Teaching Resources

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:

  1. Utilize at least two different modes of inquiry.
  2. Use engaging pedagogies and involve students in a shared process of inquiry.
  3. Involve students in problem-based learning with a research/library component.
  4. 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.).
  5. Require the use of the Common Reading Program book.
  6. NOT be narrowly focused or an introduction to a specific discipline.
  7. 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

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

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.

Requesting Funding for Co-Curricular Activities in Your FYS Course

FYS has a budget that allows instructors to request formally up to $10 per student (plus $10 per instructor) for special course-related co-curricular events (e.g., tickets to a play or supplies for some co-curricular activity. Please request funds only to support co-curricular engagement opportunities. Note money cannot be spent to feed people with this fund, nor do we buy souvenir-like items or pay for someone to come guest present in your class because such things are not co-curricular activities and funds are limited. If you use a Motor Pool vehicle to travel to an event, this money can be used toward the cost of travel to and from the event. Instructors must submit the request in advance of spending any money to Sheryl Mohn at mohnsc@appstate.edu. Learn more about how instructors have incorporated co-curricular activities in their courses and links to free and paid events.

Intregating Common Reading Book in Your FYS Class

All FYS courses engage the common reading book of that year, and our data tell us that almost all students start their first year at Appalachian having read all or part of the book. To read about the year's common reading selection including helpful instructional guides: Common Reading Selection

Your Tech Support Liaison: Derek Eggers

Mr. Derek Eggers is an Instructional Technology Consultant for faculty teaching in University College. If you have questions about your AsULearn site, your instructional desgin, or any technologies training needs, you can request a consultation with Mr. Eggers or Submit a support ticket to request help.

Submit a support ticket to describe a particular issue or request someone to contact you :

  • Log in with your Appalachian ID and password
  • Under New Incident: Click to Submit a New Incident
  • For Incident Type select:
    • (3) Online Accounts, then for Account : AsULearn; or
    • (7) Software Training (MS Office & Adobe, Drupal, Workshop Scheduler)
  • Complete the incident form; someone will respond to your issue promptly

Counseling Center Liaison to FYS Faculty

As you prepare for the semester, we encourage you to engage your students in a discussion regarding their mental health. We are all aware of the struggles our students face in regard to stress, anxiety, depression and high-risk behaviors. The Counseling Center has trained a group of students to talk with their peers about mental wellness and encourage them to seek help if they are struggling. Please consider inviting our Mental Health Ambassadors into your classroom or club meeting by going to mha.appstate.edu and requesting a program or directly contacting Dr. Leslie Martin in the Counseling Center at martinle1@appstate.edu or 828-262-3180. Together, we can promote mental wellness and safety on our campus.

Leslie Martin, Ph.D.
Appalachian State University Counseling and Psychological Services Center
614 Howard St.
Boone, NC 28608
828-262-3182 (fax)