Fall 2015 Connections Info
Connections is an academic course specifically designed to ease your transition to Utah State and to prepare you for your college experience. Higher education is a huge investment. This unique course focuses on helping you go about your USU education intentionally--using resources, taking advantage of opportunities to develop socially, and selecting courses that will help build character as well as employability. Connections allows you to develop a support network of classmates, faculty, and staff to help ensure a successful beginning to your academic experience. It will teach you everything you need to know about becoming an Aggie!
Each instructor is able to customize the class, but each Connections section includes the following:
- Purpose of a College Education: Why are you here in the first place? You will discuss why college is structured they way it is, and how can you get the most out of that structure.
- Common Literature: Over the summer, you'll read the same book as all the other Connections students, and listen to the author at a convocation. This is a great example of a learning community.
- College Writing Expectations: You simply need to learn how to write well in college and in life. Even the best writers can use additional skills to fine-tune their abilities. You'll discuss the expectations of college professors, and learn about resources to help you become a better writer.
- Overcoming Challenges: You are going to encounter challenges in college. It's very normal, but it can be discouraging. You'll discuss anticipated challenges with your classmates, and learn how to assess your resources and overcome those challenges when they arise.
- Academic Strategies: You'll test your note-taking and textbook-reading skills and see how they stack up with college-level work. You'll also learn some helpful tips and resources for studying smarter in college.
- Academic and Career Planning: You'll learn how to explore the many degrees offered at USU, and how to track your progress toward a degree once you have declared a major. You'll also discuss with your classmates the importance of focusing on broad learning rather than a narrow set of job skills.
- Student Resources: You'll test your knowledge of the many resources funded by your student fees that you should be using to make the most of your time at USU.
- Campus Technology: Canvas, Portal, Banner, Access--you will need to know how to use all of these computer programs. You'll learn to use the on-campus computer labs, as well as the many pieces of software used at USU.
- Using the Library: You'll learn about the USU Library system, which you will need to use throughout your college career.
- Connecting to Campus: You've heard that you need to get involved, and hopefully you see the importance of building in-person social contacts. You will research clubs and organizations at USU, and discuss the role these events and activities can play in helping you become a better citizen.
- Building a Learning Community: USU is one large learning community, with several micro-versions of learning communities happening within. You will discuss ways you can be an active participant. You'll learn how to address your professors, what constitutes academic dishonesty, how to best prepare for class, and how to evaluate your courses and professors after a class.
- Bystander Intervention: You'll learn how you can create a safe learning environment at USU. You'll learn five tips for overcoming the bystander effect, and discuss pro-social behavior with your class and peer mentor.
- Time Management: Time management is a huge challenge for most people, and it can be particularly difficult while making the transition to college. You'll discuss the challenges of time management with your class, and learn some effective methods for managing your time.
Connections classes have about 32 participants per class. A portion of class time will be spent listening to formal lectures, and a large portion will be spent involving class members in sharing, reflecting, asking questions, and developing learning strategies for the semester ahead. In addition, classes and workshops will be held in many different areas of campus, so you will learn to navigate the campus easily. Pre-semester sessions are held the week before the start of the semester, and three or four follow-up sessions will be held after the semester begins. The follow-up sessions are designed to provide additional support during your transition to the university environment. They provide a good chance to ask more questions, seek resources, and re-evaluate your study strategies for the semester. The pre-semester section times are as follows:
- Wednesday-Friday, August 26-28, 9 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.
- Saturday, August 29, 9 am to noon
- Follow-up sessions as scheduled in Banner for each section
10-week, Regional Campus, Online, and Athlete Formats
In addition to the traditional course format, there are some 10-week sections offered for students who are not able to come the week before school starts. In addition to a traditional 10-week session, there are classes designed specifically for non-traditional students, veterans, regional campus students, and all-online students. There is also a full-semester course for varsity student athletes.
Registering for Connections
Register for USU 1010 like any other course through the Access system. Make sure you are able to attend the entire time because attendance is part of your grade. More information will be given at SOAR.
Be sure you already registered in Access (Banner) for USU 1010 University Connections. Check-in for the pre-semester Connections courses takes place Tuesday, August 25 from 10-3 on the second floor of the Taggart Student Center. It only takes about 15 minutes to check in, and you can come anytime between 10 and 3. After you check-in, take time to visit the "Welcome to USU Fair" in the Sunburst Lounge. There you will receive information about campus and service organizations, employment opportunities, faith communities, local banks and credit unions, and computer set-up assistance.
If you are taking a 10-week or the athlete section, you do not need to check in for Connections on August 25. You can simply go to your first class the first week of classes.
Waiver (Required of Students in All Pre-Semester Sections)
If you are attending a pre-semester section that starts August 26, you are required to submit your signed waiver either online in pdf format or in person at check-in. If you will be under 18 years of age on August 26, you are required to have your parents or guardians sign as well. Find a blank waiver and upload your signed waiver here.
If you are living on campus you may check-in to your apartment starting Saturday, August 22 from 10a.m.-10p.m. If you are living off campus, please check with your landlord to see when you are eligible to move in. Check-in for on-campus housing will be available August 22-30 from 10a.m.-10p.m. at the area office where you are living. We strongly encourage you to check in on a Saturday or Sunday because the housing staff is limited during the weekdays due to training. There will be signs to help you find your check-in location once you get close to your residence hall.
You can buy your parking permits online starting mid-July at http://www.usu.edu/parking. During the Connections class, the Aggie Shuttle will be running. No special parking is provided for Connections students, so buy your parking permit prior to August 26 so you don't have to worry about that on the first day of Connections.
Connections students are responsible for all meals during the class. Although Connections instructors will provide lunch one day Wednesday, Thursday, or Friday during the week. Students with meal plans can use them in the dining halls, and dining locations on campus will be open for students wanting to purchase meals.
To complete the course with an acceptable grade you will be required to fulfill certain assignments. Some assignments require writing, following personal observation and research of topics. Other assignments require you to create checklists of the facts and concepts discussed in class or workshops. All assignments are graded and designed to help you apply information during the semester. Students should be aware that Connections is an academic course and carries the same GPA weight as two credits in a university math or science course. Be prepared to give the Connections assignments your best effort.
Common Literature Assignment
Connections students join in a common literature experience and literature assignment. The 2015 selection is The Emerald Mile by Kevin Fedarko. You are required to the read the book and upload the completed assignment to Canvas by your first class on Wednesday, August 26. If you are in the 10-week session, plan on submitting your assignment the first day of your class, unless you hear otherwise from your instructor.
Part of your grade for the class depends on your attendance. Much of the learning that occurs in Connections is a result of participation in class discussions and activities. It is extremely difficult, if not impossible, to recreate a missed class session or workshop. Class for the two credit option begins Wednesday, August 26 at 9 am and continues through Saturday morning. Make sure to attend your follow-up sessions during the first three weeks of the semester.
What to Bring to Class:
- Student Handbook/Planner (given out at SOAR, remember to bring it back to Connections)
- Becoming a Learner book (given out at SOAR, remember to bring it back to Connections)
- Common Literature Book: (The Emerald Mile)
After classes during Connections week, students are invited to participate in various evening activities.
Tuesday August 25 ~ Blue and White Volleyball Scrimmage
Cheer your women's volleyball team as they play a scrimmage game in the famous Dee Glen Smith Spectrum. Pick up your schedule posters for all varsity sports and learn more about athletic events.
Wednesday August 26 ~ Utah State University Student Association Slip-n-Slide
USUSA is turning on the fun as they sponsor the “Freshmen Celebration” on Wednesday evening. Be prepared for a large slip-n-slide down Old Main Hill. As with all activities at USU and on the hill, you participate at your own risk, so be safe!
Thursday August 27 ~ Comedian Magician Tim Gabrielson
Tim’s show has gained both the respect and attention of performers and audiences alike, having appeared on numerous national television shows and for sold out crowds across the country. Tim’s “keep it funny” philosophy is obvious throughout his laugh-a-minute show. He prides himself in providing a clean performance in which he takes it to the line, but never crosses. His wide appeal makes his show enjoyable for all types of audiences.
Friday August 28 ~ Taste of Logan
“Taste” of the Friday night scene. We have over twenty–five local businesses providing food and product samples of their enterprise and various bands playing throughout the evening while students stroll downtown Logan.
Saturday August 29 ~ Blue Goes Green Day at First Dam
Enjoy fun and recreation at First Dam with the sustainability council. Take a canoe for a spin, ride an Aggie Blue Bike, and learn about several sustainable campus organizations on campus.
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