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First-Year Programs and Liberal Arts: Best Practices and New Thinking June 6-8, 2007 St. Lawrence University Keeping the Fires Burning: Ongoing Innovation.

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Presentation on theme: "First-Year Programs and Liberal Arts: Best Practices and New Thinking June 6-8, 2007 St. Lawrence University Keeping the Fires Burning: Ongoing Innovation."— Presentation transcript:

1 First-Year Programs and Liberal Arts: Best Practices and New Thinking June 6-8, 2007 St. Lawrence University Keeping the Fires Burning: Ongoing Innovation in a Nineteen-Year-Old Program Kathleen Skubikowski Mary Ellen Bertolini Jessica Holmes Pieter Broucke Middlebury College

2 How can an established first- year seminar program remain innovative?

3 First-Year Seminars at Middlebury Original Program Goals Introduce First-Year Students to Small Courses Require a Second Writing Course Improve General Education Advising Encourage First-Year Students to Make Intellectual Connections within and between Disciplines

4 First-Year Seminars at Middlebury Curricular Goals Combining the Timeless and the Timely Emphasizing Critical Skills Encouraging Creative Lateral Learning Encouraging Intellectual Curiosity Building a Sense of Community Evolving Responsibility

5 First-Year Seminars at Middlebury Legislated Features Seminars are: Required in the First Semester Writing Intensive Limited to 15 Students Taught by Regular, Full-time Faculty Faculty: Are Students Academic Advisers Select Individual Seminar Topics Develop their Students Thinking, Writing, and Speaking Skills

6 First-Year Seminars at Middlebury Evolving Features Locus for Pedagogical Discussion and Experimentation Students Housed in Commons (dorm clusters) by Seminar Seminars Eligible for Resource Team: Peer Writing Tutor, Reference Librarian, Educational Technologist, and Peer Mentor (ACE)

7 First-Year Seminar Resource Team Innovation-- Staff and Peers Attached to Individual FYSE Reference Librarian-- the research contact person for students and faculty helps with research, supports research assignments teaches workshops on research fundamentals Educational Technologist-- provides, coordinates, facilitates technologies provides essential familiarity with the College's servers supports sophisticated multimedia projects and websites Peer ACE --Academic Consultant for Excellence helps students enhance academic planning skills works with students on optimum performance, study skills, stress management. Peer Writing Tutor --works with students on writing assignments facilitates peer critiquing groups either in class or outside provides oral presentation support

8 A Librarian Consults with Faculty Preparing for Seminars Offers Seminar-specific Workshops Creates Online or Print Resource Guides Holds Follow-up Sessions with Students Can Help Design Independent Student Assignments Provides Instruction in Copyright Compliance

9 How to use Library formats collections, ILL, reserves, digital projects How to read citations, locate material How to recognize scholarly & popular publications primary & secondary resources How to ask good questions How to evaluate and synthesize information How and why to cite materials How to avoid plagiarism and copyright infringements What Do We Want Students to Know about Research?

10 Basic Assignments Students locate online articles from citations provided by professor. Students find scholarly articles by searching subject index. Intermediate Assignments Students analyze topic by investigating popular & scholarly sources, and write about differences. Students find reviews of a work, then compare them, or write a response. Known Item and New Item Search Proper Citation Learn Scope of Library Resources Critical Thinking & Analysis Learning About Audience Comparison & Response

11 Prepare for an Interview Gather and write summary as background for interview List sources, annotating validity/usefulness and identify missing information Write Articles for Newspaper or News Magazine After reading results of a study, find existing news articles about same study Write comparison, discussing decisions and assumptions of each article Comprehensive Assignment Ideas: Utilizes Broad Range of Research and Writing Skills

12 Range of Tech Possibilities Absolutely Nothing Technology Orientation Course Web Site Audio Projects Podcasts Digital Stories Video-based Projects Games Remix Videos Virtual Reality Class Course Folders Electronic Discussion Wikis Blogs

13 Brief Technology Orientation Saving Work to Servers Overview of Technology at Middlebury Avoiding Lost Work Preventing Viruses, Spyware Accessing Segue can class (including self) can add support team to list can attach documents –syllabus –readings –problem sets –handouts Available for Every Class

14 Custom Course Sites or sites using Segue-- Middleburys easy to use, web 2.0 friendly course management tool

15 Course Management & Web-based Discussion

16 High-end Use of Technology Wikis--quintessentially Web 2.0 Digital Media Projects Video Conferences Audio & Podcasting –Web sites for publishing audio –RSS feeds for subscribing to podcasts CTLR Summer Workshops--Pedagogy & Tools

17 Student Team Members ACEs & PWTs attached to FYSE Academic Consultants for Excellence (3.7+ GPA) Peer Writing Tutors (nominated by faculty) Peer Writing Tutors: Work with All Parts of the Writing Process Help with In-class Workshops Work with Oral Presentation Model Research Skills Convey Intentionality ACEs help first-years: Improve Performance Reduce Stress & Anxiety Balance Commitments on Time Master Complex Projects Enhance Reading Maximize Discussions Increase Healthy Coping Strategies

18 FYSE 1041: Economics of Social Issues Goals of the Course –Content –Expose Students to Alternative Viewpoints –Improve Written/Oral Communication Ability –Enhance Research Skills –Familiarize Students with College Resources –Civic Engagement/Service Learning

19 FYSE 1041: Economics of Social Issues Ambitious Goals? Yes!! Need a Resource Team… –ACE (Academic Consultant for Excellence) –Peer Writing Tutor –Technology Consultant –Reference Librarian

20 Course Specific Guides


22 Reflections Goals Achieved Positive Student Evaluations A Few Lessons Learned…

23 FYSE 1172: Between the Rivers: Visual Culture of Early Mesopotamia Goals and Methods Provide the seminar students with the skills I expect students in my other classes to have Staying Engaged Two FYSEs every three years, for a total of six Content

24 A Team Effort Institutional Support: - Library Liaison - Technology Liaison - Center for Teaching, Learning, and Research Peer Support: - Writing Tutor - ACE - Community of Scholars Content Support: - Guest Lecturers Social/Intellectual Support: - Commons Organizational Support: - Professor as Team Manager

25 FYSE 1172: Between the Rivers: Visual Culture of Early Mesopotamia Treasures from the Royal Tombs of Ur Exhibition at the Middlebury College Museum of Art

26 FYSE Student Symposium With Formal Presentations Open to the Public Blake Johnson 10: Revolutions in Pottery: Mesopotamian Clay and Stone Working

27 Not My Field!

28 FYSE Fall 08: Greece vs. Rome: The 18 th -Century Debate Regarding the Sources of Western Civilization January 09: Student-Curated Exhibition at the Middlebury College Museum of Art

29 So how does an established first-year seminar program remain innovative?

30 1. Flexibility

31 2. Serve Two Constituencies

32 Kathleen Skubikowski, Mary Ellen Bertolini Jessica Holmes, and Pieter Broucke Middlebury College Keeping the Fires Burning Some materials contributed by Yonna McShane, Sheldon Sax, Jean Simmons.

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