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Goals, Learning Outcomes and Course Requirements

The purpose of University 101 is to help new students make a successful transition to the University of South Carolina, both academically and personally. This course aims to foster a sense of belonging, promote engagement in the curricular and co-curricular life of the university, articulate to students the expectations of the University and its faculty, help students develop and apply critical thinking skills, and help students continue to clarify their purpose, meaning, and direction.

Five basic principles underscore our philosophy and approach to creating an effective first-year seminar.

  • Community should be established early in order to promote a sense of belonging and to create a safe and welcoming learning environment.
  • Course content should be tailored to the needs of the students in each section.
  • University 101 should be an active, engaging, and enjoyable learning experience.
  • Course content, methods, instructional strategies, and assignments should be purposeful and firmly aligned with the common learning outcomes.
  • Each student should receive an appropriate balance of challenge and support.

Goals & Learning Outcomes
The goals and learning outcomes reflected in this document were carefully formulated to ensure a relevant, sustainable and dynamic course design. The learning outcomes and common course requirements should provide a degree of consistency across sections while also allowing instructors to customize their section. The broad nature of these outcomes signifies that no single approach may be appropriate for all sections or all students. The content, topics, and methods to achieve the outcomes should be tailored to the needs of the students in a given section and to the strengths and expertise of the instructor.

  1. Foster Academic Success
    As a result of this course, students will 

    1. Adapt and apply appropriate academic strategies to their courses and learning experiences.

    2. Demonstrate how to effectively evaluate information sources and utilize University libraries and information systems for academic inquiry. 

    3. Recognize the purpose and value of academic integrity and describe the key themes related to the Honor Code at the University of South Carolina. 

    4. Use written and oral communication to discover, develop, and articulate ideas and viewpoints. 

    5. Identify and apply strategies to effectively manage time and priorities. 

    6. Identify relevant academic policies, processes, and procedures related to advising, course planning, and major exploration. 

  2. Help Students Discover and Connect with The University of South Carolina
    As a result of this course, students will

    1. Identify appropriate campus resources and opportunities that contribute to their educational experience, goals, and campus engagement. 

    2. Develop and apply skills that contribute to building positive relationships with peers, staff and faculty. 

    3. Describe what it means to be a Carolinian in context of the history, traditions, and culture of the University. 

  3. Prepare Students for Responsible Lives in a Diverse, Interconnected, and Changing World
    As a result of this course, students will 

    1. Examine how their background and experiences impact their values and assumptions and explain the influence these have on their relationships with others. 

    2. Describe concepts of diversity and recognize diverse perspectives. 

    3. Describe and demonstrate principles of responsible citizenship within and beyond the campus community. 

    4. Describe processes, strategies, and resources, and explain the implications of their decisions, related to their overall wellness.

*Important Note: Instructors must be intentional in all aspects of course planning and design in order to facilitate student progress toward achieving these outcomes.

It is important to note that an outcome is not the same thing as a daily lesson or a specific piece of content. Individual lesson plans or topics may be applicable to numerous outcomes. Individual topics that could be vehicles for achieving some of these outcomes might include:

  • Alcohol & other drug issues
  • Campus involvement
  • Campus safety
  • Career exploration
  • Carolinian Creed
  • Current events
  • Financial literacy
  • GLBTQ information
  • Learning skills and styles
  • Multiculturalism /cultural diversity
  • Purpose of higher education and the liberal arts
  • Sexual health
  • Stress management
  • Study abroad
  • Sustainability

You should also consider educational methods that promote the outcomes, such as community service, service-learning, undergraduate research, cultural participation, and other beyond the classroom experiences.

Other Course Requirements
In an effort to achieve these goals and learning outcomes, the requirements listed below will be included in all sections of University 101.

Integrative Learning
As part of our involvement in supporting the Quality Enhancement Plan (USC Connect), University 101 has been charged with orienting students to Beyond the Classroom learning opportunities. Our course will play a key role in students' ability to articulate the significance of beyond the classroom experiences and the role these experiences play in contributing to their overall learning. This is a natural extension of existing UNIV 101 course outcomes, particularly our charge to help students "identify appropriate campus resources and opportunities that contribute to their educational experience, goals, and campus engagement."

In order to foster this outcome, each section must require students to participate in at least one beyond the classroom learning opportunity. Examples include, but are not limited to:

  • Cultural event such as a theatrical performance, dance and/or music recital
  • Community service
  • Campus club/organization
  • Residence hall programs
  • Campus lecture
  • Diversity events, such as those sponsored by the Office of Multicultural Student Affairs
  • Lunch with an international student
  • Outdoor Recreation program
  • Leadership programs or workshops

Required Readings

Transitions: Transitions is the University 101 textbook and is representative of many custom-published new student seminar textbooks used across the United States. Transitions is used in each University 101 class as an integral instructional resource and provides a consistent source of important information for students in all sections of UNIV 101.

Use of Additional Reading: As in other first-year courses, substantive reading is required for UNIV 101. In addition to using Transitions, University 101 instructors choose an additional text or reading for their class. This may include a text/novel, the First-Year Reading Experience book, Gamecock Connection library components, local or national newspapers, or compilation of articles and/or chapters. Instructors should make substantive use of these readings.

Assignments need to require students to demonstrate evidence of achieving the learning outcomes for the course. This will be accomplished through a mix of assignments, papers, presentations, and exams. At a minimum, each section will require students to complete:

  • a method of regular written reflection (journals, blogs, short reaction papers, etc)
  • a formal paper
  • a formal presentation
  • midterm
  • final exam. The final exam should challenge students to reflect upon and synthesize the major course goals. Methodologies could include portfolios, take home projects or papers, presentations, in-class exam, etc.

It is important that new students receive early and regular feedback about their academic performance and that they have some sense of their progress in the course prior to the withdrawal date. Thus, students must receive a grade from at least one significant assignment within the first six weeks of the semester.


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