Monthly publication - September 2000 Issue
Welcome to the September issue of the Learning Center Newsletter. Hope you had a good summer break and gearing up for a great fall semester.
This issue features the second installment of Frank's Christ Management Strategies and Tips. Also featured this month is an article on "Stress and Students with Learning Disabilities" by Daniel Berkowitz from Boston University. Another article explains how you can be a Good Samaritan by simply browsing the web, and another explains why the Millennium celebrations were a little too early!
The "Person of the Month" column is back this month, and we are pleased to feature another outstanding learning-assistance leader with many valuable contributions.
Hope you enjoy the new issue, and don't forget to share the LCN with your colleagues.Mon Nasser Editor
Management Strategies & Tips
By Frank L. Christ
Tip #3: THINK RESOURCES RATHER THAN MONEY
My learning assistance center was no different than most other centers. There was no line-item budget and no recognized state staffing. To overcome this fiscal challenge, I adopted a philosophy that involved rethinking resources. Here are four ways that involved using existing campus and community resources rather than campus money. I am certain that you can add more to this list.
Dr. Martha Maxwell
Although she retired from U.C. Berkeley in 1979, Martha Maxwell is currently celebrating her 52nd year in learning assistance as she continues to write, mentor, and consult.
After receiving her bachelors, masters, and Ph. D. degrees from the University of Maryland, she founded Reading and Study Skills Labs. at American University, the University of Maryland and The Student Learning Center at the University of California Berkeley. She taught graduate courses in psychology and education at Berkeley and Maryland, and she started The Institute for Learning Assistance Professionals which continues today as the Winter Institute meeting annually in Tucson, Arizona.
Her honors and awards include Founding Fellow of the Council for Developmental Education Associations (2000), Fellow American Psychological Association (1972) , Publication awards from NARDSPE (1979) and NADE (1998) awards from CRLA and the Midwestern College Learning Associations. She is listed in American Men of Science (1960), Who’s Who in the World (2000), the National Registry of Prominent Americans and others.
Her publications include 6 books and over 200 articles in professional journals. Among her books are Improving Skimming and Scanning Skills (McGraw-Hill, 1968); Improving Student Learning Skills: A Comprehensive Guide to Successful Practices and Programs for Increasing the Performance of Under-prepared Students (1979; 2nd edition, revised edition, H&H Publishing Co., 1998). She also edited When Tutor Meets Student (University of Michigan Press, 1994) and From Access to Success: Readings in Learning Assistance and Developmental Education (H&H Publishing Co.) Her most recent book Evaluating Peer Tutoring Programs, ($11.00) is published by MM Associates, Apt. 322, 10450 Lottsford Rd., Mitchellville, MD 20721. Phone: (301) 925-7574. It contains descriptions and references on standards and guidelines for tutoring programs, characteristics of successful programs, outcome measures, case studies, qualitative instruments and 30 pages of surveys and other evaluation instruments that are currently used by tutoring programs.
Stress and Students with Learning Disabilities
By Daniel J. Berkowitz, M.A., Boston University
Stress, the perception of a threat to one's well being and the apprehension that one is unable to cope with the perceived threat, is brought about by the continual adjustments and demands that individuals place upon themselves as they react to given stimuli. As the individual is called upon to adjust to changing situations, the greater the stress which is acquired. Stress is a combination of factors that affect each individual differently. That which is stressful to one person, may not be so to another, and reactions to stressors vary among individuals. "Stress," according to one expert, "is a non-specific response of the body to a demand" (Kopolow, 1987). In the complicated worlds of our students, these 'demands' can come from a variety of directions: academic, social, financial, familial, and others. Stress can manifest itself in ways psychological, physiological and behavioral.
For all the negative publicity it receives, stress is not necessarily a bad thing. It is not always harmful and can result from pleasant experiences as well as unpleasant ones. The human body perceives excitement in much the same way it perceives fear. Both emotions produce stress, which in turn affords the body an extra boost of energy. The physical attributes of stress, which include elevated heart and breathing rates, together with increased adrenaline flow, improve muscle strength and energy levels. Physiologically, stress sharpens an individual's awareness and boosts overall energy levels just when they are needed the most. Having the knowledge and ability to harness this stress energy can help students meet physical challenges, solve problems, complete assignments, and meet their goals.
A potentially serious problem is that the human body is unable to distinguish positive stress from negative stress. Positive stress can become negative stress as the excitement of being in college turns into the fear of being in college. When negative stress becomes excessive or out of control, it becomes harmful. Physically, improved muscle strength may lead to increased muscle contractions and strain. This manifests itself through head and back aches, soreness and stiff necks, digestive problems, and spasms. If left unchecked, increased adrenaline flow can lead to an inability to concentrate, lack of sleep or constant fatigue, an unwillingness to eat or continual hunger, and a variety of nervous symptoms (e.g., grinding teeth, tapping fingers, clenching fists). Stress can also cause physiologically behavioral changes such as emotional distress, fear, forgetfulness, panic attacks, general irritability, and either an inability to communicate or excessive talking.
Are you ready for the new Millennium?
If you thought you won't live to celebrate another millennium, I have news for you: a new millennium is coming in less than 4 months! Despite what you might have heard, we are still in the 20th century and the 2nd millennium. Here is why:
The first year in the common era (CE) was year 1. There was no year 0, and January 1st, year 1 is defined to be the start of the 1st century and the 1st Millennium.
You can verify this by visiting the U.S. Naval Observatory web site, the nation's official time keeper. The address is:
So why all the celebration at the end of 1999? Perhaps it's because the year 2000 has a nice number that rolled the year's 4 digits - sort of like hitting 100,000 miles on your car's odometer. Add to that all the excitement caused by the infamous Y2K computer bug and a common misunderstanding of when the Millennium really starts.
So are you ready to celebrate the new Millennium for a second time :)
Browsing the web can be a good deed indeed!
What an idea: Generate a ton of traffic on the Web while making the world a better place! This is the concept behind some innovative Internet sites attracting millions of people by giving them the opportunity to do a good deed - for free. Here are some examples:
The Hunger Site.
When you visit this site, you will see a number of small advertising banners. When you view the banners, the site sponsors (advertisers) make a donation on your behalf . Each sponsor contributes 1/4 cup of food per visit. So when there are 8 sponsors, you are donating 2 cups of food. You can make one donation every day. The donated food is distributed through the United Nations World Food Programme. Visit the Hunger Site by using the link below:
The Hunger Site began on June 1, 1999 by John Breen of Indiana, a 42-year-old computer programmer who ran it from his house until it was bought up by GreaterGood.com in early February. The site was visited by 34 million people from June to February, resulting in the distribution of more than nine million pounds of food. The site has found international acclaim and is now translated into more than 50 languages.
Race for the Rain Forest
By clicking the "Save the Rain Forest" button daily, you generate a donation to protect rain forest through The Nature Conservancy. The sponsors pay for your donation. Simply click on the link below:
Each visit helps save 12.4 square foot of land. Using the link above will make it possible to track land saved through the LCN. If it is interesting, we'll post the area of the rain forest saved by our readers in future issues.
Charity Mall allows you to donate to charity by shopping on-line. When you make a purchase with any of their participating retailers a piece of the proceeds goes to charity - at NO extra cost to you.
A non-profit organization with a site designed to help people find volunteer and giving opportunities in their own communities and beyond. The organization is partnership between the AOL Foundation and its nonprofit partners.
The National Resource Center for The First-Year Experience and Students in Transition
The National Resource Center for The First-Year Experience and Students in Transition
at the University of South
Carolina was chartered in 1986.
The Center's purpose is the collection and dissemination of information about the first college year and other significant student transitions. This information is used to assist educators enhance
the learning, success, satisfaction, retention, and graduation of college students in transition.
The three Listserv available through the center are:
To subscribe, send a message to firstname.lastname@example.org and ask to be added to the appropriate listserv.
To visit The National Resource Center for The First-Year Experience and Students in Transition, use this web link:
ZoneAlarm is a firewall application. If you use the Internet often, specially if you have a DSL or a cable modem, you need a firewall to protect you against hackers attacks. ZoneAlarm makes your computer invisible to hackers and prevents them from gaining access to your files.
So how secure is your computer? You can find out with a simple test. Visit ShieldsUp! at this site with your web browser:
ShieldsUp! runs a number of tests on your computer and tells you whether it is secure. If not, you need ZoneAlarm.
ZoneAlarm monitors both incoming and outgoing Internet traffic, and warns you when one of your applications tries to send information over the web. This is a good defense against computer worms (programs that pretend to do something innocent while sending your computer data out to a hacker's site). This is also useful in discovering applications that communicate to their developer's web sites without even asking you first. These applications might be simply checking for new updates or sending some troubleshooting info, but it's nice to be aware of what they are doing.
Best of all, ZoneAlarm is free for personal and non-profit use.
To download ZoneAlarm, visit this web site:
For a detailed guide on using ZoneAlarm, visit About.com at:
TRIO Annual Conference
The 19th Annual Conference of The Council for Opportunity in Education will be held in the Hilton Washington and Towers September 17-20. For more info visit the conference web site at:
NCLCA Fifteenth Annual Conference
The National College Learning Center Association (NCLCA), founded in 1985, is a
The Featured Speakers of this year's conference, "Guiding Success: Learning Center Strategies for a New Age", are Martha Casazza & Sharon Silverman.
For more information browse this web site:
NACADA National Conference
The theme of the 24th national conference of the National Academic Advising Association (NACADA) is "Advising in the 21st Century: tradition, Innovation, and Vision". Keynote speakers are Dr. Susan Komives and Dr. Wes Habley. For detailed information visit the conference web site at:
National Conference on Retaining Students of Color: A
Higher Education Initiative
This conference will take place in the Hilton Charlotte University Place, Charlotte, North Carolina. For more information, contact Mike Thomas at 313-845-9690.
National Conference on Students in Transition
Attendees will hear about the latest efforts to change campus structures and programs to promote the learning, success, and retention of college students in transition.
NWCA 5th National Conference
The National Writing Centers Association (NWCA) conference’s goal is to provide a setting where all those who work in writing centers can exchange ideas and information. For more information visit the conference web site at:
CRLA 33rd Annual Conference
The College Reading and Learning Association (CRLA) conference, "Research, Practice, Reflection for a new generation" key note speaker is Gary Soto. Luncheon Speaker-Robert Sherfield.
Time for a reboot?
If you're using Windows 95 or 98, you need to regularly "refresh" your computer by rebooting it. These versions of Windows have a "memory leak" problem, which means as you use applications, less and less resources become available. To regain lost resources, you will need to reboot your computer.
How bad is this problem? During the launch of Windows 2000 back in February, Bill Gates, Microsoft Chairman and Chief Software Architect, spoke on the reliability of the new operating system. He mentioned that ZD Labs tested the new and older operation systems by simulating usage during a typical high-end work day. With Windows 95 they found that after only 2 days of running this load, they would have to reboot. With Windows NT 4.0, it was about 5 days before they had to reboot. Windows 2000 ran for over 90 days and it did not go down. While this speaks well of Windows 2000's reliability, it does not speak much of the older operating systems.
How do you know how much resources Windows has lost?
First you will need to know the full amount of resources available to Windows before any of it is lost. This full amount is what you have available right after you boot up your system. Wait until Windows has booted up and settled down, then start a small application such as MS Calculator (Windows Start button, Programs, Accessories, Calculator). When the Calculator is loaded, click on its Help menu item then select "About Calculator". You will see a dialogue box similar to the following:
The important line here is the percent of "System resources" available shown at the bottom of the dialogue box. After a reboot and before running any apps, you will have the maximum percent of free resources. In the example above, the number is 80%. Read what this percentage is for your system and write it down. By the way, if you're wondering why this is not 100%, the answer is that Windows itself has some tasks running that use some of the available resources. In addition, there are some programs that start automatically when your computer boots up. For example, your computer might be running RealPlayer or a virus protection program in the background.
As you use apps and close them up, the percentage of available resources will start to decrease. To see how much resources are lost after using the computer for a while, close all apps you started after checking the "after boot" resources, and launch the Calculator again. Click on "About Calculator" and notice the percent of available resources. Compare this to the number you wrote down earlier. The difference between these two is the percent of resources Windows has lost so far. For example, if the percentage of available resources is 65%, then Windows has lost 80-65=15% of the available resources.
The main symptom of dwindling resources is that applications start to slow down. If you continue using the computer, it might run out of resources and lock up. If you have lost more than 10 percent of the available resources, it might be time for a reboot. I reboot my computer at least once per day, and more often if an application crashes.
Actual Business Signs
From the Oracle Humor Mailing List]
"Many people dream of success. To me
success can only be achieved through repeated failure and introspection. In
fact, success represents 1 percent of your work, which results from the 99
percent that is called failure."
"The secret to success in life is to make your
vocation your vacation."
"You must be the change you wish to see in the
"The greater part of our happiness or misery depends on
our dispositions, and not on our circumstances."
"All of our dreams can come true -- if we have the
courage to pursue them."
"Work as if you were to live 100 years, Pray as if
you were to die tomorrow."
"If you want to get a good idea, get a lot of
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This newsletter is produced by Mon Nasser from Engineerica Systems, Inc. My thanks to Frank Christ and Daniel J. Berkowitz for contributing to this issue, and to Dr. Martha Maxwell our September Person of the Month.
The August issue of the Learning Center Newsletter featured:
To view the August issue, click here.
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