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First Year Inquiry (FYI) Courses

Part of the Essential Studies program is the First Year Inquiry requirement (FYI). FYI courses help students develop the inquiry skills (critical thinking, research, communication, etc.) needed for success in college and beyond.

Students can take one 6 credit FYI course OR two 3 credit FYI courses. Please choose your FYI based on a topic you will ENJOY - this is imperative to your success in the course.

When completing your Ready to Register form, you will only have the option to choose FYI courses which still have open seats. Changes to your FYI can be made at a Signing Day, where additional choices may become available to you.

FYI Course Options

Home on the Range: 6 credits

The course focuses on the relations and interactions between organisms and their environment, with an emphasis on human ecology, as explore and expressed through disciplines in both the arts (writing, film, the visual and performing arts, etc.) and the sciences (especially in the arena of agriculture and rangeland management). Wherever possible, emphasis will be placed on examples from the Great Plains Region and close to home. The three thematic units include: The Land (rangeland ecology); The Homestead (animal science and livestock management); and The Wilderness (hunting, recreation and wildlife management).

The 20th Century American Road: 6 credits

This course examines the history of the American highway in the twentieth century--how highways came to be and what consequences they had for American history, literature and film. The road has been the means by which the western frontier has been expanded; it has also been the locus of escape, exile, dispossession and self-discovery. The road, both actual and imagined, has created a body of literature and film that is distinctly American.

Happiness: 6 credits

Everyone wants to be happy. But what is happiness? How do we achieve happiness? Humans have been wrestling with these questions for millennia, from Greek philosophers to modern psychologists to fiction writers to filmmakers. In this course, we will be joining this discussion. We will be examining and practicing various accounts of what happiness is and how best we can achieve it.

Relationships: 3 credits

Human relationships in the 21st century will be explored in all dimensions: Social and familial, biological and physical, cognitive and psychological. Development of positive interpersonal relationships, improved communication skills, personal sexual health awareness, responsible decision-making and critical thinking skills will be the focus of this study.

Topics in FYI: Liar, Liar Pants on Fire: 3 credits

This course will be a critical inquiry into deceptive behavior. Deceptive behavior will be identified and explored through: verbal statements, physical illustrators, behavioral analysis, and written documents. Students will actively participate in identifying these deceptive behaviors through group activities, a critical analysis of interviews and interrogations, fingerprint identification, and linguistic statement analysis.

Topics in FYI: Music and the Mind: 3 credits

Music is omnipresent in film, television, and advertisements. Artists, cinematographers, and advertisers all use music to influence their target audience. This course examines the fundamentals of music, the psychology of music, and how music is used and manipulated to illicit an emotional response in the listener. Music and the Mind explores the psychology of music and the connection between music and the human brain. This course culminates with a project combining music and images. This course satisfies 3 credit hours toward Essential Studies Outcome 1.

Topics in FYI: Healthy Skepticism: 3 credits

This course will emphasize principles of skeptical inquiry and scientific reasoning to prepare students to critically analyze promotional claims made in the health marketplace for products, services, and practices. The course is designed to help students distinguish health-related fact from fiction and to spot health-related schemes, scams, superstitions, sensationalism, fads, fallacies, frauds, quackery and general bunk. Students will engage in critical thinking, critical inquiry, and creative problem solving as they learn and discuss how consumers can improve the value and validity of their health-related expenditures.

Topics in FYI: Humans and Animals: Friends or Foes?: 3 credits

This course investigates the relationship of humans and animals by examining the role animals play in human society and culture, and the interactions humans have with animals. Students will examine these relationships through the lens of the emerging interdisciplinary field of human-animal studies which comprises work in social sciences (sociology, anthropology, psychology, political science), humanities (history, literary criticism, philosophy, geography), and the natural sciences (ethology, veterinary medicine, animal welfare science, and comparative psychology), as well as the fields of wildlife management and agriculture.

Gaze Anatomy: Gender, Race, Sexuality and Class in Media: 3 credits

This course is designed to teach students to be literate consumers of media in its multiple forms. The course situates media in the capitalist economic system and provides students with techniques of interpretation and analysis of media texts and practices. Students will analyze various media content through group discussions, exercises and essays that will culminate in the production of a digital media critique.

Mathletics: Not for Spectators: 6 credits

Discussion of various sports and the relationships of the sports to exercise science and mathematics. We will explore how the body works when hitting a baseball, hitting a golf ball, playing billiards, shooting a basketball, and playing tennis. From this, we will integrate mathematics through the use of statistics, geometry, and trigonometry. Students will be asked to participate in various aspects of each of the above named activities.

A Better You Through Financial & Physical Health: 6 credits

This course aims to give students the needed foundation for both a physical and financially healthy life by addressing the components of each and how they are interrelated.

Opening Pandora’s Music Box: 3 credits

Music is universal to world cultures, and music can act as a language. However music is not a universal language. How is music produced? What are the fundamental components? What is common to different cultures? Opening Pandora's Music Box explores the physiology and cultural aspects of creating music. Students will explore the motivation for the creation and appreciation of music. The course culminates with a project creating new sounds.

10,000 B.C.,Great Plains, North America: 6 credits (FULLY ONLINE)

In this course, you will examine the challenges of answering questions about prehistoric people’s adaptation to a changing environment through the application of historical and earth science tools and techniques. Ultimately, you will explore the dynamics of communicating scientific information in the form of natural and cultural history with the public.

Nutrition, Weight Loss & Wellness: 3 credits

A recurring issue in American life is overweight and obesity. This course provides the opportunity for you (students) to inquire and come to conclusions about weight loss methods and diets (weight management), based on the science of nutrition and the theme of wellness. Whether you desire to lose weight, or you want to work with others in resolving their weight issues and maximizing wellness, this course may be for you! This course will help you unlock the mysteries of nutrition, weight, and wellness.

Survival Skills 101: 3 credits

A common theory studied in developmental courses is Abraham Maslow’s Hierarchy of Basic Needs. This course is a study of Maslow's theory as it applies to the traditional college age student. From the basic needs of food, clothing, and shelter, to the higher needs of esteem and self-actualization, this course asks students to discover the methods and means of making considered choices, regarding basic needs.

Forgiveness: 3 credits (FULLY ONLINE)

Humans are social creatures. We live our lives in community with others. We are also imperfect creatures. We continually make mistakes, and these mistakes often bring harm to other humans within our communities, thereby damaging those social relationships on which we depend. As a result, we engage in various practices aimed at repairing this damage. One of these reparative practices is the practice of forgiveness. In this class, we will examine this human practice of forgiveness from a variety of different perspectives: psychology, religion, politics, and philosophy. We will consider questions about the value of forgiveness and the challenges of forgiving.

Analyzing Adolescence: 3 credits (FULLY ONLINE)

Adolescence spans the years from eleven to nineteen, a time of dramatic physical, emotional, and intellectual changes. Early, middle, and late adolescent development is a unique time of life as puberty, changing gender roles, and more autonomous relationships with parents as peers grow and develop. Adolescent development will be explored from a variety of interdisciplinary perspectives.

Fashionomics: 3 credits

A study of the historic, political, economic, psychological, and social influences of fashion in the global community. Critical thinking and practical reasoning skills will be incorporated with the inquiry process to develop informed, conscientious consumer decisions.

Matters of Opinion: Spring 2017—3 credits

In this course, we will explore the critical thinking skills necessary to develop informed opinions. In honestly evaluating our beliefs and those of others, we will also be on the lookout for the emergence of surprising and unexpected insights for it is in the examination of these new insights that we reaffirm current opinions or begin to shape new ones. Students will develop skills to enhance critical thinking and communication by engaging in such activities as reading and writing opinion columns, documentary film reviews, and social problems perspectives. Students will also read, listen to, write, and record personal philosophy essays for submission to National Public Radio.

Zombie-apocalypse: Zombies in Popular Culture: 3 credits

This course will explore zombies in popular culture and address a broad range of zombie representations: race, gender, war, the other democracy, wealth inequality, family, loss and trauma and the pleasure of consumption. The course will incorporate readings from a variety of disciplines: media studies, political economy, film studies, consumer culture, and philosophy. Students will produce critical essays and a group project presentation.

Monsters and Magic: 6 credits

The purpose of this course is to examine our culture's fascination with monsters and magic in Film, TV, Literature, and other mediums of entertainment, using methods and practices of inquiry from Literary, Gender, Film, and Race Studies.

Improving Your Influence: 6 credits (FULLY ONLINE)

Students will describe and practice skills involved in critical inquiry and creative problem solving through interdisciplinary, collaborative engagement of information and knowledge as power in the business and educational setting.

Virtue and the Warrior Spirit: 6 credits

In this course, we will inquire about the nature of "warrior spirit," with an emphasis on the virtues of courage, loyalty, and duty traditionally associated with military service. We will also explore viewpoints that question the value of a "warrior spirit”.

Making Cents of Petroleum: 6 credits (FULLY ONLINE)

Examination of the challenge of meeting the demand for petroleum resources both nationally and globally. You will explore the dynamic balance between suppling a petroleum product and protecting the environment while utilizing ethical business practices. Ultimately, you will explore how we can provide sustainable energy resources.

Plants, Beverages-Human History: 3 credits

The interaction of mankind and plant-derived products will be explored in a critical inquiry of conditions and issues of cultivation, harvesting, and preparation; religious and medicinal use; trade and economics; and social and societal consequences.

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