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Why Texas State University Round Rock Campus?

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By Kristen McLaughlin 

What can you expect at Texas State University Round Rock Campus (RRC)?  To start, friendly faces, a beautiful facility and a top notch education is what I have experienced here.

Having graduated from the Mass Communication graduate school program at Texas State University in May, I had the opportunity to take three classes at the Texas State RRC. This was certainly helpful, since I live in Georgetown. I looked forward to these classes because it saved me gas mileage, but I learned quickly there were many other advantages to taking classes at the Round Rock Campus.

The classes I took here were Creativity in Business, Social Media at Work and International   PR/Advertising. The professors who taught my classes were all seasoned and dynamic. They not only taught the concept, but made it practical and shared their own experiences working in their field. The classes were small and the teachers all encouraged participation. My International PR professor shared his experiences teaching in South Korea, North Korea and other countries. My business professor was able to speak about various companies he worked for and my Social Media professor showed how social media outlets could be helpful for both career and everyday life.

You will probably notice driving onto the small campus on 1555 University Blvd. in Round Rock that it is a small campus with plenty of vacant parking spots. The university consists of two buildings: the St. David’s School of Nursing and Avery (which houses all of the other programs).  Texas State University Round Rock Campus is a satellite campus for Texas State University, but it offers primarily upper-level courses and masters-level programs. If you are thinking about transferring to the Round Rock Campus, view our transfer planning guides here. The campus offers Bachelor’s degrees, Master’s degrees, certification and distance learning ranging in subjects that include Criminal Justice, Education, Nursing, Business and more.  Click here to view a full list of the programs the campus offers.

One aspect I have enjoyed about the Round Rock Campus both as a student and working as a Graduate Research Assistant in the spring is the calm, beautiful atmosphere. Both the inside and the outside of the campus are pristine and peaceful. The campus features a pond and walking trail behind the Avery building. The campus is also environmentally conscious, featuring recycling bins in the student lounge area.

Although it is small, there are definitely resources available that can help students succeed. A Writing Center can be found in Avery 203. Library Services is located in Avery 255 and the comprehensive resources of the Alkek Library can be accessed here.  Are you a student who wants to get more involved in “campus life”? The Round Rock Campus offers plenty of events throughout the year, including the summer. Click here for a listing of events.  And to stay connected to campus, join our social media sites (Facebook and Twitter).

Thinking about attending Texas State RRC? Visit the website for more information. Already a student? What is your favorite aspect of the campus? E-mail km1745@txstate.edu and I will share your answer on our social media sites.

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Lazos “embraces Latinidad”

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By Kristen McLaughlin, Texas State RRC Graduate Research Assistant

I have had the pleasure of working on the communications team for Lazos 2012, an event which celebrates students and filmmakers from the U.S. and countries in Latin America. This year’s theme is “Embracing Latinidad”.

Not only have I had the opportunity to be on the student communications team for the event this semester as a part of our class, but I will see the event come to fruition this today, April 27 at Texas State University-San Marcos in the LBJ Student Center Ballroom from 7-10 p.m. Thanks to El Centro (the Center for the study of Latino Media & Markets), student organizations and community sponsors, the event is free. However, registration was required for the event.

This is only the second year for Lazos, but we anticipate a good turnout. Lazos is the closing ceremony for Puntos De Vista, a Latin documentary competition which involves students from Colombia, Peru, Spain, Mexico, Chile and the U.S. The students participating in the competition will find out their ranking at the awards ceremony at Lazos. This year’s film festival included 14 documentaries by students in the participating countries. Student filmmakers will be honored at Lazos.

In addition to awarding students, Lazos will include special entertainment from Texas State’s Mariachi Nueva Generacion as well as Salsa and Latin Jazz Ensembles Salsa del Rio and Orquesta del Rio. Salsa del Rio was the first Latin Jazz Ensemble created at Texas State. The group is dedicated to the performance of music from Latin America, including Cuba, Puerto Rico, The Dominican Republic and Mexico. Orquesta del Rio also focuses on music from these countries. Popular styles include Mambo, Son-Montuno, Cha Cha, Bolero and Morengue.

The student group Mariachi Nueva Generacion, also a Texas State student group, performs the Mexican art form known as Mariachi. They perform many different styles, including Huapango, Bolero, Polka and many others.

The student communications team included myself and three of my graduate student peers (Shannon Delaney, Eileen Suarez and Doug Seliger), but so many others have spent months coordinating this event and Puntos De Vista. Organizing Lazos was an idea that professors Dr. Sindy Chapa and Olga Mayoral-Wilson thought of when they were brainstorming about Puntos De Vista.  Students from organizations and student workers at El Centro have eagerly assisted them with both Lazos and Puntos De Vista.

This year’s Lazos event is being co-hosted by the Alpha Upsilon chapter of Hermandad de Sigma Iota Alpha Inc.

“To be a part of an event such as Lazos has meant a lot to Hermandad de Sigma Iota Alpha Inc,” said Catherine Arriaza-Ortiz, SIA treasurer and Lazos committee member.

Other organizations and departments are also participating in the event, including Alpha Upsilon SIA, Ballet Folklorico, Communication Disorder Bilingual Cognate, Latinas Unidas, Love Across Borders, LULAC, Sigma Delta Pi, the Texas State Sociology Department, and the Texas State International Student Association.

Lazos participants will be able to learn from Keynote Speaker Robert Bard, the CEO of Latina Style Magazine. In his 11 years leading the company, he has developed four signature programs. These include the LATINA Style Business Series, the most successful ongoing business development program for Latina business owners in the nation; the LATINA Style 50 Awards and Diversity Leaders Conference, reporting on the top 50 companies for Latinas to work for in the U.S.; the National LATINA Symposium recognizing Latina achievement in all areas and professions; and the Distinguished Military Service Awards, honoring outstanding Latinas for their military Service.

For those who want to learn from accomplished professionals such as Bard and celebrate student filmmakers, Lazos is the perfect way to end the semester. Don’t forget to follow us on Facebook and Twitter. Hope to see you tonight!

The Abacus, the Overhead Projector, and Classroom Technology

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By Jael Perales

Classroom Technology at RRCThe Round Rock Campus is set to host the Technology for Today’s Classroom workshop on Saturday, April 28. This full-day workshop will address topics related to technology and education, and that got me thinking about my own experiences with technology as a student.

My first calculator (well, besides my own brain) was the easiest thing I could get my hands on; namely, my fingers and toes. As you would expect, the math eventually became harder than what my 10 digits could manage, so the next tool provided to me was a basic calculator. You know the type, perfect for doing all kinds of adding, subtracting, multiplying, dividing, and apparently something to do with %. But this too was insufficient to tackle the math problems of middle school. Once algebra came into my life, the ol’ number cruncher had seen better days. So, once again, I upgraded, and this time perhaps more than I needed to. You see, I began competing in calculator-based academic competitions, so the tool provided to me was the kind that could handle problems beyond my grade level. I was solving equations, converting units, tackling trigonometry…and I hadn’t even met those issues in my own mathematics classes! And yet, even then, I was limited in what I could do. To advance further as a mathematics competitor and eager, young scholar, I needed something that could handle bigger equations, more complex situations, matrices, and, eventually, graphs. Thus came the powerful graphing calculator and, so it seemed, near limitless capabilities.

But, as luck would have it, I went on to college and was presented with a whole new array of problems. Real-world physics problems to be more precise. And I must say, even the powerhouse that was my graphing calculator was unable to stand up to the challenge. At this point, the only other powerful computational engine available that wasn’t the human brain was, you guessed it, the personal computer. I was introduced to a computer program that could handle giant, complex, mountains of math as easily as I can click the mouse attached to the computer I am writing with now. Suddenly, I looked at newer, more ambitious mathematical projects with a sense of boldness I had never known before.

It is only now that I see the neck-and-neck race that had been occurring in my academic experiences. The technology I used in math seemed to be the deciding factor in what level of math I could study. Or was it that the level of the math determined the tools that were required? It is no secret that technology and education go hand in hand. What one can teach is often directly related to what one can use to teach and learn. When the abacus was the primary tool for doing math, what a student was expected to learn and do was miles behind what most elementary students can handle today. The educator was limited in what he or she could teach. But, as we have all seen, when the technology available to both students and educators advanced, so too did the level of information being taught. In other words, I can teach a 3rd grader how to handle multiplication problems with a calculator that the student may have never been able to accomplish with just an abacus.

Classroom equipment has also experienced significant upgrades. I remember my teachers working out math problems on an overhead projector and showing slightly dated science videos on VHS. Now, teachers can display a computer desktop on a hardwired screen and use their hands or other devices to draw students in with high-tech visuals and up-to-date streaming videos. Advances such as this allows teachers to draw on a wealth of knowledge and visual aids like never before, which not only improves the way they can teach and keep students engaged, but also allows them to teach content that would otherwise have been too high-level.

And you, ever plugged-in college student, how much more useful to you is an educational environment that synchs up with the technology you are accustomed to already? Class projects posted on a social media platform, textbooks on e-readers, and class participation using smartphones. These are just some of the many ways educators can interact with students in and out of the classroom. And “out of the classroom” learning is key in expanding what educators can teach and students can learn. In reality, technology is even expanding the classroom itself.

For educators, the first response to this reality is pretty straightforward. With all the technology out there, where does a teacher or professor even begin? A good place to start is at the upcoming Technology for Today’s Classroom workshop. The event, sponsored by Kappa Delta Pi, Dell, and ePals, is a full-day technology workshop with hands-on exploration and sessions that address 21st Century Learning.  The current list of speakers includes teachers from AISD, PISD, RRISD, DELL, and ePals, with more to come. The event will be held on Saturday, April 28, 2012 from 8:30 a.m. – 3:00 p.m. at Texas State University Round Rock Campus. Registration is free for all Texas State Education majors, but space is limited. Go to http://www.planetreg.com/E4414551083153 to register. The registration deadline is April 22, 2012 at 10:00 p.m. I encourage you to take advantage of this great opportunity. Expanding what educators can do in the classroom is the key to expanding the capabilities of students. I personally can’t wait to see the abacus of tomorrow!

Overcoming A “Fear” of the Texas State Round Rock Writing Center

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By Chris Muse, Writing Center Coordinator

What is the Writing Center?  To summarize, it is a service of trained tutors that provide individual counseling in writing for Texas State students at any level of study.

This includes help with: essays, technical writing, research papers, formal letters, in-class essay exams, MLA/APA documentation, professional writing, and resumes. We also tutor for the GSP.  Overall, the Writing Center is a beneficial place to learn how to improve and even sharpen writing skills. However, there are students that still have reservations about the Writing Center.  Typically, there is the false impression that students will be judged for their writing and tutors will single out any or all “mistakes” in an insensitive manner.  But this perception could not be further from the truth.

In the Writing Center, tutors realize that students are reluctant to share their written work.  For example, I had a session last week with a student who was experiencing her first semester of college after taking a twenty-eight year break from pursuing a degree in nursing.  At first, I noticed she was nervous about letting me read her paper.  I told my client that I would not ridicule her in any way and am only here to provide support.  Also, I informed her on how the Writing Center is a safe place because we offer a service that specializes in developing writing skills without judgment.  After our brief counseling session, she opened a folder and handed me her paper.  Moreover, students will find that tutors are not abrasive in their teaching styles and take the time to calmly address any issue.

To conclude, the purpose of the Writing Center is not to emotionally scar students.  Rather, it is a resource on campus that is available to use if a student is interested in learning how to strengthen aspects of his/her writing.  Tutors will instruct students on how to brainstorm for a topic, form an outline, implement sources, and organize the paper effectively.  Of course, any major concerns the student has will be addressed first.  Quite simply, we are here to help.

The Writing Center is located in Avery 203. Spring 2012 hours are Monday-Wednesday from 1-8 p.m. and  Thursday from 11 a.m. – 8 p.m. E-mail cm1913@txstate.edu or stop by to make an appointment.

Bobcat Day: Find out what it means to be a “Round Rock Bobcat”

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By Kristen McLaughlinBoko

What is the Texas State University Round Rock Campus and why should you attend? These are questions prospective students can find answers to at Bobcat Day on March 31 from 10 a.m. – noon.

Whether you are a student in graduate school, community college, high school or a full-time professional, Bobcat Day is an event you can attend for more information to consider about the campus.  A major purpose of Bobcat Day is to clarify what the Texas State University Round Rock Campus is and what programs are offered.

“A lot of people don’t understand we are an extension of Texas State and we have full service here,” Transfer and Graduate Coordinator Karen Ripley said.

Texas State University Round Rock offers junior and senior level courses within 10 bachelor’s degree programs as well as 11 master’s programs. The campus offers primarily night classes, but also has some daytime offerings. Students who complete their degree requirements at Texas State University Round Rock Campus receive their degree from Texas State University-San Marcos.

A large focus is placed on the transfer student, whether they are transferring from the San Marcos campus for location purposes or from a community college. In an effort to make it an easy transition, the Round Rock Campus is partners with Austin Community College. Staff members work with the students to ensure that they are taking all of the right classes. Bobcat Day is tailored to the transfer student and students who are returning to school after a break, although Ripley said high school is not too early to start planning and attend Bobcat Day.

What else is offered at Bobcat Day? The main objective for Bobcat Day is to assist prospective students. The prospective Bobcats will be able to meet with financial aid representatives, discuss degree plans, speak with financial aid, and preview the resources on campus.

“All of the Texas State Representatives I met were extremely helpful, friendly, and knowledgeable. You can see their passion in helping students succeed. It’s refreshing,” said Alysia Sanchez, a prospective student who has attended Bobcat Day.

In addition to getting some helpful information, students have the option of touring the beautiful campus. Although it is free, you must RSVP for Bobcat Day.

“From my point of view, Bobcat Day is such a great opportunity to meet prospective Bobcats and formulate a lasting relationship that follows through application, admittance, orientation, and eventually graduation,” Ripley said.

Mid-terms, projects and papers, oh my!

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English: Students need sleep in order to study.

Image via Wikipedia

How to alleviate stress during midterms

By Kristen McLaughlin

For all of the diligent students stressing out over the challenges that the middle of the semester presents, there is hope.

Resources are available at Texas State University Round Rock Campus to help students make it through with success. Some of these include the Writing Center, the RRC library, the Student Learning Assistance Center (SLAC) and activities to take a break from the stress of it all.

SLAC is offering a test preparation and test taking strategy session today (March 1) from 5:15-6:15 p.m. in Avery, 419. If you want to take a break from academic writing and learn how to write creatively, the Writing Center  is also hosting a Creative Writing Workshop March 6, April 10, and April 12 from 5:15-6:15 p.m. in Avery, 419. The Writing Center is located in Avery, room 202, and offers a variety of resources to students at Texas State RRC.

Overall, this type of writing can be a stress reliever, as the writer has the freedom to write about anything rather than on a specified topic,” Writing Center Coordinator Chris Muse said.

When it comes to midterms and getting through the semester, Muse said the key is to relieve stress as much as possible.

“Midterms can be rather stressful and the best advice I can give to students is to remember that these mid-year assignments are only as stressful as we make them,” Muse said. “The reason why this time of the year can be so overwhelming is usually a result from how we allow the stress to take control.  Mainly, this originates from having to cut study time in half as students are required to devote their focus to more than one subject.”

Muse has two key tips that can help students get through midterms:

  • Tip #1-Don’t Procrastinate. One effective method that helps alleviate stress is to organize the amount of work the students have for each midterm.  Here’s how to do that: try not to wait until the last minute.  Procrastination is a key factor of stress and only intensifies as time expires.  Make note cards NOW, review class notes NOW, and begin research for a paper NOW!  The information the professor adds in lecture from this point on should be implemented into daily study sessions that lead up to the exam. Students who wait to study ALL of their notes instead of breaking it in 1-2 hour review sessions every day result in “all night cram sessions.”  This type of “studying” is more harmful than it is beneficial, as students tend to rely on this method more often than they should.
  • Tip #2-Take care of yourself and make time to do what you enjoy. Another piece of advice I have for students is to remember to take time off from studying.  Make time for exercise, community events, sleep and nutrition!  Junk food and caffeinated drinks are wise to avoid a few days prior to the exam day.  This type of eating will take a physical toll on your mental stamina. Remember, if the body is deprived, then the mind will be less focused and alert.

And don’t forget Spring Break is just around the corner! Spring break is March 10-18, a nice deserving break for students! It is also a good time to catch up on school work without the stress of class. For more information about Texas State RRC and resources available, visit http://www.rrc.txstate.edu.