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FYS Faculty Resources: FYS PILOT (2015-17)

This guide focuses on information literacy, first year seminars and library resources available for faculty teaching at the University of Richmond.

FYS 101 and 102 Pilot Program

Research and Information Literacy

1) Explore a research question or topic. Students will learn to identify the qualities of a question that can only be answered by research and analysis (Fall) and practice defining, focusing, and/or refining a research question, whether this means generating an independent research question or working within the parameters of a research question provided by a professor (Spring).

2) Evaluate sources. Students will learn to differentiate between types of sources (peer-reviewed scholarly works, popular media, etc.) and will explore methods for finding multiple kinds of sources (Fall). Students will filter and weigh sources with respect to their relevance to a research question (Spring).

3) Select, organize, and contextualize sources for a specific purpose. Students will learn to consider sources in light of one another, exploring how other researchers and thinkers have approached and analyzed a particular topic (Fall). Students will learn to use existing research and thinking as a platform for generating and/or refining questions that might themselves be the focus of a research project (Spring).

4) Synthesize information to create a new point of view. Students will come to see all that all representations have a point of view, whether it is an essay, a work of art, a documentary movie, or a research paper, and will consider the qualities that make a strong and credible thesis (Fall). Students will take a research-informed position in an oral or written communication (Spring).

5) Document and reference sources. Students across Fall and Spring semesters will be engaged in recognizing that research is a part of a broader informed conversation, and that the views of others should be carefully acknowledged and fairly represented. They will carefully review the expectations for source citation and referencing that are appropriate to the research assignment in a particular FYS.

Critical Reading and Thinking

The guidelines for this goal consist of three components:

1) Investigation. Students will learn to place the source in the context of its production and circulation.

2) Interpretation. Students will seek a clear understanding of what the source communicates first literally and then figuratively.

3) Analysis. Students will learn to read with an analytical lens to assess the strengths and weaknesses of an argument, elaborate on its implications or assumptions, test theories against data, compare alternative arguments, and/or pose questions that generate further analysis of the text.

Effective Written Communication

1) Argumentative Writing. Students will be exposed to and practice effective communication through sustained exposure to argumentative writing that exemplifies an informed, persuasive, and well-substantiated point of view.

  • Fall semester: Foundations of argumentative writing. Students will learn to analyze primary and secondary sources, evaluate evidence, and formulate analytic arguments in focused assignments.
  • Spring semester: Argumentative writing with advanced research analysis. Students will evaluate multiple sources, engage with critical arguments, integrate evidence and summary in support of an argument, and synthesize multiple source types in a single argument.

2) Writing as a Process. Students will learn about the writing process through attention to the various stages that produce a polished final project.

  • Fall semester: Pre-writing, Writing, and Revising. Students will develop strategies to link thinking and writing (brainstorming, pre-writing etc.), learn to formulate arguments and analyze evidence, and learn to work with multiple drafts.
  • Spring semester: Staging More Complicated Assignments. Students will learn to conceptualize and structure longer forms of written communication through staged assignments that may emphasize comparative analysis, generating and/or refining research questions, synthesizing multiple sources and structuring longer written works.

Oral Communication

1) Build citizenship and maintain a classroom community through shared expectations and an ethos of responsibility, especially in the fall semester

2) Sustain substantive and interactive informal discussion, especially in the fall semester

3) Practice and reflect on the process of critical listening in both fall and spring semesters

4) Engage in and lead more structured discussions and oral responses to a critical reading of texts in all its forms, especially in the fall semester

5) Give presentations that adapt to different audiences in both fall and spring semesters

6) Students will build oral competencies with rehearsed presentations and feedback, especially in the spring semester

7) See the relationship between process and product, especially in the spring semester

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