Elements of Quest I Courses
Liberal Education and Essential Learning Outcomes
The Quest I disciplinary courses introduce students to the ideas associated with a Liberal Education. These courses emphasize how the goals of Liberal Education will inform students' learning experiences at the university with the aim of providing the foundations and skills for lifelong learning. These courses also provide an explicit introduction to the campus Essential Learning Outcomes and the University Studies Program, engaging students intellectual curiosity while providing a supportive transition to university life.
As the first class in a student's college career, Quest I with embedded FYE exposes students to the campus' three Signature Questions and itself addresses one of those questions in greater depth. The Signature Questions include:
- How do people understand and create a more sustainable world?
- How do people understand and engage in community life?
- How do people understand and bridge cultural differences?
Transition to UW Oshkosh
The embedded FYE course places special emphasis upon acculturating students to the university, to the expectations of a college-level education, and the resources and opportunities that exist at UW Oshkosh.
Class Size and Co-Enrollment
The Quest I disciplinary course is capped at 25 to enhance the connection between the student and the instructor. This course is paired with a writing or speaking course, also capped at 25 students. As a result of their concurrent enrollment in both courses (embedded FYE and writing or speaking course) in their first semester at UW Oshkosh, students form a learning community that will further aid in their transition to the university.
All embedded FYE courses are assigned a peer mentor. The peer mentor enhances the students' connections to the class, to the university, and to each other. Peer mentors serve as intellectual role models and academic resources for first-year students, attending some class sessions and accompanying students to co-curricular activities. Student mentors undergo a training program and receive a small stipend for their service which includes assisting first-year students with the ePortfolio process.
The Quest I disciplinary course delineates expectations for student attendance at a variety of co-curricular activities (events on and/or off campus) to reinforce students' engagement in the community. These options may include a campus play, an international film, an art exhibit, a music performance, an athletic event or other public opportunities outside the classroom. Options can be found on the university's events calendar, and some event sponsors have tagged events to make them easier to find with "signature question," "quest", "sustainability," "university studies program," or "USP." This component of Quest I generates student awareness of and engagement in campus and community life (crucial contributors to retention and academic success, particularly for first-generation students who comprise more than 50 percent of our population).
The embedded FYE course introduces the ePortfolio as a mechanism for student assessment. During their first semester, students are introduced to the ePortfolio as a tool that is available for use throughout their college careers. A specialist in Learning Technologies will assist the USP teaching community with this element of instruction. In addition to providing the initial introduction to the ePortfolio, Quest I instructors select at least one learning artifact (paper, speech, reflection journal from the co-curricular activities, etc.) for students to upload to their ePortfolios. Instructors are free to determine the assessment tools for individual elements of their courses, though rubrics developed for the assessment of learning outcomes in Quest I are available on this CETL Teaching Resource Center.