Mansfield University of Pennsylvania

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The following is a list of suggestions from current/past FYS instructors:

1.  Ask you Peer Leader to develop a Facebook page for your class.  Students are much more likely to use Facbook than D2L.

2.  Have your students make name tents the first day of class.  Ask them to draw a picture or use one word to describe themselves.  Make it a goal for you to learn all of their names and, also, for them to know every other student's name by mid-term.  (Collect the name tents at the end of each class, or you will never see them again!)

3.  Require an on-going writing project (Facebook posts, discussion boards on D2L, journals, etc.)

4.  Have your students check out The Scale of the Universe at  It's very cool!

5.  Create a "low-cost failure" atmosphere in your classroom.  Evaluate early and often, and make failure a learning tool.

6.  Balance course content with real-world discussion.  Tangents are sometimes the best way to engage young students.

7.  Develop note taking skillls by requiring students to take notes on a lecture and then collecting and grading the notes.  On the next day, begin lecturing, but don't mention note taking.  On the third day, give a quiz on the material from the second day.

8.  Make sure your students know why they are taking an FYS.  Explain the importance of learning to learn and acclimating to their new educational setting.  Discuss the General Education Model and the importance of a liberal arts education. Dr. Karen Guenther was kind enough to share her General Education Power Point presentation:  VIEW THIS FILE

9.  Use Plato's Allegory of the Cave:

10. Create a classroom community.  Promote group activities outside of class.  Start each class with open announcements--allow their peers to share information about campus, community, and/or current events.

11.  Use a plagiarism tool, and allow the students to see their results.  Many of them have no idea what plagiarism is. Information about MU's Turnitin Plagiarism Checker is available at:

12.  Make attendance an expectation and enforce it with grades.

13.  Stress a life-long pursuit of improved literacy to your students.  Check out the PA Forward Literacy Intitiatives at

14.  Show the film, "The Economics of Happiness", which provides an interesting perspective on the effects of globalization on local communites and quality of life.  It will stimulate discussion about life choices and desired careers and communities.  The library has a copy of the video for your use.  For more information, visit

The Red Zone (A presentation on the importance of safety and sobriety, especially during the first few weeks on campus): Contact is Dusty Zeyn, Coordinator of Residence Life, 120 Pinecrest Manor, 662-4946,
North Hall Library Tour: Contact is Sheila Kasperek, Library/Information Resources—Public Information, 217 North Hall, 662-4675, (FYS Library Assignment is attached)
The Diversity Passport: Contact is Alan Zellner, Social Equity & Multicultural Affairs Officer, 123 Alumni Hall, 662-4071,
Acadmic Advising & Using WebAdvisor: Contact is Ryan Stanley, Enrollment Services Representative II, 224 South Hall, 662-4201,
Study Skills and the Learning Center: Contact is Ellen Hale, Interim Director, 145 South Hall, 662-4150,
Career Development Center: Contact is Nichole Lefelhoc, Assistant Director, Alumni Hall, Ground Floor, 662-4133,

Climbing Wall activities, Team Building Activities (we are getting a low challenge course this August), Fitness Information,Fitness Center Tours: Contact is Amy DeLozier, Director, Kelcher Fitness Center, 662-4865,

Voter Registration: Registration Form available at:
Liberal Arts Education: excellent video at:
On-Line Learning Modules for Resiliency, Stress Management, Time Management, Debt Management, Note Taking, Test Taking, Study Skills available at:

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