The Catalyst Project Presented by: Sara B. Varhus, Rhonda Mandel & Linda Rae Markert. In medias res: Integration & Disintegration in the First Semester. “A local motion keepeth bodies integral, and their parts together.” --Francis Bacon.
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The Catalyst Project
Presented by: Sara B. Varhus,
Rhonda Mandel & Linda Rae Markert
In medias res: Integration & Disintegration in the First Semester
“A local motion keepeth bodies integral, and their parts together.”--Francis Bacon
“One can think reflectively only when one is willing to endure suspense and to undergo the trouble of searching.”
“To formulate requires getting outside of (the experience), seeing it as another would see it, considering what points of contact it has with the life of another. . . .”--John Dewey
“Integrative learning is the next new campus initiative to come from Culkin Hall. . . . While vaguely defined, this is probably something that we are already doing in our department; consider how you might implement integrative learning in your work.”
--Minutes of a recent department meeting
Students at Fr. Orientation
Catalyst Project Team
First Choice Students
Intellectual Issues Students
Summer: looking back at your high school years, reflect on how your experiences as a student have influenced your interests, goals, beliefs, and/or general outlook.
Fall: as you complete your first semester at SUNY at Oswego, reflect on how your early experiences as a college student have changed or influenced your interests, beliefs and/or general outlook.
Summer: Describe a recent assignment for one class in which you used skills, knowledge and/or methods that you learned in other classes. Described how you applied your learning in this course or assignment.
Fall: Describe an exercise or assignment you were asked to complete this semester that required or enabled you to use information and/or strategies you learned in other classes. How did you go about integrating your learning for this exercise or assignment?
Summer: In college you will be taking classes in your major, general education courses, and courses that you choose simply because they interest you. What do you think is the value of the variety of courses that you will be taking?
Fall: During this fall semester, you have taken classes in your major and general education, as well as elective courses that interested you. What do you see as the value of this variety of courses you are now completing?
“I did well in almost all subjects, but it was. . . History, music and language that I became passionate about, instead of going through the motions in subjects such as math and sciences.”
“It’s like dating. . . . You date various people looking for ‘the one.’” High school was a series of classes, which you sample, hoping to find something you enjoy doing. When you find that one thing, you know it’s what you want to pursue in college.”
“I’m learning to take in information now with less judgment or expectation and have found that I’m actually learning better, and more by being more open to information.”
“Taking a variety of courses, especially during your freshman year, helps to introduce you to the many different aspects of the world and allows you to make connections between what you know and what you have yet to learn.”
“In my design class. . . I had to be creative and look at something/object in a different and creative way. In all my other classes I have to approach what I am learning open-minded and with a willingness to think about concepts/ideas in a different way.”
“The value of this integration into a variety of courses. . . . Has allowed me to understand what is out there in the world that is very different from my perceived own understanding.”
“Being forced to read books and learn new ideas and opinions has made me more intelligent towards school work and the role school plays in society. My beliefs have become less cynical and optimism rests inside me.”
CATEGORY SUMMERFIRST CHOICE
Learned Keys to
Personal Growth *7.2%2.8%
Used Skills Learned
Outside of Class *5.3%2.7%
No Transfer of Information2%6.4%
Value for the Future19.7%8%
Means to Discover
Interests, Likes &
Realized Keys to
When asked to reflect on the “value” of the variety of classes taken in college, most believe there IS value and the number of students describing this as a means to acquire breadth/diversity or discover interests, likes & dislikes remains consistent over time at just over 70% of the cohort.
With regard to their recall about academic exercises and assignments, almost all students are able to identify “something” they have done where they believe integration has occurred. However, the transference of skills is the largest category for the entire cohort and there are slightly fewer students who, at the end of the first term, are able to articulate examples of activities where they have transferred academic concepts – slightly more of these first semester freshmen also tell us that they do not see “any” transfer of information.
How Can We Use What We Have Learned about Integrative Assignments?
The First Year Project!!