Saddleback College offers free workshops to help students succeed

Students take advantage of the study space on the second floor of the LRC (Melanie Roberts/lariat)

Melanie Roberts

Starting this month, Saddleback College is offering free library and student success workshops in the Learning Resource Center (LRC) to help students succeed in their classes and learn valuable research, note-taking, study and time-management skills.

“We are converting the LRC and library into a hub for student learning,” said Patricia Flanigan Chapin, dean of learning resources and online education. “What we want to do is create a series of workshops that really make sense for our students.”

Flanigan said that the LRC is where students go for studying, tutoring and labs, so the college is integrating free workshops into classrooms and online to help students stay on track.

“One of the things that I’ve seen as a dean is that when you come to Saddleback College or a college environment, it’s very different from the high school and many students don’t know how to study,” Flanigan said. “The workshops are going to show you how to look through our databases and ultimately make you a better student and save you time.”

There are two different series of workshops, the library series and the student success series.

The library workshops will focus on teaching research skills when finding sources for papers, writing essays and searching for information online.

According to librarian Ana Maria Cobos, there are eight workshops available to students and each has a specific focus or aspect related to research. Each workshop is 50 minutes long and is open to 32 students. The library staff takes turns teaching them in LRC 314.

The most popular workshop is “Finding Articles,” according to Cobos. In the workshop, students learn how to use library databases, what they are and what they contain in order to find relevant sources for essays and other college papers. Last spring there were approximately 600 students enrolling in the online version of the tutorial. 

“We don’t give you answers, we teach you how to do it,” Cobos said.

In addition to the workshops being offered in the LRC, two of the library workshops (“Finding Articles” and “Do It Yourself”) will be available online. “Finding Articles,” will be available 24/7, while “Do It Yourself,” that teaches students how to keep research organized and avoid plagiarism, will be available as a webinar that must be attended at the specified time.

While the library workshops help students with research, the student success workshops, in LRC 214 and 230, will help them to succeed in the classroom through note taking, building test-taking skills and setting up goals.

“These workshops will really stress how to be successful in a college environment,” Flanigan said.

In “How to Succeed in an Online or Hybrid Class,” expert faculty in online education will teach students how to access online classes, use the discussion boards, post things, take quizzes and manage online activities.

The leads for the success workshops are Christina Hinkle, political science and history instructor, and Caroline Gee, psychology instructor.

“I think what’s important for students to know is that things have changed with the library,” Flanigan said. “It’s not just going in to get books. A lot of what we have is online, so having the resources and being able to access them is really unique.”

These workshops and resources have helped students with flexibility, Cobos said. “Community college students are so busy with a lot of family responsibility, work responsibility and a high number of our students work, so the availability of materials, when they don’t have to come in person is great.”

“Twenty percent of full-time students are taking online classes,” Flanigan said. “So it’s really important for us to do things like have our library workshops and our library accessible from online.”

Flanigan said that some of the faculty members are offering students extra credit, or are requiring them to take these workshops for their courses and many students attend for those reasons.

Rosters of attendance are tracked, so that instructors can see who went to the workshops. 

Students can sign up for library workshops ahead of time at the reference desk by calling or coming in person. However for the student success workshops, students must sign up by registering for Tutoring 300 through MySite.


Library workshops schedule:

Student Success workshops schedule: