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Goals, Learning Outcomes and Course Requirements

The purpose of University 101 is to help new students make a successful transition to the University of South Carolina, both academically and personally. This course aims to foster a sense of belonging, promote engagement in the curricular and co-curricular life of the university, articulate to students the expectations of the University and its faculty, help students develop and apply critical thinking skills, and help students continue to clarify their purpose, meaning, and direction.

Six Basic Principles underscore our philosophy and approach to creating an effective first-year seminar.

  1. Community should be established early in order to promote a sense of belonging and to create an inclusive and welcoming learning environment.
  2. Course content should be tailored to the specific needs of the students in each section.
  3. University 101 should be an active, engaging, and enjoyable learning experience.
  4. Course content, methods, instructional strategies, and assignments should be purposeful and firmly aligned with the common learning outcomes.
  5. Each student should receive an appropriate balance of challenge and support.
  6. The focus of this class is having students reflect on and process course content and their experiences, rather than simply distribute information.

Goals and Learning Outcomes
The goals and learning outcomes reflected in this document were carefully formulated to ensure relevant, sustainable, and dynamic course design.  The learning outcomes and common course requirements provide a degree of consistency across sections while also allowing instructors to customize their section. The broad nature of these outcomes signifies that no one approach may be appropriate for all sections or all students. The content, topics, and methods to achieve the outcomes should be tailored to the needs of the students in a given section and to the strengths and expertise of the instructor.

      • Foster Academic Success
        As a result of this course, students will…

        a) Adapt and apply appropriate academic strategies to their courses and learning experiences.

        b) Identify and apply strategies to effectively manage time and priorities.

        c) Identify relevant academic policies, processes, and resources related to their academic success and timely attainment of degree requirements.

      • Discover and Connect with the University of South Carolina
        As a result of this course, students will…

        a) Identify and use appropriate campus resources and engage in opportunities that contribute to their learning within and beyond the classroom.

        b) Develop positive relationships with peers, staff, and faculty.

        c) Describe the history, purpose, and traditions of the University of South Carolina.

      • Promote personal development, wellbeing, and social responsibility
        As a result of this course, students will…

        a) Clarify their values and identity and articulate how these shape their perspectives and relationships with people who are similar to and different from themselves.

        b) Explore the tenets of the Carolinian Creed.

        c) Examine and develop strategies that promote wellbeing and explain how wellness impacts their academic and personal success.

        d) Initiate a process toward the attainment of personal and professional goals and articulate potential pathways to employability.

        Successful instructors will be intentional in all aspects of course planning and design in order to facilitate student progress toward achieving these outcomes. It is important to note that an outcome is not the same as a daily lesson or a specific piece of content. Individual lesson plans or topics may be applicable to numerous outcomes. Individual topics that could be vehicles for achieving some of these outcomes might include:

        Academic strategies
        Campus involvement
        Campus resources
        Campus safety
        Career development Diversity

        Financial literacy
        Goal setting
        Stress management
        Time management
        Values clarification

        Instructors may also consider educational methods that promote the outcomes, such as community service, service-learning, cultural event participation, beyond-the-classroom experiences, campus partner presentations, etc.

        Other Course Requirements

        In an effort to achieve these goals and learning outcomes, the requirements listed below will be included in all sections of University 101.

        Integrative Learning
        University 101 not only orients students to Beyond the Classroom learning opportunities, but helps students articulate the significance of those experiences and how they contribute to overall learning. This component of UNIV 101 is in alignment with USC’s Quality Enhancement Plan, USC Connect, and a natural extension of existing UNIV 101 outcomes.

        Each UNIV 101 section must require students to participate and reflect on at least one beyond the classroom learning opportunity. Beyond the classroom experiences may be completed by students individually, but instructors should consider that a group experience provides an even greater opportunity to facilitate reflection on learning. 

        Examples include, but are not limited to:

        • Community service
        • Leadership programs or workshops
        • Campus lecture
        • Diversity events, such as those sponsored by the Office of Multicultural Student Affairs
        • Cultural event such as a theatrical performance, dance and/or music recital
        • Campus club/organization meeting/event
        • Residence hall program
        • Outdoor Recreation program

        Examples of reflection activities include, but are not limited to:

        • A written reflection describing the event, what was learned and how it related to any one of the UNIV 101 learning outcomes. 
        • Group/small group discussions of the event culminating in a group list of “lessons learned”
        • Reflecting on the event as part of an on-going journal for the class

        Required Readings
        Transitions is used in all sections of University 101 to provide a consistent source of important information for students. While it is designed to serve as a resource for incoming students it is not intended to reflect the entirety of the curriculum. Developed specifically for the University of South Carolina, this book provides a baseline of information that students will need to help them make the most of their first-year experience.

        Use of Additional Readings & Resources: University 101 instructors should incorporate additional readings and instructional resources in their class to foster achievement of the learning outcomes, provide context or themes for the course, and offer different perspectives. This may include a book, articles, the First-Year Reading Experience book, local or national newspapers, or other readings/resources. These readings should be intentionally integrated into the course rather than serve as a standalone component.

        Assignments need to allow students to demonstrate evidence of achieving the learning outcomes for the course. This will be accomplished through a mix of homework assignments, papers, projects, presentations, and exams. At a minimum, each section will assess students on the following:

        Required Component



        Attendance & Participation           



        Papers/Essays- This includes both (a) formal essays that involve more substantial effort and time on the part of the student and emphasis on good writing; and (b) shorter, less formal writing assignments such as reflection papers. We recommend one formal paper that is 3+ pages in length and 2-3 other papers that are 1-2 pages in length.



        Informal Writing (e.g. blogs, journals, in-class reflections)



        Oral Presentation(s)



        Midterm (project/paper/presentation/exam*)



        Final/Culminating Project- The final should challenge students to reflect upon and synthesize the major course goals. Methodologies could include portfolios, take home projects or papers, presentations, or videos, etc.**



        Other Homework (e.g. projects, quizzes, daily assignments)



        *Due to the nature and purpose of this course, multiple choice or true/false exams are not  an appropriate format.

        **Please note: according the University Faculty Manual, no quiz, test, or examination shall be given during the last two class sessions before the regular examination period.

        It is important that new students receive early and regular feedback about their academic performance and that they have sense of their progress in the course prior to the withdrawal date. Thus, students must receive a grade from at least one significant assignment within the first six weeks of the semester.

        The grading scale for all UNIV 101 sections is as follows:

        A = 90-100
        B+ = 87-89
        B = 80-86
        C+ = 77-79
        C = 70-76
        D+ = 67-69
        D = 60-66
        F = 59 or below

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