-one tutoring services. While much of the website is accessible to the public, students must use their Passport York logins to view the tutor and study group listings on a Kijiji-like bulletin board.
Christopher, one of the site’s originators, notes that the Study Hub has a further advantage beyond helping students understand course material better, improving their academic skill set or aiding in their personal development: the creation of a sense of community for those attending York.
“We see students, particularly in first year, who are commuting to York feeling isolated and not knowing any people in their class, so the Study Hub offers a new way to engage with the York community.” The network of assistance in fact stretches from freshly minted Lions who are just beginning their academic journey to upper-year students and alumni, the latter of whom can advertise their tutoring services.
Before launching the project, Christopher and her colleagues conducted research on other universities and what they offered students in terms of study help. At York, the Study Hub is the first to house in one place multiple resources that already exist on campus.
“We invite students to go to the website and try it out,” Christopher says. “We hope that students find it helpful, and that it reduces the frustration of not knowing where to get assistance.” The more people make use of the new resource, her colleague Kavazanjian adds, the better it will become, potentially making it a York household name for academic support in the near future.
The Study Hub can be found at www.yorku.ca/studyhub.