The LEC, the New Luminaria, and the Future of Academic Support

By Nathan Schiller, Director of Academic Support 

The future of academic support.  

Does it evoke thoughts of flying cars whisking you to accounting class on the MCNY Moon campus, a virtual tutor offering on-demand support?

Or does it suggest brainstorming ideas for your paper, conquering your fears of math, developing strategies to manage your time so that you can complete all your assignments? 

Having worked with MCNY students for almost eight years, I’m convinced that academic support can be all these things (except the spaceship part) and more, and always will be.  

After all, the LEC (Learning Enhancement Center) has been helping students sharpen their skills and learn new concepts for over a dozen years. Our center was founded on an ethos of self-directed learning, and we remain dedicated to it. Helping someone learn to learn, preparing them to thrive in diverse classrooms today and diverse workplaces tomorrow is a timeless pursuit.  

Every day we work with MCNY students from every program. 1-on-1 tutoring is our main instructional mode, but we reach students in multiple ways: in-class workshops, group tutoring, online tutoring, narrated video presentations, and even Luminaria, our print publication.  

A brief history of Luminaria 

Since 2006, Luminaria has featured articles by LEC specialists about academic support, trends in higher education, and our dedicated students. Every fall, around Thanksgiving, we have published it in booklet/newsletter form, and watched as students snatch up the issues. In 2013, we started publishing the issues digitally as well, so that they could be easily accessed on the web 

The digital versions have a permanence that the paper ones do not, and you can comfortably read them on big tablets and desktop computers. But nowadays, many people read on smartphones, which requires articles to be formatted differently than for paper.  

To keep pace with technological evolution—to bring the future to the present, you might say—we’ve decided to turn Luminaria into a blog. And a blog, ironically, is not a futuristic web invention, but an ancient one. 

A brief history of blogs 

Shorthand for “weblog,” blogs emerged in the 1990s as an easy way for nontechnical web users to post “content”—text, pictures, and, eventually, videos. Content can encompass anything from a daily diary to an essay on a rare topic. Posts are displayed in chronological order, the most recent at the top, which gives the content a stream-like quality. 

From roughly the late-1990s to late 2010s, after web chatrooms faded from popularity but before social media and smartphone became ubiquitous, blogs were arguably the place online for community building. Readers were drawn to a blog by its topic and/or personality, and everyone connected in the comment section.  

Eventually, established magazines and newspapers created blogs to help their writers and reporters publish work in a more timely manner and connect more intimately with readers. Businesses and organizations also developed blogs to help reach new customers, build their brands, and promote their causes. 

A new Luminaria for a new time 

In the LEC, we too are always searching for the best ways to serve our students. Today, we think that our ideas about academic support can be best published online, in this stream-like fashion. 

Want tips for mastering an online course? Need a quick refresher on the writing process? Curious how the LEC uses data to support students?  

Stay tuned for posts like these and more. 

A version of this article appears on page 4 of the Fall 2018 issue of Luminaria, under the title “Letter From The Editor.” 

2019-01-10T13:28:09+00:00