University 101 had its most successful semester ever in fall 2020, according to results from course evaluations and the First-Year Seminar Assessment.
Despite the challenges of taking the course in a global pandemic, students agreed at record rates that they recommend future UofSC students take University 101, the course improved their transition to the university and taking the course was a valuable experience.
University 101 curriculum focuses on helping students adjust to university life by giving them valuable knowledge about on-campus resources, studying, and making the most of ther UofSC experience.
We had to wear masks and be distanced. It was different for those reasons alone, but I feel like the students were so excited to be here and have a class in person.
Christine Shelek, instructor
Freshman business major Ami Patel took an in-person University 101 section taught by instructor Maria Sophocleous. Although precautions such as wearing masks and maintaining distance were in place, the overall experience was not hindered by the adjustments, Patel says.
“We played Jeopardy with each other, while still maintaining six feet in between all of us, “Patel says. “This was a great way to connect with my fellow classmates, and I am glad that we did this because interactions are very limited now.”
“Another thing that I enjoyed about this course was the discussions that we had in the classroom,” she says. “We talked about issues such as discrimination, privilege, and safety… the resources that were available on campus, and I appreciate the fact that we had these discussions.”
Instructors also adjusted to teaching under new circumstances while maintaining the same high level of quality. Being able to give students the same resources in creative ways is important to the first-year experience, says Christine Shelek, a veteran University 101 instructor who made the best of her in-person class during fall 2020. She says she was fortunate to have a large classroom space that made social distancing possible so that students could have the full experience.
“We had to wear masks and be distanced. It was different for those reasons alone, but I feel like the students were so excited to be here and have a class in person,” Shelek says.
Although the semester was filled with uncertainty, University 101 stuck to its goal of helping students with their first-year and making sure — as much as possible — that students still got the same valuable experiences that previous classes were able to enjoy.
“I had to pivot several times when it came to doing specific activities, but it’s a good thing that you can make those quick changes and decisions,” Shelek says. “The students were so flexible.”