The Department of First-Year and Transition Studies within University College administers and provides oversight for the following:
- First-Year Seminars
- Learning Communities
- Computers and Your World
KSU’s First-Year Seminars, an integral part of the undergraduate KSU curriculum, introduce first-year students to higher education. Four versions of the seminar are offered annually (KSU 1101, KSU 1111, KSU 1121, and KSU 1200), and special topics versions (KSU 2290) are offered periodically. In addition to traditional sections, several of the first-year seminars are also available in both online and hybrid formats. All first-year seminars achieve the same four learning outcomes: life skills, strategies for academic success, connecting with campus and community, and foundations for global learning. A defining characteristic of these three-hour, academically oriented courses is the close interaction between instructor and student, which is facilitated by the intentionally small size of each section (approximately 25 students). The First-Year Seminar is often featured as an anchor course in Learning Communities. All first-time, full-time students with fewer than 15 credit hours are required to enroll and earn a passing grade in either a First-Year Seminar or a Learning Community.
The Learning Communities program is a curricular initiative that promotes the integration of General Education and other lower-division courses. In general, students participate in learning communities during their first semester at KSU. A typical learning community is a theme-based cluster of courses that allows a student cohort of approximately 25 students to take two to four courses together while also taking advantage of faculty collaboration, out-of-class learning opportunities, and community engagement. General interest communities often include a selection of core courses, while discipline-based communities link General Education offerings with lower-division courses in specific majors. Learning Communities help first-year students adjust to college life and facilitate successful learning. Because they grow to know each other well, first-year students in learning communities are more comfortable speaking out in class and working collaboratively. They form natural study groups and support groups with their peers. They begin to see connections between their courses through specially designed assignments. Academic research shows that participation in learning communities consistently promotes student retention and higher GPAs. All first-time, full-time students with fewer than 15 credit hours are required to enroll and earn a passing grade in either a First-Year Seminar or a Learning Community.
Computers and Your World
In Computers and Your World (IT 2101), students explore how computers and the Internet have revolutionized society. This course guides students in becoming well-rounded and informed users of computing technologies as they gain knowledge and experience in the use of computing hardware and operating systems; spreadsheet, presentation, and database software; and networks, the Internet, and information literacy. Other topics explored within this course include security, privacy, globalization, Web 2.0, diversity, and ethics. Students may elect to enroll in a hybrid section of this course, or may choose to take it entirely online. While this course is required for some majors, most students may take it as a free elective.