Students Staff

Workshops - Autumn Term 2017

Our workshops are open to all students and are run at both our Colchester and Southend campuses during term time. Each workshop lasts about 50 minutes.

If you can't attend a workshop, you can use our 1:1 advising service. Our advisers can help you with all aspects of academic study and assignment preparation, including help with your dissertation.

Workshops will be held in the TDC Helpdesk area of the Silberrad Student Centre, unless otherwise stated. To book a place, either visit the Helpdesk and sign up, or call our team on extension 4834. Bookings are essential as places are limited. Bookings can't be made via email

Autumn term

Week 2: beginning 9 October 2017

  • Time management


    • Tuesday 10 October, 12noon

    Provides hints and tips on how to manage your studies without over-stressing. This is a very practical workshop, delivered by someone who knows just how difficult it is to fit everything in and meet deadlines. Come along and learn how to do it – and relax and enjoy!

  • Study skills: university lectures


    • Thursday 12 October, 12noon

    To get the best from your lectures, it is not enough to turn-up and listen - you also need to prepare, take effective notes and have a review and revision strategy in place that works for you. This session will present some well-tested strategies for lecture research, note-taking and review. The workshop will be task-based; you need to come (with a note pad and pen!) prepared to try out different approaches to find out what suits your learning style best. We'll be looking at ways to work with a lecture study partner too – so persuade a friend along, if you can.

  • Returning to study


    • Thursday 12 October, 1pm

    Are you a student who is returning to study after a long break or perhaps entering the academic world for the first time? This workshop will encourage you to think about what it means to be a student and how to get the most out of academic study. It will help you to thrive in an academic environment and signpost where you can get additional support to help you along the way.

  • Maths workshops

Week 3: beginning 16 October 2017

  • Writing well: academic style


    • Tuesday 17 October, 12noon

    Knowing how to write at university and what is expected of you can feel confusing. This session will help you with both practical ways of improving your writing and help you think about the principles and questions that underpin the idea of academic style.

  • Using reading lists: TALIS (LRR Training Room)


    • Tuesday 17 October, 1pm

    Make the most of online reading lists using Talis Aspire. This interactive session will introduce you to reading lists and how to use them to best support your reading. Learn how to access all the resources that you need quickly and easily and use the extra features such as notes and reading intentions to organise your reading. This session will take place in the Library Reading Room – Training Room – Ground Floor Albert Sloman Library.

  • Effective reading notes


    • Thursday 19 October, 12noon

    In this workshop we will discuss why and how we make notes from our reading. We will consider the benefits of making notes, such as avoiding plagiarism, saving time and helping our understanding of text. We will go on to consider the merits of a variety of note-making techniques.

  • Referencing made easy (LRR Training Room)


    • Thursday 19 October, 1pm

    This interactive session will introduce you to referencing and why it is important when writing your assignments. You will also learn what to reference, how to construct your references, and where to go for help and support. This session will take place in the Library Reading Room – Training Room – Ground Floor Albert Sloman Library.

  • Maths workshops

Week 4: beginning 23 October 2017

  • In your own words: How to use reading in your writing


    • Tuesday 24 October, 12noon

    This workshop looks at how you can engage with difficult academic texts and use them in your own writing. As well as discussing the practicalities of how you paraphrase, summarise and quote from sources, we will also think about how to engage critically with texts, and how reading relates to writing.

  • Building up your maths confidence


    • Tuesday 24 October, 2pm

    If you are worried about the maths content of your course, come to this session to pick up tips about how to actively manage your learning process and your study time.

  • Converting between Decimals, Fractions and Percentages


    • Tuesday 25 October, 1.30pm

    Fractions, decimals and percentages are frequently used in everyday life. Knowing how to convert between them improves general number work and problem solving skills. This session will help you understand percentage as the number of parts per 100, recognise the equivalence of fractions, decimals and percentage and calculate percentages and use them to solve problems.

  • Evidencing critical thinking


    • Thursday 26 October, 12noon

    Critical thinking is at the heart of every academic discipline, and whilst it can sound like a daunting term, it is something that you are already familiar with from your everyday life. In this session we will look at how to make sure you are approaching your studies critically, and how you can develop your existing skills and practices.

  • Critical Thinking: Arguments, Opinions & Beliefs


    • Thursday 26 October, 12non

    In this workshop we will be looking closely at what constitutes an argument. Regardless of your background, academic papers require you to construct an argument defending a given conclusion from well laid out premises. This session will focus, therefore, on clarifying in what ways arguments differ from opinions, beliefs, or mere assertions. You will learn how to construct an argument for academic purposes by gaining an understanding of what premises are and by grasping the ways in which a conclusion may be validly inferred from those premises.

Week 5: beginning 30 October 2017

  • Critical Thinking: Assessing Arguments


    • Tuesday 31 October, 1pm

    In this workshop you will learn how to critically assess arguments. Although sometimes academic arguments can be simple and straightforward, they can often be complex and confusing. Learning how to identify the several parts that make up an argument and learning how those parts relate to one another to yield some conclusion, however, will put you in a good position to evaluate the quality of a given academic argument. By the end of this session you will know how to critically assess whether an academic argument is good or bad, valid or invalid, sound or unsound.

  • Differentiation


    • Wednesday 1 November, 10am

    In this workshop we will look at the idea of derivative how a derivative can be used to describe the rate of change of one quantity with respect to another. We will review the rules of differentiation to computethe derivatives of different types of functions and solve basic problems using the mathematics of these concepts.

  • Simplifying and Factorising algebraic expressions


    • Wednesday 1 November, 12noon

    In algebra, simplifying and factoring expressions are opposite processes. Simplifying an expression often means removing a pair of parentheses; factoring an expression often means applying them.This workshop is designed to make you familiar with factorising, and some approaches used to simplify expressions.

  • In your own words: How to use reading in your writing


    • Thursday 2 November, 12noon

    This workshop looks at how you can engage with difficult academic texts and use them in your own writing. As well as discussing the practicalities of how you paraphrase, summarise and quote from sources, we will also think about how to engage critically with texts, and how reading relates to writing.

  • Using Reading Lists (computer lab)


    • Friday 3 November, 1pm

    If you are daunted by lengthy reading lists and don't know where to begin, this session is for you. The session will show you how to make the best use of reading lists and the Talis Aspire software which the University of Essex uses. It will guide you through how to select and prioritise the most relevant and useful texts, and show you how to make your reading as effective as possible.

  • Equations of straight lines and curves


    • Friday 3 November, 3pm

    This workshop focuses on ways to help students to grasp the meaning, significance and practical application of the equations of a straight line and curves. You will be able to build up your skills to recognise the intercept and slope when presented with an equation of a line (y = mx + c)and be able to confidently construct lines and curves.

Week 6: beginning 6 November

  • How to Handle Numeracy Tests


    • Monday 5 November, 11am

    Numerical aptitude tests are commonly used as part of placement and graduate scheme recruitment processes. Some students find them particularly challenging, however developing your maths insights and practising can significantly help.  Sign up for this session to boost your maths skills, knowledge and confidence. This workshop is delivered in collaboration with the Employability and Careers Centre and booking has to be made through CareerHub.

  • Presentation skills


    • Tuesday 7 November, 12noon

    Do you want to be able to communicate more effectively when you give oral presentations? Would you like some practical advice about how to make the experience of speaking to an audience less stressful? This workshop will offer useful tips which can boost your confidence and clarity when you speak in public.

  • Using software: Excel (IT Lab F 3.300)


    • Tuesday 7 November, 1pm

    This session will give an introduction in how to use Excel to present and analyse data, including how to use basic formulae, and format tables and graphs for export to Word.

  • Basic Statistics concepts - from mean to standard deviation


    • Wednesday 8 November, 10am

    This workshop is designed to help you make sense of the most important basic concepts in statistics: Mean, Median, Mode, Variance and Standard Deviation. You can book this stand-alone workshop or the series of 3 workshops: Basic statistic concepts, Normal Distribution and Hypothesis Testing.

  • Normal Distribution


    • Wednesday 8 November, 11am

    The normal distribution is the most important and most widely used distribution in statistics. Understanding its properties makes it easier to interpret statistical data. In this workshop, we will look at the properties of normal distributions, the Empirical Rule, the Standard normal distribution table. You can book this stand-alone workshop or the series of 3 workshops: Basic statistics concepts, Normal Distribution and Hypothesis Testing.

  • Hypothesis Test


    • Wednesday 8 November, 12noon

    This workshop is for you if you would like extra support with statistics topics in your degree course. This workshop will cover basic hypothesis testing with normally distributed populations. You can book this stand-alone workshop or the series of 3 workshops: Basic statistics concepts, Normal Distribution and Hypothesis Testing.

  • Critical thinking: Cognitive bias


    • Thursday 9 November, 12noon

    Details to be confirmed.

  • Writing well: Academic style


    • Thursday 9 November, 1pm

    Knowing how to write at university and what is expected of you can feel confusing. This session will help you with both practical ways of improving your writing and help you think about the principles and questions that underpin the idea of academic style.

Week 7: beginning 13 November

  • Finding Resources (LRR Training Room)


    • Tuesday 14 November, 12noon

    Improve the quality of your assignments by learning where to search for suitable resources. Find out more about different types of resource (reference, primary & secondary sources, library databases, open access) and where to look for them. This session will take place in the Library Reading Room – Training Room – Ground Floor Albert Sloman Library.

  • Time Value of Money


    • Tuesday 14 November, 2pm

    We will look at how depending on a certain interest rate, the value of money varies at the different points in time it is received. You will look at the difference between simple and compound interest and why compound interest grows so quickly compared to simple interest with a more detailed examination of the maths behind the process.

  • Who can help me proofread my work?


    • Tuesday 14 November, 1pm

    This session will answer your questions on when it might be appropriate to get proofreading help, what sort of proofreading is acceptable for work that is to be assessed, and how to find a suitable proofreader. Please take a look the online guidance at https://www1.essex.ac.uk/proofreading/ in advance.

  • Structuring an essay


    • Tuesday 14 November, 12noon

    Writing university essays can be challenging. In this workshop, we will look at how to generate and organise ideas, how different types of assignment question can suggest different structures, and how to translate that into your academic writing.

  • Proofreading/editing


    • Tuesday 14 November, 1pm

    Details to be confirmed.

  • Analysing essay questions


    • Thursday 16 November, 12noon

    One of the most common complaints from lecturers is that their students have not answered the question – and if you want to avoid making that mistake, the key first step is to understand what the question is asking you to do. In this session we will look at analysing and unpacking assignment instructions so that you can see what is expected from you with different types of question and make sure you are approaching your writing in the right way.

  • Differentiation


    • Friday 17 November, 3pm

    In this workshop we will look at the idea of derivative how a derivative can be used to describe the rate of change of one quantity with respect to another. We will review the rules of differentiation to computethe derivatives of different types of functions and solve basic problems using the mathematics of these concepts.

Week 8: beginning 20 November

  • Referencing Made Easy (LRR Training Room)


    • Tuesday 21 November, 12noon

    This interactive session will introduce you to referencing and why it is important when writing your assignments. You will also learn what to reference, how to construct your references, and where to go for help and support. This session will take place in the Library Reading Room – Training Room – Ground Floor Albert Sloman Library.

  • Critical Thinking – Logical Fallacies


    • Tuesday 21 November, 1pm

    This workshop will focus on the vices that often accompany our modes of thought. Although these vices can best be understood as slippages or mistakes in our faculty to draw inferences, they are not always easy to spot. Thus, in learning how to formally identify these slippages or mistakes, you will also learn how to avoid making them when developing an argument of your own.

  • Using Software: Word (IT Lab N 5.101)


    • Tuesday 21 November, 12pm-2pm

    This hands-on workshop in a PC lab will tackle the most common and relevant aspects of formatting written work on the page using Word. It will also help you improve your ability to edit, polish and submit your work in ways most likely to please those who assess it – and therefore earn you higher marks.

  • Basic Statistics concepts - from mean to standard deviation


    • Wednesday 22 November, 1pm

    This workshop is designed to help you make sense of the most important basic concepts in statistics: Mean, Median, Mode, Variance and Standard Deviation. You can book this stand-alone workshop or the series of 3 workshops: Basic statistic concepts, Normal Distribution and Hypothesis Testing.

  • Normal Distribution


    • Wednesday 22 November, 2pm

    The normal distribution is the most important and most widely used distribution in statistics. Understanding its properties makes it easier to interpret statistical data. In this workshop, we will look at the properties of normal distributions, the Empirical Rule, the Standard normal distribution table. You can book this stand-alone workshop or the series of 3 workshops: Basic statistics concepts, Normal Distribution and Hypothesis Testing.

  • Hypothesis Test


    • Wednesday 22 November, 3pm

    This workshop is for you if you would like extra support with statistics topics in your degree course. This workshop will cover basic hypothesis testing with normally distributed populations. You can book this stand-alone workshop or the series of 3 workshops: Basic statistics concepts, Normal Distribution and Hypothesis Testing.

  • Science Paper Format/Structuring a Science Paper


    • Thursday 23 November, 1pm

    Research papers can seem intimidating - daunting both to read and to write. But information in a lot of research articles is actually organised in a fairly standard way. This workshop will explain the main components of the 'Science Paper Format' (SPF). By understanding these key elements, you will see that SPF writing allows researchers to communicate their study findings effectively and allows readers to locate the information they want. It will help you read academic articles by others quickly and efficiently, and show you how to structure a well-organised research report yourself.

  • Searching Within Resources: Tips & Strategies (LRR Training Room) Library Team


    • Thursday 23 November, 1pm

    Do you find it challenging to find enough information for your assignments? Perhaps you find it difficult to find relevant information amongst the huge number of results that a search returns. This session will equip you with the tips and techniques you need to make your searches relevant and manageable. This session will take place in the Library Reading Room – Training Room – Ground Floor Albert Sloman Library.

Week 9: beginning 27 November

  • Evaluating Resources/Which Websites Can I Use? (LRR Training Room)


    • Tuesday 28 November, 12noon

    Improve the quality of your assignments by learning what kind of resources are appropriate to use in your work, and how to evaluate the usefulness of potential sources, including open access material. This session will take place in the Library Reading Room – Training Room – Ground Floor Albert Sloman Library.

  • Normal Distribution


    • Tuesday 28 November, 2pm

    The normal distribution is the most important and most widely used distribution in statistics. Understanding its properties makes it easier to interpret statistical data. In this workshop, we will look at the properties of normal distributions, the Empirical Rule, the Standard normal distribution table. You can book this stand-alone workshop or the series of 3 workshops: Basic statistics concepts, Normal Distribution and Hypothesis Testing.

  • Hypothesis Test


    • Tuesday 28 November, 3pm

    This workshop is for you if you would like extra support with statistics topics in your degree course. This workshop will cover basic hypothesis testing with normally distributed populations. You can book this stand-alone workshop or the series of 3 workshops: Basic statistics concepts, Normal Distribution and Hypothesis Testing.

  • Critical thinking: Advanced argumentative strategies


    • Thursday 30 November, 12noon

    This workshop will focus on some useful strategies for engaging in academic arguments and discussions. You will not only learn to differentiate between internal and external criticism, but you will learn to reduce faulty arguments to absurdity, question the relevance of seemingly good arguments, and assess the consistency of an argumentative position (your own or other's). You will learn strategies, therefore, that will allow you to polish your own critical reasoning and evaluate the reasoning of academic papers.

  • Structuring an essay


    • Thursday 30 November, 1pm

    Writing university essays can be challenging. In this workshop, we will look at how to generate and organise ideas, how different types of assignment question can suggest different structures, and how to translate that into your academic writing.

Week 10: beginning 4 December

  • Differentiation


    • Monday 4 December, 12noon

    In this workshop we will look at the idea of derivative how a derivative can be used to describe the rate of change of one quantity with respect to another. We will review the rules of differentiation to computethe derivatives of different types of functions and solve basic problems using the mathematics of these concepts.

  • Differentiation


    • Tuesday 5 December, 12noon

    In this workshop we will look at the idea of derivative how a derivative can be used to describe the rate of change of one quantity with respect to another. We will review the rules of differentiation to computethe derivatives of different types of functions and solve basic problems using the mathematics of these concepts.

  • Developing a research proposal


    • Tuesday 5 December, 12noon

    This session is intended to encourage thought and discussion about the dissertation research proposal. We will focus on a range of factors to be considered, from practicalities to potential problems, attempting to begin with your own stage of progress and your understanding of research proposal requirements.

  • Effective reading notes


    • Thursday 7 December, 12noon

    In this workshop we will discuss why and how we make notes from our reading. We will consider the benefits of making notes, such as avoiding plagiarism, saving time and helping our understanding of text. We will go on to consider the merits of a variety of note-making techniques.

Week 11: beginning 11 December

  • Thinking about a Masters or PhD?


    • Tuesday 12 December, 12noon

    Are you tempted by the idea of postgraduate study, but have some questions you want answered? If so, come along and talk to people who've been through it before for advice on what it is like as an academic experience, and all the practical implications – from funding to career opportunities.

  • Who can help me proofread my work?


    • Tuesday 12 December, 1pm

    This session will answer your questions on when it might be appropriate to get proofreading help, what sort of proofreading is acceptable for work that is to be assessed, and how to find a suitable proofreader. Please take a look the online guidance at https://www1.essex.ac.uk/proofreading/ in advance.

  • Proofreading/editing


    • Tuesday 12 December, 1pm

    Details to be confirmed.

Autumn term

Week 4: beginning 23 October 2017

  • Writing well: Academic Style


    • Wednesday 25 October, 2-3pm

    Knowing how to write at university and what is expected of you can feel confusing. This session will help you with both practical ways of improving your writing and help you think about the principles and questions that underpin the idea of academic style.

Week 5: beginning 30 October 2017

  • Presentation Skills


    • Thursday 2 November, 2-3pm

    Do you want to be able to communicate more effectively when you give oral presentations? Would you like some practical advice about how to make the experience of speaking to an audience less stressful? This workshop will offer useful tips which can boost your confidence and clarity when you speak in public.

Week 6: beginning 6 November 2017

  • Evidencing Critical Thinking


    • Wednesday 8 November, 11am-12pm

    Critical thinking is at the heart of every academic discipline, and whilst it can sound like a daunting term, it is something that you are already familiar with from your everyday life. In this session we will look at how to make sure you are approaching your studies critically, and how you can develop your existing skills and practices.

Week 7: beginning 13 November 2017

  • In your own words: how to use reading in your writing


    • Wednesday 15 November, 12pm-1pm

    This workshop looks to how you can engage with difficult academic texts and use them in your own writing. As well as discussing the practicalities of how you paraphrase, summarise and quote from sources, we will also think about how to engage critically with texts, and how reading relates to writing.

Week 8: beginning 20 November 2017

  • Structuring an Essay


    • Wednesday 22 November, 3-4pm

    Writing university essays can be challenging. In this workshop, we will look at how to generate and organise ideas, how different types of assignment questions can suggest different structures, and how to translate that into your academic writing.

To book a place on a workshop, email tdcse@essex.ac.uk or visit the TDC office in the Forum Building TF.2.19

Bookings are essential as places are limited.