Frequently Asked Questions: Learning Resources

What is learning instruction?Students meet individually with learning instructors to develop reading, writing, time management and study strategies appropriate for particular assignments, courses, or fields of study. Learning instructors are not content tutors.
Who uses the Office of Learning Resources?Penn undergraduate, graduate, and professional students use our free and confidential services.
Do I have to know exactly what I need before I meet with a learning instructor?No. During your first meeting, your learning instructor will guide you through a self-evaluation of your reading, writing and studying strategies.
What should I bring with me?The more we know about your work the better we can help you. We recommend bringing any of the following items:

1. course syllabi and/or relevant handouts;
2. planner or calendar;
3. current assignment, including any work-in-progress (two copies);
4. textbooks or other reading materials;
5. anything else, including your questions.

These materials will allow you and your learning instructor to develop appropriate learning strategies.

Is it better to drop in during walk-in hours or should I schedule an appointment?You decide! Walk-ins are on a first-come-first-served basis and last for up to 30 minutes. Scheduled appointments are 50 minutes and can be arranged in advance. We recommend scheduling an appointment if you are:

1. meeting with a learning instructor for the first time;
2. meeting regularly with the same instructor;
3. discussing a paper that is longer than five, double-spaced pages.

What if I can’t keep my appointment?Please call our office as soon as possible at 215-573-9235 to reschedule your appointment.
How often can I meet with a learning instructor?Unfortunately, due to the high demand for our services, we limit your scheduled appointments to once a week and ask that you limit yourself to one walk-in each week.
Will my professors, advisors, or family be notified that I am meeting with a learning instructor?No, the services at Learning Resources are confidential. Without your written consent, we cannot discuss your use of our services with anyone in the University community or your family.
Can a learning instructor help me with the content of the courses I am currently taking?No. For questions about course content, you should contact your professor, the TA or the Tutoring Center.
Does the Office of Learning Resources offer speed reading courses?No. Reputable research suggests that “speed reading” courses sacrifice comprehension and retention for speed. However, we can help you read better, retain more and manage the volume of your reading assignments.
I have a research project and all I have is the deadline! How can the Office of Learning Resources help?First, don’t panic. Bring all relevant information about the assignment to your appointment, and your learning instructor will work with you to break down the assignment into manageable parts, develop a plan and set preliminary deadlines.
Can my study group meet with a learning instructor?Sure. Your learning instructor can work with your group to organize and manage your time, develop a plan to approach an assignment, or utilize effective strategies for group study.
If I bring in a paper, will someone check my grammar?No, but your learning instructor can review your paper with you, identify your common grammar mistakes and suggest corrections. Bring two copies of your paper to your meeting.
Can someone proofread and edit my paper?No. However, a learning instructor will review your paper with you and teach you how to edit and proofread your own papers. Bring two copies to your learning instruction session.
Can I work with a learning instructor on my take-home exam?Absolutely not. Working with students on take-home exams violates the University’s Code of Academic Integrity.
I feel very “down” recently. Can I talk to a learning instructor about my non-academic problems?Learning Instructors can help you with a wide range of academic concerns, but cannot help you with emotional or psychological issues. Contact Counseling and Psychological Services (CAPS) for help.