FYS 100, First Year Seminar
Summer 2, 2012, MTWTF, 10:00 – 1i:45 AM
Jenkins Hall , 236
Harold Blanco, Ph.D.
240 Jenkins Hall
Office Hours: Upon request
Or by appointment (I welcome students to come by anytime I
am in; if a drop in visit is inconvenient for me, I will set a better
Students will learn critical thinking skills integral to life-long learning
through discussion, interaction, discovery, problem-solving, writing,
research, reflection, and examination with a emphasis on
multicultural/international issues. 3 cr. No pr or cr.
The theme of this course is “Learning to Think, Thinking to Learn”.
Learning and thinking are reciprocal processes. One depends upon the other.
Thinking styles and patterns are learned from the important influences in our
lives, our families, peers, cultures, formal education; and are modified by us
using our own inborn approach to life and our unique constructions of
understanding. These thinking styles and patterns drive our approaches to
learning and have a strong influence on how well we learn and what we can
Academic disciplines engage in different types of critical thinking that
may or may not be consistent with your approach to learning. These
approaches to discovery and study in the disciplines are called core domains
Social, ethical and historical thinking
Aesthetic and artistic thinking
Informational and technical literacy
Oral, written and visual communication
Multicultural and international thinking
Mathematical and abstract thinking
Meaningful engagement in academic life requires you to engage in the
critical thinking processes of the various core domains. In order to do so
successfully, you need to not only be aware of the domains but also
understand your established critical thinking habits that you bring with you.
Your habits can support or limit learning. You will be most successful in
learning if you can modify your critical thinking abilities according to the
discipline under study. The purpose of this course is to raise your awareness
of the nature of critical thinking in the various core domains and to gain
experience in moving among the different domains of thinking.
INFORMATION LITERACY. The student will:
1. establish an inquiry-based research question
2. develop and implement a search strategy
3. evaluate sources of information
4. use information appropriately for a specific purpose
5. use information ethically and legally
6. analyze artifact
CULTURAL JUDGMENT. The student will:
1. demonstrate cultural self-awareness
2. seek knowledge of other cultural worldviews and frameworks
3. analyze intercultural relations
4. evaluate the impact of international issues/events on different
5. identify ethical standards that transcend culture
REASONING. The student will:
1. understand the basic vocabulary of reasoning
2. evaluate the significance of data in arguments
3. evaluate the interpretation of data in deductive arguments
4. evaluate inferences and assumptions in inductive arguments
5. evaluate the implications and consequences of an argument
6. formulate a testable prediction/hypothesis
7. collect data through controlled methods to test a
8. identify patterns or trends in raw data/evidence that has been
observed in an uncontrolled context
9. state a generalization that follows logically from patterns in the raw
data or evidence
REPRESENTATION. The student will:
1. convey understanding of an artifact’s message
2. analyze how an artifact’s message is built using the conventions of
3. evaluate whether the artifact reaches its intended audience within
its intended context
4. compare and contrast different representations of a subject from a
variety of media artifacts
5. build an artifact that conveys a clear and specific message
6. build an artifact that uses the conventions of a specific genre
7. build an artifact that reaches a specific audience within a specific
8. build a single artifact that uses and synthesizes multiple genres
METACOGNITIVE REFLECTION. The student will:
1. gauge personal bias toward subject matter
2. employ prior knowledge and skills to a new performance task or
3. engage in deliberate planning over course of a project
4. evaluate level of comprehension of materials (data, information,
5. evaluate strengths and weaknesses of project
INTEGRATIVE THINKING. The student will:
1. compare and contrast multiple domains that approach the same
argument, text, or data set
2. identify the domains that a project, problem or text employs to
achieve a solution or produce an analysis
KNOWING AND LEARNING. The student will:
1. develop a definition of what it means to know and learn
2. create a theory of how knowing and learning develop
2. identify the cultural and biological influences on knowing and
Some of the things we will do:
Activity 1: (aesthetic and artistic thinking)
You will be assigned to a small group of students. You will choose a
cultural activity to attend as a group. This can be an Artist’s Series event, a
play on campus or in the community, a concert on campus or in the
community, a poetry reading, an art gallery, a lecture. You will need to
search for something on line and in newspapers (information literacy).
Ideally this would be a free activity but if it is acceptable to everyone in the
group to go to something that costs money, you may attend a paid event.
When this is completed, the group will create a representation of the genre
attended and present this to the class. The representation itself should
include more than one medium with an emphasis on technology
(representation, metacognitive reflection).
Again, in a small group of students, you will choose a Marshall
University sporting event to attend as a group. Check on line and in
newspapers to locate an event (information literacy). Tickets for students
are free. When this is completed, the group will create representation of the
sport in class using more than one medium with an emphasis on technology
(representation, metacognitive reflection).
NOTE: Read the student outcomes under REPRESENTATION above. This will
help you to understand the purpose of these activities. Our discussions
following your class presentations will help illuminate these outcomes. In
addition, the purposes of activities 1 and 2 are to help you get acquainted
with your classmates, to become comfortable sharing your thoughts and
ideas with the class, to help you become acquainted with the Marshall
community, and to discover the activities and resources available.
Activity 3: We will venture into joining two distinct disciplines; Arts and
robotics, and we will in pairs build and program a robot using recycled
materials. This will give us the opportunity to exercise our critical thinking,
and artistic skills.
We will also work with Gigapans and high definition photography (More on
Paper 1: (scientific thinking, informational and technical literacy,
Stage 1: Develop an individual research on a topic of given to you in
class. You will do a literature review that either supports or negates your
question and draw a conclusion about what the literature tells you. The
sources must be scholarly and peer reviewed and should be presented on a
platform that does not include a paper. (information literacy, reasoning).
Stage 2: Prepare yourself for a formal in class debate to present and
defend your point of view based on the literature (metacognitive reflection,
We will complete:
Grades are determined by dividing the number of points earned by the total
number of points possible:
93– 100% = A
83 – 92% = B
73 – 82% = C
63 – 72% = D
< 63 = F
FYS ATTENDANCE POLICY
Attendance Policy Rationale - In FYS we want to help students establish
good attendance habits, and we think it is extremely important to set the
tone and expectations at the beginning of their college careers. If a student
is not in class, he/she is missing out on learning opportunities in the
classroom that cannot be duplicated precisely outside that experience. For
instance, a discussion cannot be duplicated, nor can the experiences one
would have gained in working in a group, brainstorming with peers,
considering other perspectives, etc. Further, as FYS instructors, we want to
establish expectations students will encounter in other classes and in society
at large. Therefore, our recommendation is that all FYS adopt the same
ATTENDANCE POLICY RECOMMENDATION
Excused absences fall into five categories:
1. University-sponsored activities: academic activities (e.g., performing
arts, debate, honors classes, ROTC, and departmental functions); official
athletic events sponsored by the Athletic Department; and university
activities (e.g., student government and student organizations)
2. Student Illness or Critical Illness/Death in the Immediate Family
”Immediate Family” is defined as a spouse/life partner, child,
parent, legal guardian, sibling, and grandparent or grand- child.
*Routine appointments are not excused. Appointments
should be scheduled around your classes.
3. Short-Term Military Obligation
4. Jury Duty or Subpoena for Court Appearance
5. Religious Holidays
*Recommended make up work
Because FYS is an interactive class, students who miss class due to
University-excused activities should be provided with an alternative
assignment that connects to the activities in the missed class. In the case of
University-sponsored activities (ie Sports, Music) the activities themselves
provide learning opportunities for students. Therefore, where there are
multiple absences one assignment that combines FYS material, the student’s
activity and the course learning outcomes is recommended.
Provide appropriate documentation to Dean of Student Affairs for
excused absence. Learn how the process works here:
Request opportunity to complete missed work within one week of the
Be aware that excessive absences—whether excused or unexcused—
may affect your ability to earn a passing grade.
Regardless of the nature of the excused absence, you are responsible
for completing all coursework prior to the end of the semester.
*FYS Instructors – select the option that fits your class
Classes meeting 3 times per week
If you miss two classes, expect an email/notification from your
If you miss a third class, you will face automatic one letter grade
deduction in the course
If you miss a 4th class, another letter grade will go down.
Subsequent missed classes will result in additional letter grade
How to make a positive impression on your instructor and succeed:
1. Come to every class and come on time.
2. Turn off and put away all electronic on line devices and keep them put
away. I have a watch and will let you go at the right time. Your friends and
family can do without you for the length of this class. Focus on the
discussion is your job during class.
3. Read your assignments before coming to class and identify one or two
questions or issues you would like to discuss further in class.
4. Engage with consideration in discussion. Avoid dominating the discussion
but take part in discussion at the minimum of twice during each class. Listen
carefully to what others have to say.
5. Turn your work in on time. Late work is not accepted.
6. Read your syllabus several times during the semester, lay out a work
plan, ask for clarification of assignments, and come visit me in my office
several times during the semester.
Class will be held unless classes are canceled by the University. You
can find information concerning Marshall’s policy regarding inclement
weather on pp. 92-93 of the 2009-2010 undergraduate online catalog:
Other Changes or Cancellations:
Keep track of your Marshall email and MUonline daily and before class. If
there are any opportunities that come up at the last minute, we may change
what we are doing for the day. Should I be unable to attend class, I will
make every attempt to notify you by email and arrange for another
instructor to lead the class.
Marshall University is committed to equal opportunity in education for
all students, including those with physical, learning and psychological
disabilities. University policy states that it is the responsibility of students
with disabilities to contact the Office of Disabled Student Services (DSS) in
Prichard Hall 117, phone 304 696-2271 to provide documentation of their
disability. Following this, the DSS Coordinator will send a letter to each of
the student’s instructors outlining the academic accommodation he/she will
need to ensure equality in classroom experiences, outside assignments,
testing, and grading. The instructor and student will meet to discuss how the
accommodation(s) requested will be provided. For more information, please
visit http://www.marshall.edu/disabled or contact Disabled Student Services
Office at Prichard Hall 11, phone 304-696-2271.
This course follows Marshall University’s policy on Affirmative Action,
which can be found at
all students will be afforded equal opportunity without regard to race, color,
sex, religion, age, disability, national origin, or sexual orientation.
My personal background is in technology and I am a believer in the use of
technology in the classroom. You will be required to use Facebook, twitter,
YouTube, delicious, Google docs, Lynda, GEAR, and many others elements of
technology in this class. You will need to access MUonline, the library and do
searches to complete your papers and activities, and to upload artifacts to
GEAR. Make sure your Marshall University account is active. I email the class
about changes using MU emails; you should check your MU email and
MUonline daily. Email your instructor on your MU account as unrecognized
addresses will not be opened. This is to prevent spread of viruses. You are
expected to be aware of Marshall’s Computing Services acceptable use
Copying the work of another person whether on the web or in
published or unpublished material is plagiarism. Serious consequences occur
when students are found to plagiarize including a failing grade in the
assignment, the course and/or dismissal from a program. If you have
questions about the meaning of plagiarism, see your embedded librarian and
the University website at www.marshall.edu/muonline/plagiarism.asp.
The last day to drop a course with a W is Friday, October 28, 2011. If
you drop a course after this date you will need to do a complete withdrawal
from the entire semester of classes in order to get out of one class.
Note: In this class we will work at our own pace, it makes absolutely no
sense for me to break down what we are doing when, but I promise to keep
you informed and always give you the heads up on everything we are doing.