Faculty Signature Course Planning Information
We’ve pulled this information together to help faculty plan and develop their Signature Course curriculum. Signature Course specific requirements include two written summaries, information literacy and exposure to campus resources.
The information below was recommended by first-year writing faculty in the Natalie Zan Ryan Department of English and Modern Languages and approved by the Freshman College Course Advisory Committee.
Because practicing writing skills is a key component of Signature Courses, faculty members should require students to write summaries of at least two of these types of assignments:
- Reviews of books, articles, lectures and films
- Peer evaluations
- Refer students to the Writing Center for help with writing assignments.
- Encourage students to use the Porter Henderson Library to research class assignments and get help finding resources.
Consider including some of these writing activities in your class:
- Ask students to respond to another writer’s work, either in an online forum or a paper submitted to the instructor.
- Analyze a paper or work of writing via overhead projector.
- Tell students to meet in small groups and revise their papers.
- Give students in-class writing assignments about a topic.
Signature Courses will incorporate ways for students to learn and critically examine valid sources of information. Most first-year students know how to get answers from the internet, but for many, the ability to find other types of resources and to think critically about all of the information they find may be a skill that has yet to be honed.
Signature Courses provide a distinct opportunity to ensure that all first-year students receive instruction in basic research and information evaluation skills, otherwise known as information literacy skills, which will serve them throughout their time at the university.
Several dedicated librarians can meet with you individually to discuss information literacy as it pertains to your course and your students. They have built LibGuides for many Signature Courses, and they offer library tutorials for faculty and students on how to request their services. Feel free to contact the library for more information.
One of the goals of Signature Courses is to make new students aware of the resources available to them on campus. Be sure to inform your students about these opportunities for academic assistance:
Signature Courses will help students see the campus as a viable area for engagement. University lectures, plays, musical performances and other events show students that the campus is an engaging and intellectually stimulating place. Faculty will choose events that they can connect to their course.