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First-Year Seminars

Fall 2013


UNIV 195:  UNDERSTANDING NATURAL DISASTERS
Instructor:  Carol Simpson

Description:  UNIV 195 is an introduction to some of Earth's natural phenomena that can, and often do, result in major loss of life or property. The course emphasizes the learning skills necessary to succeed in university, including critical thinking, teamwork, and verbal and written presentations.  It is suitable for first year undergraduate students considering a career in the natural sciences or in teaching, or who are just interested to know more about the planet on which they live.


HNRS 200 (Peer Education and Leadership)
Instructor:  Erica Woods-Warrior
# of students:  12

This course prepares students for work as peer mentors and tutors.  Students will develop skills in information literacy and research as they learn how to create and implement individualized student success/academic plans for themselves and others. 



HNRS 201 (Monarch Think Tank I:  "Mobile Learning")
Instructor:  Shelley Rodrigo
# of students:  12

Students and institutional partners will work together to design and implement ODU community-engaged projects focused on increasing understanding of how and why students are using mobile devices in their learning practices as well as providing academic support to said students as well. The action-scholar framework focuses on identifying clear goals, completing adequate preparation, designing and implementing appropriate methods, analyzing significant results, sharing effective presentations, and conducting reflective critique.
Students will gain an understanding of complex issues related to technologies and culture, learning and retention, as well as social media and community building. As part of the engaged-learning experiences, students and institutional partners will learn how students learn using mobile devices with particular attention paid to reading, writing, and community building. The course content will focus on theories of learning, 21st century literacies, technology and culture, qualitative and quantitative research methods, and collaboration and partnerships from a service-learning, community development perspective.


ENGL 231C  (Career Development)
# of students:  19

This course will explore the relationship between college education and work. Students will discuss the nature and purposes of college education, learn the skills necessary for career development (e.g., interview techniques), and produce personal- and public-oriented practical documents (e.g., literacy narratives, CVs, application letters, professional/research websites, and portfolios).

Prerequisites: Passing score on Writing Sample Placement Test & completion of ENGL 110C.


ENGL 110C (Conservation, Stewardship, and the Environment)
# of students:  19

From the beginnings of the conservation movement and the Civilian Conservation Corps to the modern recreation movement and the competing priorities of economics and stewardship, writing for the environment has been key understanding and reconciling these issues.  Through memoirs, literary analysis, movie/documentary reviews, an opinion paper, a final research paper, class discussions, an online wiki/discussion board, and weekly free writes, you will improve your writing skills while you explore and discover your own experience and understanding of the role you might take in your academic and professional life as it relates to conservation, recreation, stewardship and environmental issues.


ENGL 110C (Writing, Your Identity, and Popular Culture)
# of students:  19

The primary purpose of this course is to equip students with the writing skills they need to be successful in their academic careers. Upon completion of the course students should be able to:

  1. Express their thoughts and ideas in well organized, well-constructed prose
  2. View writing as an ongoing process as opposed to a specific product
  3. Give thoughtful evaluation of their writing and feedback to their peers and learn to recognize how their own writing can continually be improved
  4. Develop critical thinking skills

This special topics course will utilize the subject of popular culture and its effect on the construction of identity as the focus of our inquiry, discussion and writing assignments. Thus, the class also challenges students to think and write critically about the extent to which personal identity is constructed by the popular culture in which we are all immersed and to consider by what means those norms in popular culture are subverted, challenged and/or reinforced by other subcultures. As a result, students will also glean a basic understanding of questions from Cultural Studies as they engage with and write about the subject matter-particularly the following: understanding  the relationship between "high" culture, "mass" culture and "counterculture" and identify the assumptions that govern such labeling;  understanding what it means that identity of the self and others is constructed; understanding the interaction between culture as a producer and a product


ENGL 110C (Writing for Future Educators)
# of students:  19

English 110 for Future Educators will present opportunities for students who have an interest in seeking a degree in Education to investigate the general kinds of writing that teachers use daily, weekly, and monthly in their profession.  Students in this course will not only reacquaint themselves with specific writing genres like the memoir, persuasive essay, literary analysis, creative writing and research based writing, but they will examine the ways in which they both use these forms to communicate to parents, students, administrators, and the community and analyze how they will break the writing process down and model each of the genres for their students.


ENGL 110C (The Perfect Human)
# of students:  19

Becoming an effective writer is a lifelong process that involves ongoing practice. This course will provide you a semester's worth of that practice in the types of writing you will need for most college courses and in the professional world. This course is designed to make you a better writer and reader. To achieve these goals, the work will:

  • encourage critical thinking
  • build your confidence in your own ideas
  • help you translate those ideas into effective written communication

These are skills you will need throughout your college career and once you graduate and enter the workforce, so in many ways this may be the most important course you take. No matter what field you choose, effective communication is the key to success. This class will focus on a variety of texts and other materials concerning (imaginary and real) attempts to engineer the human body. We'll examine how technology is represented by fiction writers as well as the ways we have reacted politically, culturally, and religiously to the possibilities offered us by science. You'll have the opportunity to hear from ask questions of professionals in the field. You'll learn how to predict the rhetorical situation for a writing project on these topics, how to analyze your own composition process, how to seek responses to drafts, and how to read critically. Class sessions will include lecture, discussion, writing, workshops, peer groups, and conferences.

By the end of the semester you will have compiled a portfolio of at least 5,000 words.
Unlike other Composition courses, this semester we're going to read novels known as dystopic, that portray worlds that are, in some frightening or undesirable way, the opposite of utopia, a "perfect" society. You are familiar, perhaps, with books and movies about vampires and zombies, stories that threaten the end of humanity, such as the recent terror over the ending of the Mayan calendar. The novels we'll read this semester respond to issues the authors have seen or imagined in the world. Their unique visions will help us to form our own ideas about perfect and imperfect societies and the dangers that may lie ahead. We'll respond to the themes of these stories in writing.


Writing for College Success
Coordinator:  Mike Holt
# of students:  150 (students must be placed in GNST 050)

Students learn the key features of college writing and use writing to learn important success strategies that will help them to transition into university life.