If the FYI program has a lasting impact on its students, it will mean that even in large-enrollment courses they will continue to take charge of their learning. They will monitor their learning, and recognize when they are not understanding something. If they are bored and unmotivated, they will recognize it and have an idea of what to do about it. They will seek out courses and instructors that offer the kind of experience that their FYI course offered because they will want that experience to be reinforced and built upon
If the FYI program succeeds, it will be because it is part of a larger movement. Students seeking additional Inquiry-guided learning classes will be able to find them in their sophomore and junior courses because the two generations of Hewlett Scholars now includes over one hundred faculty who understand the principles of Inquiry-guided learning to make it work. This larger movement also now includes the Hewlett Challenge in which ten departments are studying the curriculum for their majors and reviewing one or two courses in view of both their curricular objectives for the major as a whole and the principles of Inquiry-guided learning. It seems reasonable to expect that ten models for building on the FYI experience are emerging in this process. This program is funded by a second grant from the Hewlett Foundation.
In September 2000, we received a grant from the Fund for the Improvement of Post-Secondary Education (FIPSE, a grant program of the Department of Education) to plan an expanded assessment of all the emerging components of an emerging comprehensive IGL program. The first-year inquiry courses, general-education courses that use IGL pedagogy, and the inquiry-guided experiences within the major culminating in senior research and capstone-course projects.
This assessment aims at the extremely difficult task of doing longitudinal evaluation:
- Is the FYI program really integrated with subsequent experiences and does the program as a whole make a measurable difference in students’ learning?
Impact on Students
If the FYI program pays off, it will mean that students really are getting more out of their whole general-education experience and are better prepared to be inquiring, self-motivated learners within their major programs.
- they will pay a different kind of attention in classes that aren’t specifically designed as IGL
- they will continue their growth as inquirers in subsequent general education courses
- they will select courses that are inquiry-driven
- they will be ready to begin research projects in their major field