First Year Experience Program

U-Course Assessment

U-Course Assessment Academic Year 2015-2016

U-Course Short Summary

Approximately 500 reflective papers from two semesters of U-Courses were read by three readers.  Categories for analysis were established by a first reader, a graduate student from English, who taught the analysis scheme to two undergraduate readers.

88% of all papers included a discussion of developing “awareness” or new knowledge.  This theme focused both on the development of content knowledge that the student found relevant or important.

Examples:

  • I learned more about government and its functions, and how it actually relates to me and what I’m doing right now than I knew before.  I came in to the class with very little knowledge and I feel I am leaving the class as a more educated citizen.
  • When making a video, I realized there is plenty of water misusage which would lead to problems for future generations.
  • When first researching child hunger many of the statistics came as a surprise and when they sunk in I realized that the kids that are affected by child hunger have most likely surrounded me growing up.

76% of all papers included a discussion of developing new communication strategies.

Examples:

  • Instead of being closed-minded or expecting all members of the group to have the same values and ideas, we thought of creative ways to expand the information our group would provide.
  • [O]ur U-Course mentor and professors valued our opinions and always encouraged us to share our opinions.
  • Through thorough communication and a bit more care of each individual, we were able to choose a topic that was fitting for us.

75% of all papers included the sense of responsibility theme.

Examples:

  • If everyone who has the opportunity can learn and put their efforts into giving awareness towards issues of social justice, we can begin to continue to make the changes needed in our country.  I believe this is what I have begun to do with the Black Lives Matter movement, and while I may not be a black man who has faced the oppression of racism that burdens our country, I can with my best ability share that [understanding of] oppression with others, and show others what they can do to help not only our cause but others as well.
  • My goal is to influence my family to buy solar panels for their house.  I know my family will be willing to go solar, but they just need more information about how solar energy works.  I want to be the one who provides that information to them so they can make better choices for the environment.