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Signature Courses
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Frequently Asked Questions

  • Can GS 1181 count as part of my regular course load?

    No, because faculty members receive a paid stipend for the 1 credit hour 8-week Signature course.

  • Can I require a textbook?

    Yes. But faculty is encouraged to use a libguide in place of a textbook. Contact the Porter Henderson Library for assistance in setting up a libguide.

  • Can I set up a course for only one major?

    No. Signature courses are interdisciplinary and contemporary. The interdisciplinary nature of Signature courses opens them up to first time freshmen in any major.

  • Can I teach a course each semester?

    No. Signature courses are designed to give first time freshmen practice in writing, oral communication, information literacy, exposure to academic University resources, and a common intellectual event through the Faculty Lecture Series. Signature courses are only offered in fall semesters.

  • Can I teach more than one section?

    With the permission of your department chair you may teach more than one section.  For example, your chair may approve you teaching first and second 8-weeks during the fall semester.

  • Can the class be team taught?

    No.

  • Does the grade count toward a student’s GPA?

    Yes. Signature courses are 1 credit hour and a core requirement beginning Fall 2014.

  • Does the topic of course have to be something in my teaching area?

    No. Topics do align with faculty interest in order to produce an interdisciplinary and contemporary Signature course.

  • How can Signature course support funds be spent?

    Allowable expenditures for Signature courses may be found on page 1 of this document.

  • How many students will be in each section?

    Standard sections of Signature courses will have 20 to 25 students per section.  A few large sections of Signature courses will have 50-100 students per section.  These large sections will receive additional support through peer mentors.

  • How much will I be compensated?

    Faculty members are paid a $1500 stipend for teaching a 1 credit hour 8-week signature course.

  • How rigorous is the class supposed to be?

    As rigorous as any other freshman course.

  • How will we know if the class is making a difference?

    A bi-product of Signature courses is improved fall-spring retention of first time freshmen. 

  • I missed the Nov 4 deadline. Can I still submit a proposal?

    Yes. November 4, 2013 was the first deadline for Signature course proposals.  The second deadline for Signature course proposals is February 3, 2014.

  • What are the objectives and/or learning outcomes for the course?

    The Core Curriculum Committee has defined core student learning outcomes for GS 1181 as Information Literacy (CT1 or CT2) and Communication (CM1 and CM2).  See below for explanation of the abbreviations:

     

    • Critical Thinking (CT)
      • (CT1) Gather, analyze, evaluate, and synthesize information relevant to a question or issue
      • (CT2) Develop and demonstrate a logical position (i.e. perspective, thesis, hypothesis) that acknowledges ambiguities or contradictions
    • Communication Skills (CM)
      • (CM1) Develop, interpret, and express ideas through effective written communication
      • (CM2) Develop, interpret, and express ideas through effective oral communication
      • (CM3) Develop, interpret, and express ideas through effective visual communication
  • What happens if a student does not do his or her work?

    Faculty teaching first year students is strongly encouraged to respond to an Early Alert through GradesFirst if a student is not performing academically in class.

  • What is required as part of the course?

    Two summaries, one oral communication project, information literacy, exposure to academic support services, and participation in the Faculty Lecture Series.  Please see the course essentials for more information.

  • What is the committee looking for? What should I do to be sure my course is approved? How will the committee review proposals?

    The course advisory committee is looking for proposals and syllabi that address all 5 course essentials, have interdisciplinary and contemporary topics, and assess the core student learning outcomes on Information Literacy (CT1 or CT2) and Communication (CM1 and CM2).  To be sure your course will be approved, please see the planning information, core student learning outcomes, and syllabus checklist.

  • What is the difference between USTD 1101, GS 1181, and USTD 1201? How are Signature courses different from USTD 1201? What is happening to USTD 1201?

    USTD 1201, 1101 and GS 1181 timeline

    GS 1181 Signature Courses are contemporary and interdisciplinary in topic.  Signature courses give first time freshmen practice in writing, oral communication, information literacy, exposure to academic University resources, and a common intellectual event through the Faculty Lecture Series.  USTD 1201 is a course focused on critical thinking where students are introduced to theories of learning, cognition, and motivation.  USTD 1201 is open to all students.  USTD 1201 phases out end of spring 2014. USTD 1101 Strategies for Learning is an academic recovery course for probation and suspension students only.


     

  • What is the Faculty Lecture Series?

    The Faculty Lecture Series is designed to create a campus-wide conversation.  Students are required to attend the Faculty Lecture Series.  The current year’s winner or finalist of the Teaching Excellence Award   or other Distinguished Faculty member will lecture on a topic of his or her interest.

  • What kind of assessment will we be doing on the class?

    The IDEA student survey of instruction will be used to assess critical thinking, information literacy, oral communication, and written communication.

     

  • What kind of oral presentation must my students do? How long do the student presentations have to be?

    The Oral Communication Guide covers the 3 types of speeches freshmen can successfully complete in 3-5 min.  You may find rubrics and peer evaluation forms in the guide useful.

  • What kind of paper work will be involved if students travel for the class?

    None. Signature course support funds cannot be used for student travel.  See allowable expenditures on page 1 of this document.

  • What kind of reports will faculty have to complete?

    Faculty does not have to complete reports.  The Office of Accountability will provide the Freshman College with a group IDEA report to assess GS 1181.

  • What kinds of reading requirements are there in the class?

    There are no common reading requirements for Signature courses.  Reading requirements will depend on how faculty chooses summary topics, oral communication topics as well as how they incorporate information literacy into their Signature courses.

  • What must I do to satisfy the information literacy requirement? What must I do to satisfy the exposure to university resources requirement?

    Information literacy is about finding, gathering and synthesizing, analyzing, and validating information.  Use of library research tools, blackboard, SMART Online, or libguides as the textbook are a few examples that satisfy the information literacy requirement.  A trip to the Library, Writing Center, Tutor Center, or Math Lab would be appropriate examples that expose first time freshmen to academic university resources.

  • When are proposals due?

    Proposals are due Feb 3, 2014. You may submit your Signature course proposal here.  Please don’t forget to send your syllabus via email to Freshman_College@angelo.edu after submitting your proposal.

  • When will the courses be offered?

    Signature courses will be offered first and second 8-week sessions in fall semesters.

  • Why are we having these courses anyway? Why are we teaching this class?

    Signature courses provide a common experience and engage students through a myriad of contemporary, interdisciplinary topics while addressing fundamental issues common to first-time freshmen.  Signature courses are structured around writing, oral communication and information literacy.  And the exclusive Faculty Lecture Series allows students to become active members of ASU’s intellectual community.

  • Why is it a one hour class that meets twice a week?

    A 1 credit hour course would meet once a week for 16 weeks. Signature courses are scheduled at 8-weeks. They meet, then, twice a week.

  • Will all freshmen have to take this course? Do all first year students have to take the class?

    Yes. All first time freshmen that are not core complete will have to take a Signature course.