Motee News

Guest Contributor Lucy Parsons Gives Us 5 Great Tips for College Success

Written by Andrew on August 21, 2018
top five tips for college success by lucy parsons
How to get your studies off to a flying start this college year

With the start of a new college year you’ll be eager to get your studies off to a flying start. You’re thinking along the right lines, because starting as you mean to go on is the key to success in any academic pursuit.

In this article I’m going to share with you how to make this your best year ever, as far as your studies are concerned.

1. Pick classes that you love

The best way to lose your motivation and go off track with your studies is to study subjects you don’t love. If you want to excel you need to stick to subjects that you’re passionate about and naturally want to learn more about. This is the quickest and least painful way to be successful at university or college.

2. Manage your time tightly

With classes, deadlines, clubs, sports and social activities coming out of your ears it’s often difficult to keep track of what you need to do and when. My advice is to get a tight grip on all of this right at the beginning of the first semester. Get a piece of paper, open up Excel or create a google doc which shows all the days of the week, and all 24 hours of the day. Then fill in this grid with all your regular commitments. If your commitments are irregular, you might need a grid for every week of the semester. (You can download a grid to help you with this here).

Once you’ve got all your commitments written in, add in your independent study times. When I was at Cambridge University in the UK, I managed my time by treating my studies like an office job. I studied from 9am to 6pm then had the evening for social engagements. I kept this arrangement until the final few weeks of my third year when I started to study in the evenings as well.

When you map out your time clearly like this you never have to feel guilty about having fun and you never have to feel like you’re missing out on the fun when you’re studying. You know you’ve got a balance of both and that you’re making the most of life at college.

3. Establish good study habits

It’s very easy to sit at your desk or in a library for hours not achieving very much. However, if you establish good habits you’ll get on much better and waste much less time. Habits that I’d encourage at college are:

  • Reading through lecture notes at the end of every day to make sure you’ve understood them
  • Keeping a clear record of your reading material so that you’re able to accurately reference it in your essays
  • Sharing essays and other submitted work with your classmates so that you all get much more out of each assignment set

If you stick with your good habits they will serve you well throughout the college year.

4. Assess your own work

When you’ve written essays or assignments to be submitted, or you’re practicing for tests or exams, make sure you always critically evaluate your own work. This is explained in my blog post on the Revision Power Hour.

By taking the time to read and reflect on your own work you will ensure that you are learning from both what you’re doing well and what you can improve. If possible, reference mark schemes or work in collaboration with fellow students to give feedback on each other’s work and help each other to improve.

5. Be consistent

Success in education is all about consistency – not about leaving everything until the last minute. Make sure you set yourself up for success my being consistent throughout the college year.

I hope these tips will help you make the most of your time at college. Best of luck!

Lucy Parsons is an Academic Coach based in the UK and author of The Ten Step Guide to Acing Every Exam You Ever Take. She studied geography at Cambridge University. Check out her blog and podcast at www.lifemoreextraordinary.com or connect with her on twitter.

Motee News

Motee FAQ

Written by Andrew on August 13, 2018

Motee FAQ

Is Motee free?

Yes! Motee is a completely free service for any student enrolled in a U.S. college or university. It’s easy to sign up for free using your campus email — click here and select “Sign Up.”

Is Motee available at my school?

Yes! Motee can be used at any 2 or 4-year college or university. You need a valid .edu email account to use Motee. If you have trouble registering, it might be because we have not added your school. Send us an email at [email protected] and we will add your school.

How is Motee different from the discussion boards my professors use for my classes?

Motee is completely student-driven and student-oriented. You don’t have to wait for a professor to set up a class discussion for you. You can do it yourself and share it with your classmates. You can set up a discussion for any subject, topic, campus group or event, club, sport, etc. The Motee class forums are not moderated by professors — students rule!

If it’s free to join Motee, are you selling my data?

Absolutely not! We will never sell your data and your information is private and secure on the Motee site. We earn money through selling small-scale ad space in the Motee forum to local businesses interested in recruiting top students to future careers in their organizations.

Note to Universities and Colleges

Motee is an open platform for every college or university student on any campus. We ask that community participants follow and conform to their college code of conduct. There are no requirements of the college or administration. Motee wants to add value to the students’ campus experience and be a supplement to the many resources offered on campus.

Ready? Get started now by clicking “Sign Up!”
Motee News

What TED Talks Have Taught Me About Collaboration

Written by Andrew on May 9, 2018

Collaboration is the secret ingredient of many of the world’s greatest innovations, works of art, and social advances. I’ve used TED Talks to research this blog post about collaboration. You can learn to take advantage of collaboration for better results in college. I don’t mean top marks. I mean a full-on, superbetter moment that will carry you forward.

Too often, we consider college coursework a solitary practice. You attend a class, research a paper, and read or practice homework problems alone. It’s time to consider a new strategy. In his TED Talk ,“The New Power of Collaboration,” Howard Rheingold tracks the way humans have used sharing to empower themselves.  Sharing is in your best interest.

Share the workload. Share your knowledge and skills with others. If you are good at proofreading papers, share that skill with your friends through tutoring. If you have an interesting connection but can’t get the words down, talk out your idea with a friend who can capture your thoughts into words. Peer tutor another student. Hire a peer tutor for consistent and relatable homework help. That’s not cheating. It’s using your collaboration capacity and it empowers everyone on the team.

We have to break the mythology of the single genius. There is no solitary genius. The process of collaboration is messy, iterative and interrelated. That’s ok and normal. And really, when in life is there a better environment for messiness than college?

The trick, according to Linda Hill in her TED Talk, “How to Manage for Collective Creativity,” is organizing the talents and passions of other people into work that is meaningful. Change from looking at your class work as a single endeavor. Find others who want to experience the class with a high grade or enjoy the classes subject and organize around that common thread. That is the “meaningful” component that will motivate everyone and produce top results.

Peer to peer networks redefine what friend and neighbor mean, explains Rachel Botsman in her TED talk. Collaboration improves the value of community. College maximizes the power of community. That design encourages peer to peer collaboration interaction.

It’s going to take a leap of faith. Trust is the social glue that binds our communities together.  College is a safe environment to explore the interplay between trust and reputation. That space lets complete strangers structure strong communities. Botsman calls this reputation capital.

Motee lets you build your reputation capital.  Express compliments and gratitude for your friends actions on campus. It’s an extension to your campus best qualities.

Everyone has the ability to share their knowledge or skills with someone else who needs them. I invite you to start sharing your skills with your friends and peers.  Enlist others to help grow your own skills. Collaboration is the one common ingredient that makes brilliant innovations and successes.  It is time to rethink college as a solo pursuit and embrace the power of collaboration.

Want to keep reading about the positive benefits of collaboration? Check out Tori Conange’s college lifestyle blog, Chase the Write Dream, and her thoughts on Motee. Or Ali In Bloom’s personal take on collaboration and motivation.

Motee News

Best Advice for Dream Work: Take the Hard Class

Written by Andrew on March 19, 2018
Why would you ever take the hard class?

Take the hard class? It’s a good question. It’s normal to resist doing hard things because we might fail in the attempt and get things wrong. But if you are not failing with some reasonable frequency, then you are not moving the frontier of what you can create. “Take hard classes,” Erika said, in a recent interview with N&O reporter Evie Thompson. “Don’t be afraid that your GPA is going to fall. When you get out in the real world, no one cares what your GPA is…You’re going to learn so much, and then when you do get out in the real world, you’ll be that person in your workplace that people turn to.” Motee is an example of what taking the hard class can let you create.

Working with Limits

One key aspect of creating Motee has been to work within a limited budget. There’s no doubt that a large budget allows someone to execute faster and cover their mistakes. However, there is a benefit to financial boundaries. We have had to prioritize and scale the service. Doing so taught us how manage the project thoughtfully.
It’s hard to look at a problem with a curious eye and engage with another person on the best solution. It’s vulnerable. It challenges social and communication skills. And that produces growth and creative solutions.

Teamwork Makes the Dream Work

Erika and I work together like students do in a study group. We divide tasks, discuss direction, and find consensus that leads to a positive value, solution, or bold new direction. It is not quick or easy. But it is rewarding and energizing. Our work requires collaboration and cooperative learning, just like a study group or group project. Those are skills for any occupation. We are creating value — value in our own professional selves and a value for learning. As Cal Newton, author of “Deep Work,” points out, “If you can produce something that’s rare and is valuable, the market will value that. What the market dismisses for the most part are activities that are easy to replicate and produce a small amount of value.”

Motee has more to offer than what we have created so far. That might be the most exciting observation. We have a foundation that is letting us reach beyond our own limits. Eddie Izzard, one of my favorite comedians, gives me the most perspective when he says, “Don’t get somewhere as fast as possible. Get somewhere as good as possible.” You can only do that by taking the hard class.

-Paul at Motee

Motee News

Peer Learning: The Best Hack for Ultimate College Success and Beyond

Written by Andrew on February 19, 2018

peer learning for college success motee

Peer learning can improve your child’s college experience and set them up for future success. Research conducted by Gallup-Purdue demonstrated a surprising and significant detail. Students who worked together as peer tutors, mentors, or in peer study groups gained more from their university experiences.

If you want to see your child flourish after graduation, suggest they find a peer tutor and become a peer teacher themselves.

Peer to peer teaching

Peers have been helping colleagues or friends increase their grades and their level of understanding since Aristotle. I am sure you remember a classmate who had a knack for a subject. Or you may remember teaching a friend. That is peer to peer teaching. “Peer teaching is a method by which one student instructs another student in material on which the first is an expert and the second is a novice.”

Peer learning participants “are not merely teachers or learners, but are actually co-creating the learning context as a whole,” writes Charles Danoff. The peer learner/teacher context creates a more social safe place to share critiques, exchange ideas, and evolve into growth mindset. In simple terms, it is more comfortable and social to learn with a friend.

Better Student Performance

Several studies demonstrate higher test marks among students engaged in peer tutorial, in a wide variety of age ranges. One study reported that “participants showed higher academic achievement on unit tests, rated themselves as more satisfied with the class, were better adjusted psycho-socially, and frequently used their partner as a supportive resource in the course.”

By its nature, peer learning is active. Students respond to each other more socially, supportively, and collaboratively when learning together. The result is more stimulating for all the participants. Leif Bryngfors, head of the SI Centre at the Faculty of Engineering summarizes, “Students can achieve more than they think…They don’t have to worry about their performance being assessed, because there is no lecturer present; rather they can reflect on their own learning on their own terms. This ‘silent knowledge’ also strengthens students’ self-confidence.” Benefits of peer tutoring include a balance between grades, growth mindset, and social development.

Social Well-being

Peer to peer learning strengthens bonds between students and builds friendships around shared experiences. Students feel comfortable learning with a classmate or a friend of similar age and relatable experiences. Studies show peer to peer tutorial improves friendship bonds, team building, and collaboration skills. “Peeragogy suggests a broader view on thinking aloud: instead of traditional didactics, in a peer-based context, speech flows in a network, and thinking is done in an inherently social way.” The results allow students to feel more connected with their own agency and an increased sense of responsibility. Peer learning creates a support system. The students work together in cooperation to mentor each other. The relationship is an important process for learning how to network and build subject competency and self-direction.

Immediately Accessible

Peer learning is also more accessible to the student. Professors are often not available when a point of critical learning is present. Learning with peer tutors helps when the need is high and pressing. The Motee platform for university students works to create a tool to connect learners with one-on-one tutors at the point when some sort of obstacle arises. “It’s like asking to borrow a pen,” says founder Erika Williamson. “Seeing who is in your chemistry class or who had the course a semester before saves time. You don’t get side-tracked endlessly searching Google for a similar problem. It’s just boom – that person can help right now.”

Why should parents encourage their child to employ peer learning in college?

College is a challenge. Overcoming challenges requires a growth mindset. For most students college is the first time they are away and on their own. Encourage your child to find a peer tutor or become a peer tutor. It can create career experience, form strong social bonds that empower the students, and build role models and support structures that help your child succeed in life.

For more on the benefits of collaboration and surrounding yourself with positive people, read Ali In Bloom’s tips for surviving college.

Motee News

What Motivates Team Motee

Written by Andrew on July 13, 2017

Just what motivates team Motee? A few months ago, the Motee Team talked to students on six campuses in the Triangle about their experiences in study groups and peer learning relationships.

What they told us inspired me. It was greater than motivation. It was a call to action. I heard students express that getting it right isn’t about a correct answer; it is about a meaningful exchange that creates the will to do. It is the pursuit and glorious self, wisdom or knowledge discovery. Those conversations generated a kind of energy. Each person expressed a desire to go beyond. To create. To be a part of something great.

Here’s some of what they told us. I see something remarkable. Do you see it too?

“Teaching is learning” Middlebury College – Computer Science major

“I figured out my first semester, first year, that having a study partner there to work with keeps me on task.” Meredith College – Economics major

“Right before Finals, I get in a study group and we split up the study guide sections and then come back together and compare notes. It makes me feel more driven and motivated.” UNC-Chapel Hill – Journalism and Public Relations senior

“I was never in a study group in high school, but I’ve been in some here. It makes studying more fun, and you learn more from others.” UNC-Chapel Hill – Biology/ English major

“I don’t really like to study in groups; it’s too distracting. But I LOVE helping others, especially in science labs.” Meredith College – International Business major

“Normally I like to study alone, but I like to collaborate in groups in my own field (Social Work/Psychology). I really like to be the group facilitator. It helps me make connections, feel included, and listen and think through things.” Durham Tech – Psychology sophomore

Writing this, I’m sitting in a wide open co-working space not unlike a library common room. Across the room I see people engaged in pursuit. Conversation. Sitting at tables. Quietly working out computer code, writing email, and drawing on whiteboards. Further across the room is a mural of a human in full space suit walking in space. Not far a large piece of the Berlin wall stands watch. People are engaged in their own higher endeavors.

When I glance at the astronaut walking in space or gaze at the Berlin wall monument. I know the distance it takes us to reach our goals. University students I see you. I see your ability. I see your willingness to reach beyond the ordinary and create something new. And I am motivated.