Workshops - Spring 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

Week 17: Monday 23 January to Friday 27 January

  • Measures of location and dispersion – from mean to standard deviation


    • Monday 23 January, 11am

    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 four workshops from 23 - 26 January:

    • Basic statistic concepts
    • Normal Distribution
    • Hypothesis Testing
    • Confidence Intervals

  • Normal distribution


    • Monday 23 January, 12noon

    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 four workshops from 23 - 26 January:

    • Basic statistic concepts
    • Normal Distribution
    • Hypothesis Testing
    • Confidence Intervals

  • Academic study and time management


    • Tuesday 24 January, 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!

  • Writing well: practicalities and principles of academic style


    • Tuesday 24 January, 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.

  • Maths support drop-in sessions for first year CSEE students only


    • Tuesday 24 January, 2pm and Thursday 26 January, 2pm

    There is no need to book for this session.

    This session is for first year students from the Department of Computer Science and Electrical Engineering, in particular those following CE141 and CE141 modules. You should bring your notes and questions to the session where our maths advisers can support you.

  • Hypothesis testing


    • Wednesday 25 January, 11am and Thursday 26 January, 12pm

    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 four workshops from 23 - 26 January:

    • Basic statistic concepts
    • Normal Distribution
    • Hypothesis Testing
    • Confidence Intervals

  • Statistics: confidence intervals


    • Thursday 26 January, 1pm

    This workshop is for you if you would like extra support with statistics topics in your degree course. The focus of this workshop is confidence intervals and we will cover calculations of confidence intervals and how to interpret the results.

    You can book this stand-alone workshop or the series of four workshops from 23 - 26 January:

    • Basic statistic concepts
    • Normal Distribution
    • Hypothesis Testing
    • Confidence Intervals

Week 18: Monday 30 January to Friday 3 February

  • Stay on topic: analysing essay questions


    • Tuesday 31 January, 12noon

    One of the most common complaints from lecturers is that their students haven't 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.

  • How to use sources effectively: it’s not just about plagiarism


    • Tuesday 31 January, 1pm

    Do you ever wonder what we mean by using sources in assignment writing? If so, this workshop will help you. Together we will explore why and how you can use them appropriately and effectively to develop your academic writing skills.

  • Normal distribution


    • Tuesday 31 January, 3pm

    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.

  • Statistics: hypothesis testing


    • Thursday 2 February, 1pm

    This workshop is for you if you would like extra support with statistics topics in your degree course. The focus of this workshop is hypothesis testing and we will cover basic hypothesis testing with normally distributed populations as well as t-tests.

Week 19: Monday 6 February to Friday 10 February

  • How to take effective reading notes


    • Tuesday 7 February, 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.

  • Using Word


    • Tuesday 7 February, 12noon
    • IT Lab 0 TC2.16

    This hands-on workshop 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.

  • Structuring a university essay


    • Tuesday 7 February, 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.

  • Maths for work and study


    • Thursday 9 February, 1pm

    This introductory level workshop will help you develop your skills in basic maths and numeracy for degree success or employability. You can choose from a range of topics including arithmetic, fractions, percentages and data interpretation and receive support in developing new skills in these areas.

  • One-way ANOVA


    • Thursday 9 February, 2pm

    As data analysts, you may use one-way analysis of variance (ANOVA) to find out if any groups in a set of three or more groups differ from each other. This workshop will cover how to carry out a one-way ANOVA and how to interpret the output.

  • Finding and evaluating resources


    • Friday 10 February, 12noon
    • IT Lab M 4S.2.4

    Improve the quality of your assignments by learning what kind of resources are appropriate to use in your work, where to search for them and how to assess their usefulness. Find out more about reference, primary and secondary sources, library databases, and open access material.

  • Writing well: practicalities and principles of academic style


    • Friday 10 February, 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 20: Monday 13 February to Friday 17 February

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


    • Tuesday 14 February, 1pm

    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.

  • How to take effective reading notes


    • Tuesday 14 February, 1pm

    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.

  • The language of numeracy tests


    • Wednesday 15 February, 10am

    Numeracy tests present a challenge both in terms of the maths and the language of the questions. This workshop aims to help non-native speaker students by identifying and practising the common and key language used in numeracy tests as well as by providing tips on tackling the maths required to succeed.

    This workshop is for non-native speakers only.

  • Using PowerPoint (PPT)


    • Wednesday 15 February, 2pm
    • IT Lab M 4S.2.4

    This session will give you an introduction into how to use Powerpoint to get the best marks for your presentations, and will give you both insights into the principles behind slideshow design, and practical tips in how to make them quickly and easily.

  • Developing a dissertation research proposal


    • Thursday 16 February, 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.

  • Writing reflective statements


    • Thursday 16 February, 1pm

    This session will help you improve your reflective writing by looking at the principles behind this type of assessment, practical tips on how to write well, and different ways of incorporating different resources.

  • How to search for information effectively: play the information literacy card game


    • Friday 17 February, 12noon

    Want to improve your search skills and find more relevant results? Come along to play our card game that will help you develop your information literacy skills. Learn how to find key concepts in a research question and construct an efficient search strategy to retrieve useful results.

Week 21: Monday 20 February to Friday 24 February

  • Structuring a long essay


    • Tuesday 21 February, 12noon

    Structuring a long essay can be a daunting challenge, even for experienced undergraduate writers. This session will help you to think about how to structure and plan extended pieces of writing, and how to incorporate reading into your writing effectively.

  • Evidencing critical thinking


    • Tuesday 21 February, 1pm

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

  • Writing well: academic style 2


    • Thursday 23 February, 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.

  • Thinking about a Masters or PhD?


    • Thursday 23 February, 1pm

    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. They can give you advice on what it's like as an academic experience, and all the practical implications – from funding to career opportunities.

  • Using Excel


    • Friday 24 February, 1 pm
    • IT Lab N 5A.101

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

Week 22: Monday 27 February to Friday 3 March

  • Discover Reference Management Software


    • Tuesday 28 February, 12noon
    • IT Lab K 4S.2.8

    Take the hard work out of creating bibliographies by finding a referencing tool that works for you. In this session, you’ll get the chance to try out Endnote Online, Mendeley and Zotero and decide which you like best.

  • Structuring a university essay


    • Tuesday 28 February, 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.

  • The language of numeracy tests


    • Wednesday 1 March, 10am

    Numeracy tests present a challenge both in terms of the maths and the language of the questions. This workshop aims to help non-native speaker students by identifying and practising the common and key language used in numeracy tests as well as by providing tips on tackling the maths required to succeed.

    This workshop is for non-native speakers only.

  • Confused by calculus: differentiation


    • Thursday 2 March, 1pm

    This workshop will give you extra support with calculus topics in your degree course. The focus of this workshop is differentiation, finding gradients of lines and curves and optimisation.

Week 23: Monday 6 March to Friday 10 March

  • Talking to an audience: presentation skills


    • Tuesday 7 March, 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.

  • Structuring a dissertation research paper


    • Thursday 9 March, 12noon

    What different possibilities are there for structuring a dissertation? How can you find out or verify what is ‘best’? In this session, we will examine a number of models, and consider the factors which need to be taken into account when planning a dissertation.

  • Maths for work and study


    • Thursday 9 March, 1pm

    This introductory level workshop will help you to develop your skills in basic maths and numeracy for degree success or employability. You can choose from a range of topics including arithmetic, fractions, percentages and data interpretation and receive support in developing new skills in these areas.

Week 24: Monday 13 March to Friday 17 March

  • Preparing for university exams: maths


    • Thursday 16 March, 11am

    This session will help you prepare for, and perform in maths based exams, from planning your revision, to analysing questions and performing well under pressure.

  • Preparing for university exams: multiple choice


    • Tuesday 14 March, 12pm

    This session will help you to prepare for and perform to your best in multiple choice exams. We will explore revision strategies, how to organise your time, and how to stay calm under pressure.

  • Normal distribution


    • Tuesday 14 March, 12noon

    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.

    • Basic statistic concepts
    • Normal Distribution
    • Hypothesis Testing
    • Confidence Intervals

  • Statistics: hypothesis testing


    • Thursday 16 March, 1pm

    This workshop will give you extra support with statistics topics in your degree course. The focus of this workshop is hypothesis testing and we will cover basic hypothesis testing with normally distributed populations.

Week 25: Monday 20 March to Friday 24 March

  • Preparing for university exams: essays


    • Tuesday 21 March, 12 noon

    This session will help you prepare for, and perform in essay based exams, from planning your revision, to analysing questions and writing well under pressure.

  • Preparing for university exams: revision strategies


    • Thursday 23 March, 12noon

    Do you find it difficult to be organised for preparing for exams? If so, this workshop will encourage you to examine your own approach to exam preparation and look at how to plan effectively structured revision sessions.

    We will schedule a revision plan as part of this workshop. The skills you will learn in this workshop would also be relevant to anyone who finds meeting essay deadlines difficult.

To book a place, sign up at the TDC Office in TF2.19 or email tdc-southend@essex.ac.uk.

Writing well: practicalities and principles of academic style

  • Wednesday 18 January 10am
  • Room TF.2.06

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.

Structuring a university essay

  • Wednesday 25 January 10am
  • Room TF.2.13

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.

Using PowerPoint (PPT)

  • Tuesday 14 February 1.30pm
  • GB.3.53 - IT Lab 1

This session will give you an introduction into how to use PowerPoint to get the best marks for your presentations, and will give you both insights into the principles behind slideshow design, and practical tips in how to make them quickly and easily.

Developing a dissertation research proposal

  • Tuesday 28 February 1.30pm
  • Room TF.2.06

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.

Preparing for university exams

  • Wednesday 15 March 10am
  • Room TF.2.06

Do you find it difficult to be organised for preparing for exams? If so, this workshop will encourage you to examine your own approach to exam preparation and look at how to plan effectively structured revision sessions. We will schedule a revision plan as part of this workshop. The skills you will learn in this workshop would also be relevant to anyone who finds meeting essay deadlines difficult.