Even though each Arts First seminar is designed around a unique theme, we have compiled some basic components that comprise a kind of intellectual center of gravity for the program.
Second, we encourage all instructors to follow a set of best practices. These are evidence-based approaches to pedagogy that foster an effective learning environment and that create a similar experience for students across Arts First sections.
Third, we’ve developed a common set of assignment guidelines to make sure that there is consistency across sections. We have over 80 sections per year and over 1000 students a year take Arts First seminars, and the assignment guidelines ensure a similar experience for students across sections.
Fourth, we ask all instructors to foreground communication skills and background discipline-specific knowledge. This is a different way of teaching for many, and so we’ve created this short guide about how to foreground communication in your classes.
Fifth, we also ask all instructors to foreground modes of analysis in their classes. This means showing students how to ask good questions, and how to thoughtfully engage texts, evidence, and data. We will soon release a short guide about how to foreground analysis in your classes.
Sixth, communication courses require lots of feedback for students (both peer feedback and instructor feedback). This can be a time-consuming and difficult part of teaching Arts First courses. This short guide (PDF) on giving quality feedback can help.
Finally, students may ask you questions about what Arts First is and why they have to take these seminars. We created an instructor/advisor script to help answer questions any student might have.