Freshman Learning Community Myths:
What They Are and Aren’t
Freshman Seminars are not easy A’s. In some FLCs, a Freshman Seminar links to standard academic courses, including English composition and a core math or science class. The Freshman Seminar is a 3 credit hour course taught by a faculty member with expertise in a particular field. Although Freshman Seminars include a large component of orientation-type general information, instructors teach the discipline-specific material with the same passion that they bring to every class and likewise bring the same performance expectations they do to any freshman course. Remember that a course can be fun without being easy.
FLCs are not honors seminars. No FLC course should be more difficult or more demanding than the same course taught as a free-standing course. The integrated curriculum promotes student engagement and better learning; however, faculty will not make higher academic demands of FLC students than they would expect of freshmen in the same course if it were not part of an FLC. A Freshman Seminar includes discipline-specific material as well as a large percentage of general orientation information. All courses in an FLC offer the same or comparable content that another section of the course not part of an FLC would offer.
FLCs are not magic bullets. FLCs do not guarantee that students will immediately become better students in terms of responsibility, decorum, note-taking, or performance on assignments. However, FLCs can provide more and more effective opportunities for students to be taught and learn the strategies and competencies that will help them succeed at UAB. Every FLC includes at least one class limited to a maximum of 25 students. Many include at least two such classes. The small size class(es) and the expected on-going communication among instructors in the linked courses help promote earlier intervention when a student has problems.