Two minds are better than one

Learning Lab
Providing support to students when they need it: Valentin is a writing tutor and Rumeysa is a diversity scout. (Image: FAU/Giulia Iannicelli)

Looking for an ideal place to study? Not sure how to go about writing your assignment? Having problems and need advice? Then the Learning Lab is the right place for you.

Life at university can appear rather daunting, especially at the beginning, and the first written assignment can push some first-year students to their limits. The Learning Lab is not only a good point of contact for the many challenges students face, it also provides space for studying, exchanging ideas or for holding events.

Students help students

The diversity scouts are part of the Learning Lab and can be found at the Main Library during their office hours. What’s so special about them and what they do? The scouts are students themselves who receive training during the course of a semester for their role in increasing awareness for diversity and eliminating discrimination. ‘Some students are wary of getting professional advice straight away. As we’re also students ourselves, they are more comfortable with talking to us about their problems,’ explains Rumeysa, who started working as a diversity scout at the School of Law six months ago. Students come with a wide range of problems to the diversity scouts – whether it’s because they have failed an exam, feel they are being discriminated against or if they have questions about childcare. ‘The problems students have are very varied and cover every aspect of studying. We refer the students to the right place,’ says Rumeysa. For example, she recently helped a student apply for an extension so that she had more time to complete an exam. ‘Lots of students don’t even know that this is possible.’

Writing advice for everyone

Students often approach the scouts with questions about writing. They are then directed to the Writing Centre which is part of the Learning Lab. Writing texts at university is not easy in your native language, and can be a particular challenge when writing in a foreign language. This is why, as well as providing general advice, the Writing Centre also provides specific advice for German as a foreign language and English. ‘We help students during the writing process and show them how to structure their texts and include a guiding idea. We also provide support with finding suitable topics to write about or answer questions about grammar or wording. The students really appreciate what we do,’ says Valentin, who is responsible for writing consultations in German. ‘I really enjoy my work. Working with other people is great and I enjoy discussing the writing process in detail. It’s also helpful for my own degree,’ explains Valentin. Every year in March, the Learning Lab is involved in the ‘Lange Nacht des Schreibens’ (The Long Night of Writing). In the centre of Erlangen, the Learning Lab has spaces for studying and holding events that are equipped with projectors, flip charts, whiteboards and flexible seating arrangements. There’s even a small coffee bar, so it really is a multifunctional space. The Writing Centre already offers writing consultations at the Learning Lab and other events have been taking place there since summer semester 2019 such as language workshops, key qualification seminars or diversity scout events. More information about where the rooms are located can be found on the Learning Lab’s website.

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