K-State provides feature-packed study-assistance program

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Melissa Hostmeyer, freshman in business administration, teaches Kylee Smith, freshman in environmental design, how to navigate and use the new Read & Write program to edit her essay on Sept. 29, 2015. K-State posted the program on their website in late July and downloaded the progam to all library computers for students convenience. Smith said "At first I didn't like it but as I got used to it, it really became helpful in editing my essay". (Paige Schlitter | The Collegian)

Students now have access to university-supported software designed to support the development of studying, reading, research and writing skills.

The program, called Read & Write, has many features that could be useful for a variety of audiences.

“It’s just an overall very good study-skill tool for our students,” Rebecca Gould, director of the Information Technology Assistance Center, said.

According to Ann Pearce, Student Access Center adviser, the program has 47 features that each include a video tutorial for ease to the user. Any students, faculty or staff with an active eID and password can access the software for free through the Information Technology Services’s software webpage.

For Andrea Blair, director of the Student Access Center, the 47 features were a key selling feature in bringing the program to K-State.

“It’s productivity software, so there’s many features that would help many students study in a more efficient way,” Blair said.

Some of the included features of Read & Write include a vocabulary tool, text to speech, scanning tool, highlighters, dictionary, a pronunciation tool and various other research tools. The pronunciation tool includes a mouth to show the user the way the word is formed.

These tools, organized in a toolbar that sits on the user’s computer screen, can be customized to include features specifically useful to the individual.

“Many students say they don’t know how to study, and this is a tool that can give them many ways to study,” Blair said.

Matthew Maynard, senior in public relations and employee at the IT Help Desk, has some experience with Read & Write through working to promote the program. He has presented the software within iTAC, but he said he will probably be doing campuswide presentations during the semester.

“It’s got tons of features that you can use that really will help with people’s studying, just making them more efficient,” Maynard said.

According to Blair, though Read & Write is for everyone, it is particularly helpful for English language learners, athletes and nontraditional students traveling between locations.

Pearce added that “people learn differently,” and the software promotes active learning over passive learning.

“I would say it’s especially helpful for students who want to hear it (and) want to listen, for whatever reason it is,” Blair said.

The goal is to market Read & Write not only to students, but the entire campus, according to Cathy Rodriguez, iTAC communications coordinator.

“I think it has advantages, no matter who you are, with the tools available,” Rodriguez said.

The Student Access Center first brought Read & Write to K-State’s attention, after which the Division of Student Life purchased it, Blair said.

Though it was purchased during the spring semester, the first promotion of Read & Write was during June orientation. iTAC distributed cards with information about the program, which are now available in the library and in other locations around campus.

According to Pearce, the site license for Read & Write covers Manhattan, as well as the global, Olathe and Salina campuses.

For Blair, the wide range of available use for the product was a key to bringing Read & Write to K-State.

“One reason (we brought it to campus) is promoting the concept of universal design – providing tools for students, faculty and staff that meets the needs of many, many, many groups of people,” Blair said.

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Hello! I'm Morgan Bell, a senior at K-State majoring in journalism. I'm currently a copy editor and writer for The Collegian.