The goal is to expose them early on to the core values of the institution so they understand the purpose of the general education, and by extension, what the goal of a college education should be.I've been thinking for a while that Arapahoe needs something like this, basically an AHS 101 course that introduces them to the expectations of Arapahoe, as well as maybe teaches some of the "basics" that we want them to know for their core courses (things like how to cite references for papers; or how to complete a science lab writeup - as just a couple of examples). This would maybe free up some time in our classes that we currently spend on expectations and skills that we teach multiple times, just because we aren't sure if they've ever been exposed to them before.
. . . The first year interest groups at the University of Oregon are typical examples. Students take two regular degree-satisfying courses together in groups of twenty-five during the fall term along with students from the larger university population. In addition, they enroll in a one-credit course entitled College Connections, which is taught by one of the faculty teaching the larger course. (p. 137)
I first approached this from a technology perspective, thinking I wanted to offer (require?) all incoming freshmen to attend a course before school starts that introduced them to all the basics of technology at AHS (their logins, how to use the server, how to access email, maybe basic MS Office stuff). But I quickly realized that if this was a good idea for technology, this was an even better idea of we expanded it to include more skills and expectations in more areas.
I see two different ways we could do this. First, we could offer something in the summer. I've heard that we may be offering a week-long "enrichment" class this summer for incoming freshmen, but I don't really know what it's about. The problem with this approach is whether or not we could require all freshmen to do something like this, much less staff it. A second approach would be to offer either a 1 or 2 credit course that all freshmen would have to take either first or second semester (or both). This gets around the problem of how to get all freshmen to take it, but it has a whole bunch of scheduling implications (although a one hour course might not be too much problem, other than staffing).
I don't know if this is feasible or not, but I think this could really help our students - both with specific skills that will help them in high school (and beyond), and with communicating the vision of what we want them to get from their education at Arapahoe. Do any of you think this would be something worthwhile to pursue?