Objectives of FYI Courses

Objectives of FYI Courses
1. Help students develop a sense of inquiry and of responsibility for their own learning.
If they really want to know the answers to questions they are really asking, they will also see that responsibility for their lives and for their education are interrelated. When students are committed to their own learning, faculty can get more across. Both learning and teaching are more rewarding. More happens.
2. Foster intellectual development and growth toward intellectual maturity.
Education is more than “just learning the facts;” we aspire to push students to the upper reaches of Bloom’s taxonomy of cognitive activity.
Judgments can be made poorly or well, and the fact that there is no calculus for judgments does not mean that they are merely subjective or that all judgments are equally good or bad.
3. Provide guided practice in critical and creative thinking. Through guided practice, students can learn explicitly to evaluate the depth, breadth, clarity, and relevance of the answers they find to their questions. We also aspire to improve their ability to create original interpretations, analyses, or syntheses–creative thinking.
4. Provide guided practice in writing, speaking, listening, asking questions, looking for answers, and evaluating evidence.


Objectives Implicit in the Above Four
When the program began, other objectives were discussed, but as the program has evolved, attention has increasingly focused on the four goals listed above.
The other objectives, which now seem to be implicit in the four, are:

  • Help students become eager for courses meeting general education program (GEP) requirements.
    They really want answers to questions they are really asking, and they understand that GEP courses will help.
  • Help students understand that hard work and increasingly deep thinking are required to answer these questions.
    Good will, noble intentions, intellectual curiosity are not enough.
  • Raise students’ awareness of the complexity of the questions they are asking, and the aesthetic, economic, ethical, political, and technical dimensions of the disciplines that will be involved in answering them.