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Running head: SYLLABUS PROJECT

First Year Experience (FYE) Seminar: FYE: 100


Section 1
Wednesdays Beginning January 14, 2015
2:00 2:50 PM
100 Jesup Hall

Instructor: Katherine Knight Academic Advisor


Office: 219 MTCC: First Year Experience Campus Life
Phone: 555-555-5555
Email: kknight4@luc.edu
Office Hours: MWF 3:00-5:00 PM
Peer Mentors: Peer Mentor information will be provided to each student
upon the start of class.
Required Text:
Jacobs, L., Hyman, J. (2013). The secret to college success: second edition.
San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass.
Other Required Materials:
A camera or phone with a camera required for the group scavenger hunt
assignment. If a student does not have a way to take pictures, cameras can
be rented or bought at the University Bookstore.
Course Description:
This course is designed for students that are new to the university and
college life in general. We will be using media portrayals of the college
experience to either confirm or debunk the myths we already picture our
time here to be! Students will learn about resources on campus, how to
study, and learn something about each other and themselves to help on the
path to deciding a major, career path, or what co-curricular activities to get
involved in. Students will plan for the rest of their time at the University,
making sure to seize every moment they have while in college!
Course Theme: Media Representation of College Life: Debunking the Myths

SYLLABUS PROJECT

Student Learning Outcomes:


Students may vary on their competency levels on these outcomes:
Foundational Knowledge:
Students will be able to recall and use five campus resources to aid in
achieving personal and professional goals.
Application:
Students will be able to expand study and social skills to enhance the
transition to college life.
Integration:
Students will make connections between talents and skills with
potential professional pathways.
Human Dimension:
Students will be able to effectively interact with diverse campus
community members to begin building a network.
Caring:
Students will reflect on positive and negative feelings experienced
during their first year through weekly journal entries and in-class
discussions.
Learning How to Learn:
Students will develop planning skills that will help achieve goals set
throughout the course.
Attendance:
If a student misses class, they will miss essential aspects of this course, and
their performance will suffer as a result. After two unexcused absences, a
students grade will drop by one full letter grade. Tardiness is not
acceptable unless the situation has been communicated beforehand.
Missed or Late Assignments:
If a student is to miss an assignment, each day that the assignment is late
will result in an automatic two point deduction until the assignment reaches
no value. For example, if an assignment is three days late, six points will be
automatically deducted from the assignment.
Classroom Guidelines:
Frequent class participation is required to get the full amount of in-class
participation points. The class will set other general classroom guidelines on
the first day. Items to discuss will include physical classroom set-up and

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appropriate and inappropriate behavior during civil and personal classroom
discussions.

Campus Resources:
The following resources (to be discussed further in class) may be useful for a
student throughout this course:
Center for Tutoring and Academic Excellence 101 Sullivan Center
Counseling Services 102 Damen Hall
Services for Students with Disabilities 203 Sullivan Center
Accessibility:
Students who have disabilities which they believe entitle them to
accommodations under the Americans with Disabilities Act should register
with the Services for Students with Disabilities (SSWD) office. To request
accommodations, students must schedule an appointment with an SSWD
coordinator. Students should contact SSWD at least four weeks before their
first semester or term at the University. Returning students should schedule
an appointment within the first two weeks of the semester or term. The
University policy on accommodations and participation in courses is available
at: university.edu
Academic Honesty:
Academic honesty is an expression of interpersonal justice, responsibility and
care, applicable to University faculty, students, and staff, which demands
that the pursuit of knowledge in the university community be carried out
with sincerity and integrity. The School of Educations Policy on Academic
Integrity can be found at: university.edu
Course Calendar:
Date:
January 14

Topic:
Welcome: Why is
this class
required?

In-Class Activity:
Journal: What are
your expectations
from this class?

Assignment:
Due next week:

Introduce Scavenger
Hunt Activity

Purchase Text
Book

Read Syllabus

Student
Organization
Fair Assignment

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January 21

Getting Involved!

Journal: Student
Organization Fair
Reflection
On-going Twitter
Project

Read Chapter:
Getting Involved
Due next week:
Complete
Strengths Quest
Assessment
Bring Item that
Represents You

January 28

Connecting with
Peers

Journal: Working in
Groups Good and
Bad experiences
Individual
Presentations
StrengthsQuest
Workshop with Peer
Mentors

Due next week:


Read Chapter:
Goal Setting
Brainstorm
Career
Exploration
Ideas Bring to
class
Tweet Due

February 4

February 11

Introduction to
Career
Exploration
Project and Goal
Setting

Planning 101

Journal: What is your


dream job? How can
you get there?

Meeting with
Peer Mentor
outside of class
Due next week:
Track Your Time
Sheets

Goal Setting Activities

Journal: How do you


keep track of your
time and tasks?
Assign Scavenger
Hunt Groups

Extra Credit
opportunity:
Participate or
volunteer in
Career Fair
Due next week:
Schedule 1:1
Meeting with
Katherine
Reach out to
Scavenger Hunt

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February 18

February 25

Academic/Person
al 2 Year Plan

Journal: What are


some things youve
always wanted to
learn but havent had
time to?

Introduction to
Campus
Resources

Use information from


meeting with
Katherine
Journal: Campus
Resources Initial
Thoughts

Importance of
Self Care

Group Project
Presentations

group members
Due next week:
Read Chapter:
Self Care
Campus
Resources
Scavenger Hunt
Due next week:
Tweet Due
Practice Self
Care on Spring
Break!

Campus Partner
Presentations
March 4

March 11

NO CLASS!

Study Skills
Getting Back on
the Horse

Midterm Evaluations
SPRING BREAK!

Learning Styles
Assessment
Self Care Reflection
Discussion

March 18

March 25

Libraries On
Campus

Critical Thinking

Due next week:


Be prepared to
discuss Self
Care activities
Due next week:
Read Book:
Using the
Library

Journal: Midterm
evaluations how are
your classes going?
What skills do you
need help with?

Movie Selection
for Final Project
due to
Katherine

Journal: What
environment do you
study best in?

Due next week:

Library tours!
Journal: How will you
apply the skills
learned so far to your

Tweet Due
Due next week:
Check in with

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college experience?

April 1

Campus
Diversity

In Class Case
Studies/Simulations/R
ole Play with Peer
Mentors
Journal: What does
diversity mean to
you?

Peer Mentors

Due next week:


Read Chapter:
Resumes

Diversity Workshops
Diversity
Reflection

April 8

Resume 101

April 15

Current Events:
Whats
Happening?

April 22

Service Learning

Step Forward, Step


Back
Journal: When you
Due next week:
graduate, what things
do you see on your
Current Event
resume?
Article
Assignment
Peer Mentor/Career
Center Resume
Workshop
Journal: How do you
Due next week:
keep up with current
events?
Read Book:
Current Events and
the Media
Class trip: Service
Learning

Tweet Due
Due next week:
Read Book:

Journal: Out of class


this week bring
reflections of service
learning day next
week
April 28

Tying it all
Together

Journal: Final class


observations

Final Project
Service
Learning
Reflection
Due next week:

Goal Evaluations
May 6

NO CLASS
FINALS WEEK

Final Evaluations
NO CLASS

STUDY HARD!

SYLLABUS PROJECT

The above schedule of assignments along with policies and procedures are
subject to change in the event of extenuating circumstances or to ensure
better student learning.

Grading:
Assignment:
Weekly Journal Entries (1 point each)
Student Organization Fair Assignment
StrengthsQuest Assessment
Completion
Time Sheet Assignment
Campus Resources Group Project
Twitter Participation
Current Event Article Assignment
Service Learning Reflection
Diversity Reflection
Final Movie Project
In-Class Participation
Total

Points Available:
15
10
5
5
15
5
5
5
5
20
10
100

Grading Scale:
Percent:
93 100
90 92
86 - 89
83 - 85
80 - 82
76 - 79
73 - 75
70 - 72
Large Assignment Descriptions:
Student Organization Fair Assignment:

Letter Grade:
A
AB+
B
BC+
C
C-

SYLLABUS PROJECT

Research shows that a contributing factor for a more positive collegiate


experience is a students involvement in extra and co-curricular activities. In
this assignment, students are expected to attend the Universitys student
organization fair and visit at least five student organizations they would be
interested in joining. Students will collect a flyer, poster, or other signature
from those organizations and turn them in along with a reflection paper on
why that organization is one of interest to them and what their next steps
are (joining, interviewing for the organization, or changing their mind). At
the end, the student should have a good feel for what they would like to get
involved in!

Campus Resources Group Project:


There are countless resources available to both first year students and
upperclassmen at the University! In order to learn more about what a
student has access to, students will break out into groups and explore five
different resources each to bring back and present to the class. Students are
required to talk to and take a picture with someone from each of the offices
they visit to insert into their presentation in a way they see fit. Through this
assignment, students will become familiar with a majority of the resources
on campus, while learning how to effectively work in a group setting.
Final Movie Project:
Throughout the semester, students will be exposed to different portrayals of
college life in the media and criticizing the accuracy of the scenarios. To
wrap up the class and what students have learned about the University,
themselves, and their peers, students will pick a movie depicting college life
(cleared by Katherine at the midterm of the course) and relate how the
movie does or doesnt relate to the college experience in five pages or less.
Electronic Communication and Feedback:
We live in a world full of technology and expectations of quick response! In
recognition of this, students can expect a grade for an assignment or email
response no later than one week after the assignment or email is sent.
Students will be notified in advance if this should change.

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Syllabus Project: Reflective Analysis


Katherine M. Knight
Loyola University Chicago

10

SYLLABUS PROJECT

Syllabus Project Reflective Analysis


Creating an intentional syllabus centered on significant learning experiences became
more of a challenge than I ever anticipated. Aligning every in-class and out-of-class assignments
and activities with set learning outcomes took a lot of thought, time, and energy, and it is easy to
see how some educators may not feel that they have time to recreate courses to include
significant learning outcomes. For the First Year Experience (FYE) course syllabus, I created
specific and measurable learning outcomes related to Finks (2003) taxonomy of significant
learning. From there, I used the backward design approach to develop diverse learning activities
and forms of assessment that align directly with the learning outcomes in order to facilitate
significant learning experiences.
Articulation and Description
All parts of the First Year Experience course were developed intentionally, bringing in
multiple aspects of Finks (2003) approach to creating significant learning experiences, and
Nilsons (2010) chapter on creating a complete syllabus. To begin, the First Year Experience

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course is designed as a required semester-long course for incoming first year students at a fouryear public higher education institution. This course serves as a tool to assist students in
transitioning from high school, a different institution, or the workforce, to life in college at this
particular institution. With the course description in mind, the first thing developed for the
syllabus, supported by Finks (2003) theory of backward design were the learning outcomes.
Developing what students should accomplish from taking this course at the beginning allows the
educator to tie all the teaching and learning activities as well as feedback and assessment back to
those learning outcomes, creating an integrated course. Six learning outcomes were created to
reflect each of the six kinds of learning outlined in Finks (2003) taxonomy for significant
learning. Upon completing the First Year Experience course, students will have developed skills
in learning how to learn, foundational knowledge, caring, human dimension, integration, and
application.
After learning outcomes were in place, I created in class and out of class assignments and
forms of assessment. Every assignment in this course was designed to get students thinking
about what they are going to do with the time ahead of them at the University. For example, the
three larger projects, the student organization fair assignment, the campus resources project, and
the final movie project, are all assessed and graded on how students use the knowledge they
gained from the course and through those learning activities and how they will apply that
knowledge to the rest of their collegiate experience. By using the concept of Finks (2003)
forward-looking assessment, students are able to create real life context for the material and
skills learned in the course. In addition, there are multiple opportunities for self-assessment
throughout this course between, daily journal entries and required mid-semester and final selfevaluation rubrics. According to Fink (2003), it is important to create opportunities for self-

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assessment because students will need to assess their own performance, and they should start
learning how to do that while in the course (p. 91).
The last part of the First Year Experience syllabus inspired by Finks (2003) taxonomy of
significant learning, were the active teaching and learning activities. Very few days in the First
Year Experience Course involve students partaking in passive learning receiving information
and ideas. Each with presents students with new activities to do. For example, in a months
worth of classes in the course, students will have created their resumes with peer mentors,
participated in a diversity Step forward, step back activity, gone off campus to donate their
time to service learning, and held class in a library on campus they had never been to. Alongside
the experiential learning activities, students are also reflecting in daily journals about themselves,
the specific learning activities, and things they would still like to learn in the course.
Experiences and reflection along with the few times in the course where students are simply
presented with information and ideas make up Finks (2003) holistic view of active learning.
This holistic view of learning allows for the creation of a complete set of learning activities
capable of achieving active learning (p. 119).
After incorporating as many parts of Finks (2003) significant learning taxonomy as
possibly into the First Year Experience syllabus, I turned to Nilson (2010) to aid in filling in the
rest of the syllabus. Nilson (2010) provides an accessible checklist of items to include in a
concise but comprehensive syllabus. From this list, I added a breakdown of the grading scale
and points per assignment, assigning higher point values to assignments that will take more time
and effort to complete. For the smaller assignments, I assigned point values based on what I
found to be more important and valuable to the students learning experience.

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A second piece of the syllabus incorporated from Nilsons (2010) comprehensive list are
the classroom guidelines. As every class will be made up of different students at different stages
in their academic development, I found it useful to keep this section open ended. This way,
students can help determine what they would like the classroom to look like during class
discussions, giving them a part in constructing their learning environment.
Finally, a crucial section of the syllabus Nilson (2010) lists is a legal caveat or disclaimer.
Though I do not have a specific section in the First Year Experience syllabus regarding legality, I
incorporated items throughout the syllabus to help avoid complaints and grievances. For
example, Nilson (2010) suggests a disclaimer including how often and when you will answer
student email (p. 36). Instead of having a separate legal disclaimer, I included this information
in the Electronic Communication and Feedback section at the end of the syllabus.
Reflection
I approached this assignment with a lot of excitement, inspired by class discussions on
transforming and revolutionizing education. I enjoyed brainstorming engaging and diverse
learning activities that would allow students to explore a variety of different learning styles to
master the content of the course. What I did not realize, however, is how hard it would be to
create learning outcomes, and how many individual parts make up a complete syllabus.
Creating significant learning outcomes for each vector of Finks (2003) taxonomy of
significant learning was the most challenging part of creating this syllabus. I had troubles
putting into words exactly what I wanted the students to learn. From there, once I had figured
out the end goals I still struggled with finding ways to effectively assess each outcome to show
students were reaching the goals integrated throughout the course.

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After the learning outcomes were polished and set in place, the part of the syllabus I
enjoyed creating the most was the course schedule complete with learning activities,
assignments, and forms of assessment. I drew inspiration from a positive experience I had in a
college transition course, combined with several negative, insignificant learning environments
throughout my undergraduate coursework in finance. I wanted each week to be a new and
different style of learning, keeping students engaged throughout the entire semester.
The second challenge I faced when creating this course, was creating forms of assessment
that truly showed students progress towards the learning outcomes set for the course. Half of the
First Year Experience course focuses on specific and tangible skills and resources that can be
easily assessed with quizzes, tests, or papers. However, the other half of the course focuses on
the intrinsic growth of students, a much harder outcome to assess. I turned to journal entries and
in class discussions to assess a students ability to reflect on their experiences, placing emphasis
only on completion of the reflection rather than the content.
Finally, I underestimated the amount of small yet crucial parts that make up a complete
syllabus. Nilson (2010) provides an excellent checklist of items to include when creating a
syllabus. After creating learning outcomes, learning, activities, feedback, and assessment, I
thought I would be done with the bulk of my syllabus. I never took into consideration before,
how many small, but significant, pieces make up the rest of the syllabus. Sections including
academic dishonesty, accessibility, and available campus resources are all vital pieces of the
syllabus put in place to enhance student learning.
Creating a syllabus from start to finish taught me a lot about what it means to design
curriculum, especially intentional curriculum that leads to significant learning experiences. My
eyes were opened to the amount of time and energy it takes to connect every part of the syllabus

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back to learning outcomes carefully constructed for the course. I have a newfound respect for
educators who take the time to develop learning outcomes and learning activities tied to those
outcomes that keep students engaged and excited to learn. However exciting it was to create all
of the learning activities, it took a long time to develop different activities that would adhere to
different styles of learning rather than just relying on a lecture only based course.
To conclude, I now see how much support and encouragement is needed for faculty to
want to create and implement courses that encompass all aspects of significant learning. Fink
(2003) states four specific forms of support faculty need to implement these changes including
change in the procedures related to faculty work and faculty evaluation, improved procedures for
evaluating teaching, establishment of teaching and learning centers, and coordinated student
development and instructional development. I struggled creating a syllabus surrounding
significant learning experiences for a hypothetical situation with support from instructors and
classmates. Without Finks (2003) four suggested forms of faculty support, it is easy to see why
changing learning environments is no easy task.

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References
Fink, L.D. (2003). Creating significant learning experiences: An integrated approach to
developing college courses. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.
Nilson, L.B. (2010). Teaching at Its Best: A Research-Based Resource for College Instructors.
San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass. (Ch. 1 3)