Academics Plus Workshop Series


Fall 2020 Schedule

The Academics Plus workshops are designed to help international students and students from diverse linguistic backgrounds transition to Penn by providing study strategies and introducing helpful campus resources. The workshops are an ideal space to discuss academic, language, and cultural topics.

Dates and times for these virtual workshops are listed below. Please register in advance through MyWLRC to receive the Zoom links.

If you have questions about the Academics Plus series, please email Julianne Reynolds, Associate Director and Learning Specialists for International Students, Learning Resources at

Navigating the Virtual U.S. Classroom

  • Tuesday, September 8, 6:30 – 7:30 pm EDT
  • Friday, September 11, 9:30 – 10:30 am EDT

Welcome to Penn! While this semester may not be what you had imagined your study abroad experience to be, we hope to get you off to a strong start by discussing strategies to navigate the virtual U.S. classroom. This workshop will explore topics such as understanding norms and communicating effectively in Zoom meetings, handling time zone differences, and engaging with others from a distance. Join us for an interactive discussion about how to orient yourself academically at Penn and how to thrive emotionally in this remote learning context. This workshop will be co-facilitated by Learning Resources and Counseling and Psychological Services (CAPS).

Managing Your Time in Times of Uncertainty

  • Wednesday, September 9, 6:30 – 7:30 pm EDT
  • Friday, September 18, 9:30 – 10:30 am EDT

Time management skills are always an important key to academic success. During times of uncertainty, these skills become even more important. There will always be things that are outside of your control but managing your own time is something you have a lot of power over. Having this sense of control over your time and finding comfort in your own routines will help you navigate any storm. This workshop will share strategies for effective daily, weekly, and semester planning as well as strategies for managing distractions and building flexibility into your study plans.

Strategic Reading and Critical Thinking for Online Courses

  • Thursday, September 10, 9:30 – 10:30 am EDT
  • Tuesday, September 15, 6:30 – 7:30 pm EDT

Reading primary and secondary sources will enhance your learning and deepen your understanding of the history, theories, and current issues of your field of study. However, the amount of assigned reading can sometimes feel overwhelming, especially when English is a second language. The good news is that there are many pre-, during-, and post-reading strategies you can use to increase your understanding and retention of texts. This workshop will address those strategies and teach you how to adapt your strategies for different courses and different modalities.

Strategies and Tools for Remote Research

  • Monday, September 14, 9:30 – 10:30 am EDT
  • Wednesday, September 16, 6:30 – 7:30 pm EDT

Penn Libraries is a vast system of 15 libraries and millions of books and resources. Where do you even begin when you have a paper to write? Which resources are available virtually and how do you access them? This workshop will focus on finding and selecting appropriate sources using the Franklin catalog on the Penn Libraries website. Join us to learn about strategies and tools for finding the information you need. Then learn about the many ways Learning Resources can support you through the writing process. This workshop will be co-facilitated by Learning Resources and Penn Libraries.

Academic Listening and Note-Taking

  • Thursday, September 17, 9:30 – 10:30 am EDT
  • Tuesday, September 22, 6:30 – 7:30 pm EDT

Information flies fast and furious in lectures and discussions. Are you taking notes on the right things? Do your notes make sense to you when you review them later? Come find out how to identify key information in lectures, maintain your focus and concentration in Zoom meetings and prerecorded lectures, and gain familiarity with a variety of note-taking styles and strategies.

Writing Critically and Cohesively

  • Monday, September 21, 9:30 – 10:30 am EDT
  • Wednesday, September 23, 6:30 – 7:30 pm EDT

Many genres of academic writing ask you to use relevant scholarly research to support your opinion on an issue or topic. This workshop will introduce you to the fine art of engaging with and synthesizing multiple sources while using rhetorical strategies to establish your own voice. Examples referenced will mostly be drawn from published works in the humanities but may be useful no matter what discipline you’re studying.

Additional Resources and Support

This workshop series has concluded, but we encourage you to explore our Resources for Online Learning and the Weingarten Center Blog for strategies and resources related to these topics. In addition, please feel free to schedule an individual consultation with one of our learning specialists through MyWLRC.