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Discussion of COLL 100, COLL 150

Based on course proposals submitted through Curriculog, EPC assigns the COLL 100 and COLL 150 attributes to new and adapted courses. The discussion below covers the key points that are queried in course proposals.

COLL 100 and COLL 150 introduce students to scholarly methods and transition students to college-level thinking and communication. These first-year courses begin to cultivate intellectual growth by emphasizing inquiry (e.g., frame questions, reason, create, solve problems), communication (e.g., write, speak, visualize, perform), and collaboration.

Assignments in these courses deepen students' understanding of the course content, while also teaching essential skills:

Information literacy, the ways in which ideas and information sources are located, evaluated, and cited. In teaching about information literacy it is appropriate to partner with Swem Library, so that students learn how best to use the library’s resources to support their work in class, and to prepare them for future academic research in subsequent courses.

Communication, the process of integrating ideas and information sources to construct credible and persuasive narratives, with an independent voice and the objective, scholarly distance that characterizes academic discourse. In teaching communication it is appropriate to state clearly in assignments the purpose, audience, and context of the assigned communication.

Collaboration, integrating assignments that involve dialogue and feedback among students.

Revision, involving feedback from the instructor or peer students, with the opportunity to incorporate that feedback through robust revision and re-submission.

Because skills-building at a foundational level is an essential part of COLL 100 and COLL 150 courses, instructors are encouraged to balance course content with adequate time for the teaching and practicing of these skills. For example, students asked to produce a video that engages with the course content would benefit from analyzing examples of similar videos, as well as learning and practicing the process of production, and receiving feedback throughout the process. Generally one-quarter to one-third of the time commitment of the course should be devoted to skills-building. 

It is critical that instructors clearly state the learning objectives for assignments and the criteria by which they will be evaluated.

The instructor should designate and show students how to use one or more resources that elaborate on the forms and methods of academic communication. Many such resources are available in printed form and online. Consult the Writing Resources Center for examples.

Note that COLL 100 and COLL 150 courses are both required in the first year, and it is likely that students will take one course each semester. Courses taught in the fall semester can build on the summer College Studies online course, where students are introduced to basic information literacy concepts and the use of library resources. Courses taught in the spring semester can build on the first-year COLL course taken in the fall semester. The timing of a course might affect instructors’ expectations, how assignments are conceived and constructed, and the most productive integration of resources such as Swem Library.

Additional Discussion of COLL 100 

COLL 100 courses are organized around “big ideas,” the significant questions and concepts, beliefs and creative visions, theories and discoveries that have shaped our understanding of the world. Students will gain a greater understanding of the discoveries, texts, and fundamental concepts of one or more academic disciplines. Interdisciplinary approaches are welcome in these courses.

COLL 100 assignments encourage students to develop skills along a range of visual and aural forms of communication, which may include performative, visual, quantitative, oral, digital, and/or multi-media expression. At least one major communication assignment should require a form of communication that does not rely primarily on writing (although writing might be involved in an early stage, such as developing a podcast script or a storyboard).

Depending on the type of communication assignment, it might be appropriate to consult with campus resources (e.g., Studio for Teaching and Learning Innovation, Reeder Media Center) to consider the assignment's design, evaluation, and available student support.

Additional Discussion of COLL 150

COLL 150 courses delve into a focused subject, giving students an opportunity for in-depth analysis and interpretation.

COLL 150 assignments consist primarily of writing, with students producing a total of at least 6,000 words (24 pages). At least one major writing assignment should follow the conventions of scholarly writing in the discipline.

For all types of writing assignments, it might be appropriate to consult with the Writing Resources Center to consider the assignment's design, evaluation, and available student support.