Catalog Course Description
The First Year Seminar (UCO 1200) provides students with an introduction to the four goals of a liberal education at Appalachian State University. Specifically, students will practice (1) thinking critically and creatively and (2) communicating effectively. In addition, students will be introduced to the learning goals of (3) making local-to-global connections and (4) understanding responsibilities of community membership.
While each First Year Seminar course engages a unique topic examined from multiple perspectives, each course also introduces students to a common set of transferable skills. As such, First Year Seminar facilitates student engagement with: fellow students, the university, the community, and the common reading; essential college-level research and information literacy skills; and the habits of rigorous study, intellectual growth, and lifelong learning.
Note: UCO 1200 or an equivalent "First Year Seminar" course (such as HON 1515, Freshman Honors Seminar, or WGC 1103, Investigations: Local) is required of all freshmen completing General Education requirements. It is also required of all transfer students with less than 30 semester hours of transferable work or who graduated from high school less than one year before their matriculation date. Transfer students with 30-59 semester hours of transferable work are eligible to enroll, but it is not required. Students with 60 or more earned hours are not eligible to enroll without permission from the Office of General Education.
Common Expectations of First Year Seminar
First Year Seminar offers a wide array of topics taught by faculty from various disciplines. In order to provide a measure of consistency, as well as meeting General Education learning outcomes we ask all faculty to:
- Utilize at least two different modes of inquiry.
- Use engaging pedagogies and involve students in a shared process of inquiry.
- Involve students in problem-based learning with a research/library component.
- Help students make connections with faculty, other students, their courses, and the university through an intentional focus on community building and co-curricular involvement (e.g. service learning, cultural events, outdoor programs, etc.).
- Require the use of the Common Reading Program book.
- NOT be narrowly focused or an introduction to a specific discipline.
- Be sure your activities and assignments align with the FYS learning goals (see below for those).
See what the university requires you to include on your First Year Seminar syllabus. By clicking this link you can also see sample FYS syllabi.
Learning Goals of All FYS Classes
Each FYS course is unique and based on a topic in which the instructor has expertise and is passionate about teaching. But through their unique topic, each and every FYS instructor aims to accomplish 10 specific goals. These 10 learning goals are listed on this document. View the Learning Goals of FYS courses.
FYS Learning Goals including General Education Goals
- Designing an Effective Library Research Assignment: How Do You Know Your Assignment Provides Effective Guidance to Help Students Learn the Information Literacy Skills We Aim to Teach in FYS ? Use this rubric to assess the effectiveness of your assignment design!
- University QEP/GLO Goal Rubrics
- ACE: What are the elements of an internationalized course?
- AAC&U's Global Learning VALUE Rubric
Don't Cancel That FYS Class
The University requires that we provide students with the specified number of contact hours for each of their courses. Therefore any time an instructor does not meet with their FYS class, whether planned or unplanned, they must notify the FYS office and arrange for an alternative activity. Here is a long list of online and face-to-face alternative activites that work for planned and unnplanned absences from class.
First Year Seminar Library Modules
In support of FYS Goal of Practice #4, "Practice the Acquisition of Information Literacy Competencies," all FYS students are required to view the FYS Library Modules (online modules in AsULearn that teach information literacy skills). The Library Modules are made available by the University Libraries to all FYS courses each semester, and it is recommended that they count as 5% of the course grade. To practice what they learn in the Modules, all FYS courses should include research assignments to help students build information literacy skills and to provide individual students with feedback on their research strengths and areas for growth.
It is recommended that the Modules be assigned prior to or concurrently with the research assignment in the course, ideally scaffolding the Modules appropriately to align with parts of the assignment. The FYS instructor and Information Literacy Librarian for the First Year Experience can be close partners in helping first-year students develop the skills they'll need to succeed. For more, read the First Year Seminar Library Modules 2022+ Assessment Plan and visit the Library Resource Guide for FYS Faculty.
Helpful Resources to Improve Teaching
- The Scholarly Teacher, a blog applying evidence-based strategies to enrich student learning.
- The College STAR Professional Development Modules for Faculty (these offer great ideas for engaging students with a variety of learning styles).
- Infographic syllabus 3-2-1 video
- Course Calendar 3-2-1 video
- Lillian Nave explains Universal Design for Learning
- Intercultural Competency and Universal Design for Learning
- Search Belk Library's Streaming Films Directory
- Search Swank's Streaming Video List and embed videos in your AsULearn site!
Technology for Teaching
Technology has become an integral part of our lives & our teaching & learning. Technology empowers teachers to:
- Provide greater course access
- Provide greater course flexibility
- Embrace a greater diversity of learning preferences
- Provide more opportunities for innovation & creativity
- Increase the authenticity & meaningfulness of learning activities
- Diversify the opportunities to engage students
- Support a broader range of learning needs
- Communicate in more ways
- Embrace cultural trends, interests & needs
- Be more creative
- Provide a learning space that maximizes all learners capabilities
- Never have to cancel class meetings
For technology or any other teaching approach to be effective, it needs to be MEANINGFULLY INTEGRATED into the learning experiences of the course. Thoughtful course design increases the likelihood that technology or any other strategy will be effective & result in significant learning.