FYS 102: Engaging the World
How to Succeed in this Course
Come to class. Even if you have not done the reading, come to class anyway. It is critical that all students be in class every time class meets. Your views are important to the class, and so your attendance is required.
Do the reading carefully. Reading the texts once may give you a general familiarity with them, but it will not suffice to allow you to thoroughly engage the material in a way that will be productive. Class discussions will be based on the texts themselves, not just on ideas that come out of the texts. Your essays will also be based on the texts requiring you to make specific references to the text. It is, therefore, necessary for you to read the texts in a careful manner.
Take notes on your reading. At least jot down ideas that interest you with page numbers so you can refer back to them in class or for your essays. Highlighting the text is fine, but you may not remember why a particular passage strikes you unless you also jot a note to yourself (perhaps in the margin of the text).
Pay attention to class discussions. Even if you are not actually speaking or involved in the conversation, engage in the conversation mentally. By all means, take the opportunity to share your thoughts with the class. No one else will have your perspective, and the class may benefit tremendously if you share yours with us.
Write, write, and rewrite your papers. You can learn to write well, but it takes practice.
Ask questions. No question is too ridiculous as long as it is asked sincerely. Your best learning may take place in discussion with other students or with the instructor. Sometimes the best learning takes place when you ask questions of yourself.
See the professor. You are strongly encouraged to visit the professor in his office to discuss course material and related topics. You are also strongly encouraged to let the professor know if your learning could be enhanced in any way. Do not wait until the end of the term to voice your suggestions on the course evaluation sheet. While this is very helpful for subsequent generations of students, it will be too late for you. Tell the professor if there are things that can be done to help your learning experience.
Form a study group to discuss the texts outside of class in an informal setting. This will allow you to casually discuss material without feeling the pressure of having to "perform" in the class.