FYE 101: First Year Experience

Course description

In this course, we will be discussing academic and related issues and learn about campus resources relevant to first-year students to help you make the transition from high school to college learning environments.

You’ve probably heard it too many times by now but your first semester at college truly is a time of transition.  It’s an opportunity to grow and that’s exciting, but it also means you need to adapt.  You also want to be ready to take advantage of everything a university has to offer.  The main objective of FYE 101 is to help you be ready to do those things.  More specifically, this course will provide you with the opportunity to develop and reflect on:

  1. Tools you need to be thoughtful and intentional about your college experience – you should be able to understand yourself, decide what you want from college, and set goals to achieve what you want.
  2. Good “habits of mind” that allow deep learning – you should be able to study and learn effectively, using strategies that help you to draw meaning from class material and readings.
  3. Methods for managing yourself – you should be responsible for managing your time, keeping track of your progress toward your goals, seeking help when needed, and seeking out enriching experiences.
  4. Knowledge of opportunities and resources at CCSU – there are many extra-curricular activities (clubs etc.) and support services (e.g., The Learning Center; Counseling and Wellness Center) available and knowing what they are will help you get the most out of your CCSU experience.

FYE 101 is linked to your ENG 110 (Freshman Composition) class.  For the most part, these will be separate experiences but, at times, we will discuss both personal growth and academic adjustment issues as they relate to the task and discipline of writing – there are many connections that can be made, such as with the topics of procrastination, memory, stress, etc.  In addition, we will occasionally use ENG 110 course material as examples when we discuss academic skills.


Course Texts

Rebekah Nathan’s My Freshman Year

James M. Lang’s “Metacognition and Student Learning”

Kelsey Diaz’s “Seven Ways High School Prepares You for Failure”


Reflection Papers (Minimum of 500 words; graded on contract basis)

Reflection 1: Which popular culture text (film, television show, book, etc.) most influenced your expectations about college? Why? What has it led you to expect?

Reflection 2: Using the first section of chapter 2 in My Freshman Year as a model, perform an analysis of the “space” at CCSU using two different places on campus. Your description of the spaces themselves should use as many specifics as possible and also include an analysis of the differences between them. Some possible pairings include the resident spaces versus common areas in the dorms; the resident doors versus RAs’ doors in the dorms; the academic hallways versus the student services areas (for example, the Student Center or the athletic buildings). In order to stay as specific as possible, choose one example of each in the pair you chose to describe. In other words, don’t try to describe every dorm room, or even every hallway in a specific building.

Reflection 3: Attend a yoga or other exercise class or activity on CCSU’s campus, then write a reflection on the experience. Some elements to consider include how you felt before and after the class, how the class compared to your previous experiences with that type of activity (if you’ve done it before) or your expectations (if you haven’t), and if you plan to take a class like that again.

Reflection 4: This reflection has two parts: 1) A Schoolwork Journal; and 2) A portrait summarizing the workload managing habits of college students in 2011 based on that journal, and only on that journal. Think of yourself as an anthropologist (or reporter) and your Journal as the notes you took during an interview with your key source.

Reflection 5: What has been the best moment of the semester so far? Why? What can you learn from that moment to repeat later?

Reflection 6: By this point in the semester, you’ve met with a CACE advisor and planned out a preliminary outline for your future semesters here at CCSU. Using that plan as a guide, contact a professor for one of the courses you will be taking in the spring semester and ask him or her what writing you will be expected to produce in that class. In addition, look down the line to your senior year. Contact a professor you are likely to have in one of your final semesters and ask the same question. Report the results of this primary research and reflect on how the ideas and discussions we’ve had this semester might prove useful in those upcoming courses.

Reflection 7: What lessons, ideas, concepts, strategies, etc. will you take with you into the spring semester? Think not only about your skills but also the knowledge that you may find useful for your upcoming classes.


Final Project: Advice Podcasts

For this final activity, you will be creating and recording your own 90-second podcast, in the style of an advice column targeting next year’s First-Year Experience students.

The Instructional Design and Technology Resource Center can assist you in recording, editing, and saving your podcast.

Before your recording session, be sure to familiarize yourself with the style of podcasting and decide what you would like to copy from those you find on the web. You should also have your script ready to go, timed to be as close to 90 seconds as possible (this is a minimum with a loose maximum of 50% overage, so no more than 3 minutes).

One option for your podcast is to “disagree with reasons” with the standard preparing for college advice while another is to tell a personal narrative that includes a warning on what not to do. Other than that, this is a wide-open assignment to allow you to exercise some creativity.

Fall 2012 Syllabus: FYE 101


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