Teaching Resources

Catalog Course Description

The First Year Seminar (UCO 1200) provides students with an introduction to the four goals of a liberal education at Appalachian State University. Specifically, students will practice (1) thinking critically and creatively and (2) communicating effectively. In addition, students will be introduced to the learning goals of (3) making local-to-global connections and (4) understanding responsibilities of community membership.

While each First Year Seminar course engages a unique topic examined from multiple perspectives, each course also introduces students to a common set of transferable skills. As such, First Year Seminar facilitates student engagement with: fellow students, the university, the community, and the common reading; essential college-level research and information literacy skills; and the habits of rigorous study, intellectual growth, and lifelong learning.

Note: UCO 1200 or an equivalent "First Year Seminar" course (such as HON 1515, Freshman Honors Seminar, or WGC 1103, Investigations: Local) is required of all freshmen completing General Education requirements. It is also required of all transfer students with less than 30 semester hours of transferable work or who graduated from high school less than one year before their matriculation date. Transfer students with 30-59 semester hours of transferable work are eligible to enroll, but it is not required. Students with 60 or more earned hours are not eligible to enroll without permission from the Office of General Education.

Common Expectations of First Year Seminar 

First Year Seminar offers a wide array of topics taught by faculty from various disciplines. In order to provide a measure of consistency, as well as meeting General Education learning outcomes we ask all faculty to:

  1. Utilize at least two different modes of inquiry.
  2. Use engaging pedagogies and involve students in a shared process of inquiry.
  3. Involve students in problem-based learning with a research/library component.
  4. Help students make connections with faculty, other students, their courses, and the university through an intentional focus on community building and co-curricular involvement (e.g. service learning, cultural events, outdoor programs, etc.).
  5. Require the use of the Common Reading Program book.
  6. NOT be narrowly focused or an introduction to a specific discipline.
  7. Be sure your activities and assignments align with the FYS learning goals (see below for those).

Please click here to see what the university requires you to include on your First Year Seminar syllabus. By clicking this link you can also see sample FYS syllabi.

Learning Goals of All FYS Classes

Each FYS course is unique and based on a topic in which the instructor has expertise and is passionate about teaching.  But through their unique topic, each and every FYS instructor aims to accomplish 10 specific goals.  These 10 learning goals are listed on this document. Click here to see Learning Goals of FYS courses

FYS Learning Goals including General Education Goals 

Designing an Effective Library Research Assignment: How Do You Know Your Assignment Provides Effective Guidance to Help Students  Learn the Information Literacy Skills We Aim to Teach in FYS ? Use this rubric to assess the effectiveness of your assignment design!

University QEP/GLO Goal Rubrics (PDF)

What are the elements of an internationalized course?

How do you know a course is really internationalized?

What does an internationalized course syllabus look like? (Examples here from across the college curriculum, including business, education, social services, and STEM fields)

ACE: What are the elements of an internationalized course?

AAC&U's Global Learning VALUE Rubric

Appalachian State's Quality Enhancement Plan: Global Learning: A World of Opportunity for Appalachian Students

Fall 2019 Syllabus Calendar Templates:

Monday/Wednesday Fall 2019 Calendar

Monday/Wednesday/Friday Fall 2019 Calendar

Tuesday/Thursday Fall 2019 Calendar 


FYS Syllabus Template (for those who want to be sure their syllabus includes all that's expected by the University and FYS)

Don't Cancel That FYS Class:

The University requires that we provide students with the specified number of contact hours for each of their courses. Therefore any time an instructor does not meet with their FYS class, whether planned or unplanned, they must notify the FYS office and arrange for an alternative activity. Here is a long list of online and face-to-face alternative activites that work for planned and unnplanned absences from class. Click here to see file.

Library Resources and Course Integrated Instruction:

FYS classes teach students how to conduct library research in partnership with University Libraries. The library faculty have created an Online Library Component for use in all FYS classes.  Look here to view these modules and the information literacy learning goals for all FYS classes. Click here to see the FYS Course level info literacy outcomes for the FYS online library component. These online modules are designed to complement, not substitute for, your instruction.   Want to see how some FYS faculty have designed their library research assignments? See an example here and here

Helpful Resources to Improve Teaching

The Scholarly Teacher, a blog applying evidence-based strategies to enrich student learning.    

The College STAR Professional Development Modules for Faculty (these offer great ideas for engaging students with a variety of learning styles).

How to Teach with Transparency-- Assignment and Activity Design Ideas that Help Students Learn

Infographic syllabus 3-2-1 video:
Course Calendar 3-2-1 video:
Lillian Nave explains Universal Design for Learning:
Intercultural Competency and Universal Design for Learning:

Search Belk Library's Streaming Films Directory

Search Swank's Streaming Video List and embed videos in your AsULearn site!

Technology for Teaching 

Technology has become an integral part of our lives & our teaching & learning. Technology empowers teachers to:

  • Provide greater course access
  • Provide greater course flexibility
  • Embrace a greater diversity of learning preferences
  • Provide more opportunities for innovation & creativity
  • Increase the authenticity & meaningfulness of learning activities
  • Diversify the opportunities to engage students
  • Support a broader range of learning needs
  • Communicate in more ways
  • Embrace cultural trends, interests & needs 
  • Be more creative
  • Provide a learning space that maximizes all learners capabilities
  • Never have to cancel class meetings

For technology or any other teaching approach to be effective, it needs to be MEANINGFULLY INTEGRATED into the learning experiences of the course. Thoughtful course design increases the likelihood that technology or any other strategy will be effective & result in significant learning. Click here to access the Tech4Teach website

Requesting Funding for Co-Curricular Activities in Your FYS Course

FYS has a budget that allows instructors to request formally up to $10 per student (plus $10 per instructor) for special course-related co-curricular events (e.g., tickets to a play or supplies for some co-curricular activity. Please request funds only to support co-curricular engagement opportunities.  Note money cannot be spent to feed people with this fund, nor do we buy souvenir-like items or pay for someone to come guest present in your class because such things are not co-curricular activities and funds are limited.  If you use a Motor Pool vehicle to travel to an event, this money can be used toward the cost of travel to and from the event. Instructors must submit the request in advance of spending any money to Sheryl Mohn at mohnsc@appstate.edu.  Learn more about how instructors have incorporated co-curricular activities in their courses and links to free and paid events.  

Intregating Common Reading Book in Your FYS Class

All FYS courses engage the common reading book of that year, and our data tell us that almost all students start their first year at Appalachian having read all or part of the book. To read about the years common reading selection including helpful intsructional guides:

Common Reading Selection

 Your Tech Support Liaison: Derek Eggers 

Mr. Derek Eggers is an Instructional Technology Consultant for faculty teaching in Univeristy College. If you have questions about your AsULearn site, your instructional desgin, or any technologies  training needs, you can request a consultation with Mr. Eggers or Submit a support ticket to request help. 

Submit a support ticket to describe a particular issue or request someone to contact you :

  • Log in with your Appalachian ID and password
  • Under New Incident: Click to Submit a New Incident
  • For Incident Type select:
    • (3) Online Accounts, then for Account : AsULearn; or
    • (7) Software Training (MS Office & Adobe, Drupal, Workshop Scheduler)
  • Complete the incident form; someone will respond to your issue promptly

Counseling Center Liaison to FYS Faculty

As you prepare for the semester, we encourage you to engage your students in a discussion regarding their mental health. We are all aware of the struggles our students face in regard to stress, anxiety, depression and high-risk behaviors. The Counseling Center has trained a group of students to talk with their peers about mental wellness and encourage them to seek help if they are struggling. Please consider inviting our Mental Health Ambassadors into your classroom or club meeting by going to www.MHA.appstate.edu and requesting a program or directly contacting Dr. Kate Fishman in the Counseling Center at fishmankm@appstate.edu or 828-262-3180. Together, we can promote mental wellness and safety on our campus. 

Kate Fishman, Ph.D.
Appalachian State University Counseling and Psychological Services Center

Contact FYS

The First Year Seminar is part of the General Education Program located in Anne Belk Hall, Room 250.

Phone: 828-262-2028

Our mailing address:
First Year Seminar
ASU Box 32065
Appalachian State University
Boone, NC 28608

Director of First Year Seminar:
Rick Klima

QEP Global Learning