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Explore courses are intended to provide students with a broad understanding of the human experience. Explore courses make up the majority of a student's USP coursework, giving students many opportunities to examine Nature, Culture, and Society in different ways. When not designated as a Quest class, these classes still provide students with work through which to consider the USP's three signature questions, and students should be encouraged to include their work in their ePortfolios to consider later when synthesizing their USP learning in Connect.

Learning Outcomes

You are encouraged to include these learning outcomes in your syllabus, tailoring them to your course or discipline.

  • Students will be able to describe the value of a Liberal Education, and its connection to each EXPLORE course.
  • Students will become familiar with the expectations of a college-­level education, the UW Oshkosh Essential Learning Outcomes, and the University Studies Program.
  • Students will begin their acculturation to life at this university, developing familiarity with the academic resources and community engagement opportunities at UW Oshkosh.
  • Students will explore [insert the discipline or course subject], through [insert appropriate processes, such as speeches, problem sets, case study analysis, lab reports, research papers, etc.]
  • Students will demonstrate personal responsibility for their intellectual development by archiving and reflecting upon learning artifacts using the D2L ePortfolio tool
  • (Optional) Students will further investigate the [insert category] Signature Question as they explore [insert discipline or course subject].

Explore Courses Are Unique

We are pleased to have Explore instructors as part of the teaching community that welcomes nearly 2,000 first-year students to our campus each fall!

But...what does it mean to be an Explore instructor in the USP? What has changed? The resources below are designed to assist you as members of the USP teaching community.

What difference does it make that my course is an Explore course?

  1. Your colleagues are different. While you maintain your department colleagues, you gain USP teaching community colleagues.  Events and professional development opportunities will be offered regularly.  Support from the USP Council and the Center for Excellence in Teaching and Learning webpage will also be available  (see “USP teaching resources”).
  2. Your students are different. Be aware that in the first few years of the USP students in your class will have a mixed student population– with many who are experiencing the University Studies Program and some who are finishing the current general education requirements. Within a few years, all of your EXPLORE students will be in their first or second year.
  3. Your students’ academic experiences in other general education courses are different. They now have common elements that may be helpful to you as you teach your subject matter including learning communities, peer mentors, Signature Question content, instruction in information literacy, writing and speaking instruction in the first year, direct instruction related to the liberal arts, and more!  As you learn more about the USP, you may find elements of the program that are useful to your EXPLORE course.
  4. Your students’ awareness of their own learning processes will be different as they document and reflect upon that learning in an ePortfolio that travels with them from course to course.
  5. Your students' understanding of the liberal arts and the purpose of general education will be different. In fact, your course description and other parts of your syllabus can now explicitly reference the liberal arts, as you–along with all USP instructors- welcome students to campus, empower them with resources, and help them make connections within their college experience and to the world beyond.

Explore Teaching Resources

Syllabus Development: Syllabus considerations, sample language, and an example of engaging tone from an actual Explore syllabus.

Invitational Language and Tone for First-Year Students: An example of how to set a welcoming, engaging tone in the syllabus for your Explore course.

Writing Student Learning Outcomes: This document may assist you as you construct student learning outcomes for your course.

Instructions for finding your approved course forms: This document aids you in locating University Studies Program Approved Course Forms for your Explore course.

UW Oshkosh Essential Learning Outcomes: Read more about the Essential Learning Outcomes adapted from the AAC&U for our campus.

High-Impact Practices: Read the AAC&U's High-Impact Practices that play a major role in the student learning goals of the USP.

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