Academic Success Centre

Can we buy you lunch?

March 5, 2015 • Written by

We want to hear about your life and how it fits with RRC! 

The Academic Success Centre is creating a “LIFE” app that will help students ensure they’re ready and fully prepared for college.


To help us create a useful app, we want to hear about your experiences, your life and how you got ready for college. We also want to know what resources could have helped you along the way!

We know there is a lot of information on programs available at RRC. There’s also support available for students at the Academic Success Centre.

However, little thought is given to ‘life’ issues before coming to RRC. Many students drop out from college not because of the academic pressure but simply because ‘life’ issues get in the way. Sometimes, for example, money runs short and suddenly students have to take on part-time or full time work and can’t continue with their studies.

The research has taken place and now, we need students to review the information gathered on these life issues. Please consider coming to one of several focus group meetings scheduled at the end of March and the beginning of April to give us your feedback and direction.

The dates and times are as follows:

  • Tuesday, March 31 from 12-1pm in Room D1-02A
  • Thursday, April 2 from 12-1pm in Room D1-02A
  • Tuesday, April 7 from 12-1pm in Room D1-02A
  • Thursday, April 9 from 12-1pm in Room D1-02A

To sign up to come to one focus group meeting or to ask any questions, contact Angela Tessier at and yes, we will buy you lunch! Space is limited, so please contact us today.

Make note-making work for you

February 18, 2015 • Written by

RRC Staff tutor’s BA notes

Making one small change to our process can excel our progress

Last month at the pool, a new member jumped into my swimming lane – he was a new recruit in my Masters Swim Club.  His eagerness and dedication matched the other swimmers, however his pacing didn’t.  He seeded himself at the back of the pack and was constantly lapped.

His swim technique was fine and he was in excellent shape.

There is a fine line between offering a suggestion to help someone and in embarrassing them by overstepping your boundaries.

My swimmer friends and I talked about this and we all knew that he’d be much faster if he would change his swimwear, however we were all too timid to suggest it.  After a few weeks, he seemed to figure it out himself.  He came to the pool sporting a new swimsuit (one much more suited to swimming 2 km at a steady pace).

The results of this action were astounding!   No longer was he being lapped; he jumped to the front of the swim pack and led the entire set.

The message here is how:  one small change; one small deviation from your norm can make a significant change! Read More →

Finishing Strong

December 5, 2014 • Written by

Ford Ironman World Championship 13 October 2007In a 1982 Triathlon Ironman, the first place leader was meters away from the finish line when she stumbled, fell, stumbled, fell, was passed by the soon-to-be winner, and finally crawled to the finish line in second place.

After 10 plus hours of racing, it was the last 2 minutes that challenged her the most. But – she made it. Congratulations on how far you’ve come!

Finals are a few weeks away and you’ve had a long haul up till now.  You’ve navigated the first weeks of college life, attended full day courses, kept up with copious amounts of reading, worked diligently on assignments and papers, worked with your peers on group projects and reached the other side of mid-terms.

Sometimes it’s near the end of our journey when we need the most motivation; something to give us that one last surge to the finish line. To stay strong, consider the tips below:

        • Recognize the importance of performance. Be proud of the work you do. Surprise yourself in the quality of your product.
        • Look to those that inspire you. Surround yourself with peers who value their college experience and who challenge you through modeling to always ‘do better.’
        • Support your peers. Working on a team project? Quality and performance has an upward spiraling effect. Do your part well and others will follow suit. Support the other members of your group.
        • Amplify your attention and interest in class. Go to class with a prior understanding of what you’ll be doing and come with curiosity and gratitude for what you’ll learn.
        • Be counterintuitive about taking breaks. When you are at your busiest, take some time to get fresh air or enjoy a local event. Even when you’re on a deadline ensure you eat lunch with a real live person instead of with an electronic device. Give your mind a break. The key is being responsible.
        • Be Professional. For essays, reports and projects spend time on the presentation. A professional-looking report will be noticed!
    • Get help when needed, and know where you can find help. If you are taking math-based courses, supplement your understanding by watching the RRC’s Wise Guys Math Videos at Test yourself on what you learn.
  • Do more today. Before the day is over, do one more thing you were saving until tomorrow. If you do this, you’ll find that you are stronger than procrastination.
  • Do more today, but do one thing right now. Give your full attention and care and thought to this one thing.


    ASC Staff tutor, Charanjit Singh, with BA students – Gurkaran Kaur and Anika Maria

All in good time

October 10, 2014 • Written by

Timing is everything. A friend of mine learned this when he encountered a major setback in his quest to develop as a competitive runner. His story got me thinking about how his experience was similar to so many students I work with at RRC.

You see, Grayden had traveled over 400 km to compete in a 15 km race.  He had his heart set on the generous cash prize for top finishers.  A year of speed work, tempo runs and strength training behind him, Grayden was more than prepared to contest this race. Registration for the race closed at exactly 8:30, 30 minutes before race start.  Grayden arrived at 8:32.  He was denied entry into the race.

The look of disappointment on his face was visceral, and though the rules clearly stated this registration cut-off there wasn’t a single competitor who didn’t feel sorry for Greyden. Even those who would’ve been passed by this runner felt his pain. What went wrong here?  Time management?  A variance between Greyden’s watch and the Greenwich Mean Time?  I can’t help but think that it really came down to not taking that extra step to ensure all details were considered and included in his planning. Because he didn’t take the time to consider all barriers to success (including travel time to the race) he failed to reach his goal. It’s an absolute shame that all his prep was all in vain.

EDC BA student, Natalia Dorgan

EDC BA student, Natalia Dorgan

Read More →

Test yourself to success

September 12, 2014 • Written by

If you have a test coming up and want to do your best, this video is for you!

Recently researchers have taken a look at the best ways to study, and it turns out that self-testing is one of the most highly effective study strategies. Self-testing helps you remember more information than simply highlighting, re-reading…and certainly more than cramming the night before!

It takes no training to use this technique; you simply need to test yourself regularly as you learn new material. Below are suggestions for effective self-testing:

  1. First of all, ensure you have the right attitude. Ask yourself: Why is this course, this topic, this chapter interesting to you? Cultivate curiosity and light a passion for the subject at hand. Think about how you’ll be using this information in your new career. Keep yourself motivated, engaged and on task!
  2. Think like an instructor. Look over your course outline or syllabus as a whole. Identify the objectives of the course, and then the objective of each section or chapter. This will help you determine what details are important to learn, and what info you can most likely ignore. It’s always a good idea to double-check this with your instructor!
  3. When you’ve decided what to focus on, perform a memory dump. Write down all you know about the subject. Get it all out on paper. Then, review what you’ve written. What information is missing? What questions or details do you need to research to include to fill in the gaps? Turn these gaps into a test.
  4. After you are sure that you can’t fill in the gaps, do a little research. Look in your text, lecture notes or look online to fill in these gaps. Then, a few days later take the test again. Can you fill in the gaps?
  5. Don’t forget to test yourself on the things you knew on day one! If you don’t test yourself frequently on all areas of your course you run the chance of forgetting something important. Always sprinkle in questions about subjects and details that you know well with questions about topics or details you are just learning.

The Academic Success Centre at RRC offers free Tutoring, Weekly Review Sessions, Academic Coaching and EAL Support. Please come and visit us to sign up for these supports or for more info. We’re eager to connect you with the supports that can help you do your best at RRC.

Take it outside

May 5, 2014 • Written by

During this final exam week, one of our BA peer tutors hit the gym with a partner to lift some weights. A couple of things caught my attention:

  • how inspiring it was to see a student’s goal was to help their peer reach their goal
  • how important it is take time away from our text books and study guides and online forums to just move.

This isn’t a blog about how to take a much needed break from studying – though I absolutely promote a balanced lifestyle. Rather this is a blog about using another dimension of studying – synthesizing info.


Roline Nguyen & Charanjit Singh, ASC peer tutors

Put an airbrushed check-mark to the sentences which you could’ve authored:

  • An answer to a question I’ve been working with comes to me while walking on a trail.
  • While kicking a soccer ball with a friend, I set up 4 major points for a paper I’m writing.
  • As I jog, I recite answers to questions I anticipate will be on my final exam.
  • I find a creative way to work well with my peers on our project while meandering on my bike.

The Winnipeg Free Press hosts a column about “Our Winnipeg, my favourite place.” A recent publication featured the Winnipeg Symphony Orchestra’s resident conductor, Julian Pellicano. Pellicano does much of his thinking on the paths of the Assiniboine Forest – modeling his work practice after legendary composers who finish a working session with a vigorous walk. After spending hours studying orchestral music, this Winnipegger eloquently describes why he does what he does, “I take a walk and let it all sink in; to see how much I remember of what I just worked on….part of my process takes place on the trails of Assiniboine Forest” Pellicano concludes his interview with the following invite: “if we happen to run into each other on the trails, don’t hesitate to ask what I’m working on.”

Going back to the “is this you checklist,” there is a growing body of evidence that suggest s we think and learn better when we walk, swim or do another form of exercise. When we exercise, we increase blood flow and blood pressure. Our brain is just one recipient of this increased blood flow and more blood = more energy and oxygen. Since cognitive processes such as problem-solving require maximum brain power, the healthier we make our brain, the better it’ll function! So, not only does our body perform better with increased movement, but our brain joins in on this performance-enhanced experience. How much activity should we do?

A Harvard study found that taking 2 ½ hours a week (distributed in a way that suits you best). This translates to approximately 20 minutes/day. Going back to the gym, it seems like these BA students catapulted right from an involved Entrepreneurial project straight into the throws of finals. Yet, by taking the time to intentionally work on building muscle, they unintentionally were building one of their most important muscles.

Referenced from:

Submitted by Dayna Graham, Adult Learning Facilitator & Academic Coach, Academic Success Centre

I want to be your Google

April 8, 2014 • Written by

A note from Dayna Graham, your Academic Coach at the Academic Success Centre

Through a 20 minute conversation with an RRC grad, I learned more about Animal Health than I had learned over years of casual interest and reading on the subject.  The legal size of a snake cage (husbandry), the cost of a prosthetic leg for a dog (a small fortune) and St. John’s Ambulance Pet Therapy (absolutely amazing) were all topics covered in our short conversation.

When I asked the grad how he came to know so much, he said, “I wanted to know as much as I could so I could empower pet owners and farmers.  At school, I read all my course materials and I read journals, publications and blogs on the side.  When someone comes in to my clinic with their pet, I wanted them to leave knowing something they wouldn’t have known on their own.”

Basically, he wanted to be their Google.

Bryce Locken, media/circulation clerk from your EDC Library

Bryce Locken, media/circulation clerk from your EDC Library

So, we can see what’s in it for others when you read all you can about your field.  But what’s in it for you?

If you think about it, there’s a lot you gain from gaining extra knowledge:

  • – you’ll bring a new perspective, idea or model to your assignments
  • – you’ll make connections and links between what you read for class and your supplemental reading, thus solidifying your understanding
  • – you’ll ace interviews with your wide breath of knowledge
  • -you’ll make a great impression on your instructors and you’ll have a lot to offer your peers in a group project

Now that we know the benefits, let’s look at ways to transform reading from a passive activity to an active one:

1. Survey the chapter:  Take a few minutes to note whether key words or terms are italic, boldface, defined within the text, or listed at the beginning or end of the chapter. The author is drawing your attention to these bits of facts.  Know what these terms or key words are and how they relate to the main headings.

2.  Have a question in your mind as you read. You can do this by turning each chapter heading into a question. Use the words who, what, when, where, why, or how to form questions. For example, for the heading Personal Cash Flow Statement in a Personal Finance Textbook, you might form the question “What method can I use to track my money in and money out?”

3. Create a study guide as you readJust think of how good it will be to minimize the amount of material you study to 1 page, as you pull out the main ideas and decipher concepts and formulas.

Academic Success Centre has more info on reading for college at:  If you forget this site, just Google us!

Submitted by Dayna Graham, Adult Learning Facilitator, Academic Success Centre

Join the Wise Guy Millionaire’s Club

February 17, 2014 • Written by

glassesRRC’s Wise Guys have hit a million! As of this January, Red River College’s popular online math and science tutorials have garnered over a million views. (That’s right. A million views. That’s almost like, ahem, 12 platinum records.)

Really, it’s not surprising that the videos are so popular, after all they have been produced for the very specific needs of RRC students. For years the Wise Guys have given RRC students information they need, right when they need it. And that’s all year, 24/7.

What is surprising is that it’s not just RRC students watching Wise Guys. It turns out that the whole world is watching! In fact, people living in 179 different countries have tuned into videos that cover RRC course subjects such as Financial Accounting; Statistics; Fractions; Algebra; DC Electric Circuits; Physics and much more. We’re truly an international campus!

If you haven’t checked out Wise Guys yet, I’d suggest you get on board (and online!) now. Each video provides step-by-step instructions and demonstrations solving mathematical and scientific problems found in RRC programs.

The first Wise Guys video was uploaded in 2010 and the video bank has been growing ever since. We currently sit at hosting over 258 videos, and you can access them online for free at:

And just who are these internationally famous tutors? (Drum roll please….) RRC’s beloved Wise Guys are:

The RRC Wise Guys

Check out their Wise Guys Tutoring blog!

And why are the videos so popular? Wise Guy Delaney Earthdancer says she increasingly sees students turning online when they need extra help.

“In-class instruction is valuable and necessary; however, students lost in the classroom and searching for other resources invariably go to the Internet. Throughout my years at Red River I have worked with countless students who have told me ‘Guess what, Delaney? I found this great site online that has really helped me with electrical, or circuits, or trigonometry, or algebra. The list goes on and on’.” 

And, as always, if you can’t find the help you need online you can always visit the Wise Guys in person at the Academic Success Centre.


You know how to do this!

February 13, 2014 • Written by

imagesCARMFKY5A note from Dayna Graham, your Academic Coach at the Academic Success Centre

Were you among the 111.5 million viewers who gathered to watch the Super Bowl this month?  If so, you may have your own thoughts and theories as to what happened during that first play mishap between Peyton Manning and Manny Ramirez.  Was it audience noise?  Was it miscommunication?  Was it pressure from the moment?

To replay the play and offer some insight, blogger Dom Cosentino writes:

“It was a simple shotgun snap, a routine maneuver Peyton Manning and Manny Ramirez have executed thousands of times together without a hiccup.  But on the first play from scrimmage at Super Bowl North Jersey, it was suddenly a complete train wreck.”

Choking on routine maneuvers

Often, there is a clear cause and effect, an action and inaction, a reason “why.”  A notable point in our example is that the play was a “simple…routine maneuver.”  I think we can all attest to a skill we have where we are competent, comfortable and even excel at;  a skill which is second nature to us.  Perhaps you can do dosage calculations in your sleep, or you have well-developed basketball shooting skills, or you can create a flawless Crème Brule.  However, you drew a blank while writing your Nursing exam or you choked at the free-throw line, or your Crème Brule looked more like paper mache during a dinner party. 

So, what’s happening? 

In situations like these, the can-do instinct we’ve honed through years of practice is being silenced by overthinking.  Too much thought can derail the trained movement of our muscles and our capabilities.

When we are novice at something, we do need to think carefully of what we are doing; we need to learn and develop the skill through cognitive processes; through careful thought and intent.  However, once we know how to do something; once we’ve developed expertise in a particular skill or area, we need to simply trust ourselves.  Next time you come across something you know how to do here in college, put into play Courtney Helgo’s advice,

“try a little therapeutic distraction.  Say the alphabet backward when your yoga teacher orders you into the dreaded handstand….briefly engaging your conscious mind with something other than the task at hand can leave your instincts free to do their job.” 


Dom Cosentino/ The Star-Ledger February 03, 2014 at 12:28 AM

Helgoe, Courtney. “Gut Instincts You Shouldn’t Ignore.” Experience Life Nov. 2010: 66-70. Print.

I’m a Math Mind

November 29, 2013 • Written by

The value of a problem is not so much coming up with the answer as in the ideas and attempted ideas it forces on the would be solver.”  I.N. Herstein

I’m a Math Mind

A note from Dayna Graham, your Academic Coach at the Academic Success Centre

Have you ever heard someone say “I’m not a math mind”?  Have you said it yourself?  If we had a dollar for every time we’ve heard that phrase we’d have….well, you do the math.

Think back to a time when you felt you weren’t a math mind.  Was it in grade 11 Math when you were asked to illustrate and interpret graphs of exponential functions?  Does this take you down memory lane?  Graph the function:

     Blog 1 


If you’re like me, you left those skills right where you learned them: in the classroom. You most likely did not need to utilize them on the weekend or while going about daily life. 

Imagine however if you did use those very math skills the next day. Do you think you’d have a better chance of remembering the steps? Wouldn’t it be great if math was taught using real-world practice applications? 

RRC programs teach career-related math

Luckily at RRC you do learn math for real-world situations. Now, suppose for example you are a first year Animal Health Tech student.  You are in your practicum and a client comes rushing into your clinic with his injured collie.  You ask detective-like questions, examine the dog, convert the animal’s weight from pounds to kilograms and calculate the dosage for treatment.

You do all this with skill, ease and efficacy.  Why?  Because the math was in your context and it was one component of your work task. You placed math within the big picture of your clinic, and it was linked to things like your interpersonal skills, asking smart questions and animal care.  The math wasn’t an isolated, abstract case; it was visual to you and part of the bigger story. 

Perhaps, during your math history, you were given thousands of textbook equations.  The real world however doesn’t present us with textbook problems.  The reason you excel in your area of study is because you know how to solve story/word problems, as in diagnosing and treating Fido.  You have learned to contemplate and comprehend the mathematical ideas needed for the stories you’ll solve in your clinic.

Next time you are inclined to say “I’m not a math mind” pause and think about it. You may actually mean something like “I may not be an exponential functions math mind, but I most certainly am an accomplished Animal Health Tech math mind.” Read More →

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