FYE FOCUS GROUP - MULTIPLE CHOICE
May 9, 2002 7:00 PM
3 women and 3 men from the Multiple Choice program participated in the focus
group. Cindy Shedd moderated.
1. YOU WERE ALL IN MULTIPLE CHOICES, RIGHT?
2. I was in the history one, too.
3. OKAY, YOU WERE IN TWO OF THEM. OKAY.
4. ON A SCALE OF 1-10, WITH 10 AS BEST, HOW WOULD YOU RATE
YOUR EXPERIENCE WITH FYE?
5. I guess I’d rate it about an 8 or a 9. It isn’t something that really drags me
on. 2 of the classes I needed anyway. And one of the classes, chemistry, I
had before, so I somewhat knew what it was about. So that got my lab
credit and my religion class also got my religion credit. And physics,
Computational Physics, it was a fun class.
6. SO YOU RATE IT ABOUT 8.5 THEN?
8. HOW ABOUT YOU?
9. I would also rate it at 8 because I took computer science, introduction. And
it was really fine, given that I haven’t been exposed to computers – that was
my first time. And I enjoyed the class so much. Especially the professor
was very helpful, he understood that this student has NO computer work at
all, so he really gave me maximum attention. I really got what I…. I really
liked that class the best out of it. Currently I’m doing History of Science and
Music of Asia. Though Music of Asia was not part of what I chose, but I’m
getting it, it’s really fun. But I like History of Science so much. I think 8 is
10. I think I’d give it a 7 because I was a transfer student and I didn’t get a
choice of what I was put into. That was my only option, to go Multiple
Choice. So because my advisor was John Glen, he put me into his FYE
program too, so I got to take both Elaine Follis’ class and the FYE program.
But I would have liked to have done Diakonia because they did so much
together, you know, like the community service. And I thought it was kind of
cool, so I would have liked to have done that.
11. I’d probably give it an 8. I think it’d be easier to give it an all-around number
after this quarter was over because I took one FYE every quarter and so far
I’ve really enjoyed the past two, but I’m not so sure about my third class
right now. I’m not very happy with it, so my number might change.
12. I’d give it a 6. Or a 5 maybe even. I didn’t really like any of the classes that
I got. I got my last choice with FYE choice. The only reason I’m in Multiple
Choice is because I had to play football and I couldn’t be in 2 or 3 of my first
choices. So I got my last choice and I don’t like it.
13. I’d say probably 7 or 8, just because the classes that I ended up taking I
needed to take anyway eventually. The only thing that I kind of didn’t like is
that I had to take them at a certain time, which really limited my choices for
my other classes. Especially because 2 of them were in the fall and there
were other classes that I wanted to take in the fall. And my third class
ended up… it was a miracle that I got into a class that was useful for me.
So that I didn’t like. But the classes were great. I enjoyed them and they
were all useful for my major and minors.
14. NOW I WANT TO TALK ABOUT THE WRITING PROGRAM. FOR
FRESHMEN, THE WRITING PROGRAM INCLUDES THE PRE-FALL
SEMINAR – THE TWO WEEKS BEFORE SCHOOL BEGINS – AND ALSO
WRITING IN YOUR FYE CLASSES. SO I WANT YOU TO GIVE THIS A
RATING TOO ON A 1-10 SCALE. YOU CAN GIVE ME A SEPARATE
RATING FOR EACH OR YOU CAN GIVE ME A COMBINED RATING.
15. I gave it a 9 because I thought it was pretty good. I thought it was waste of
time kind of.
16. WHICH PART WAS THIS?
17. The writing seminar. I thought it was a waste of time, personally, but I did
give it a high rating because my teacher, Ted Blake, made it fun and a good
18. HOW ABOUT WRITING IN YOUR FYE CLASSES?
19. I don’t know.
20. HAVE YOU DONE ANY WRITING IN YOUR FYE CLASSES?
21. A little bit. Not really though. I rate it a 6.
22. I’d give the prefall seminar a 5 because it wasn’t helpful to me at all. We did
some fun stuff, and I kind of enjoyed it, but I didn’t find it helpful at all or
useful. Mostly because most of what we did I had done many times before.
Starting in like 3rd or 4th grade we’d done a lot of those exercises, so it was
just redundant. And for in class I’d probably say a 5 or a 6 because I took 2
science classes – or I took a math and a science class, rather. And trying to
work writing into a math class didn’t work out so well. We ended up having
to do things like writing a 2-3 page poem about comparing 2 of Archimedes
theorems, except in poetry form. That didn’t work too well. In chemistry it
was kind of integrated into the class because you had to write labs. But we
didn’t do any essay writing or anything like that, which I didn’t really mind. I
don’t see it as necessary in a lab class as in an English or a history class.
So I didn’t really like having integrated into those classes where it wouldn’t
necessarily be otherwise.
23. DO YOU THINK YOUR WRITING DEVELOPED THIS YEAR?
25. I’m thinking a 5.
26. FOR THE WRITING SEMINAR?
Well, for both. I got a C on my Religion 110 paper, so I don’t know if it
helped or if I needed help sticking with the information that I got.
27. DID YOU GET GOOD FEEDBACK FROM THE TEACHER? DO YOU
KNOW WHERE YOU NEED TO IMPROVE?
28. Yes. She gave us a sheet showing which part, like thesis. She’d put a
check on a line showing good, bad. So she did do a little bit of that and
commented throughout the paper. So, yeah, that was a little helpful, if I
really looked at it and studied it. Also, I had 2 science classes. One was
chemistry, and you take the lab and turn it over. And one was physics
which also kind of did the same thing with your own little lab deal. So until
the Religion 110 paper which I had in the winter, I hadn’t written a single
paper yet. So I guess if they’re really trying to get you to write…. I enjoyed
that I DIDN’T have to write.
29. DO YOU FEEL YOU WERE DEVELOPED AS A WRITER AT ALL
THROUGH THIS FYE?
Um….. I think I have a little bit. There’s some editing points and some other
points. I’m currently in a writing workshop class right now.
30. AND IS THAT HELPING?
31. Yeah. It’s work closer to one-on-one type deal. They see how your paper
needs to be edited, and stuff like that.
32. I didn’t attend the prefall writing seminar.
33. YOU CAME IN WINTER, DIDN’T YOU?
34. Yeah. So I had the writing workshop, which I think was helpful and I give it
a 7. Most of the things, I found them almost things that I knew, except that
they were in an American context and I’m used to a British context. So I
think I really got a lot of help there. So for these other classes, I can give it
a 9. Especially my computer science, where we were writing journals
weekly. I started at a low grade. I was writing a journal that could score a 5
or maybe a 6. And after I realized how it was being done, I was scoring 10
all through. And I thought that was very useful for me.
35. SO YOU THINK YOUR WRITING HAS DEVELOPED?
36. Yes, it has developed. Especially with the organization of how to organize a
paper. It has really developed. So I like it.
37. I didn’t attend the prefall writing seminar and I haven’t taken a writing class
or anything. But I’ve done fine in my writing.
38. HOW ABOUT IN YOUR FYE CLASSES?
39. I took the Religion class and I did pretty well.
40. DO YOU THINK YOUR WRITING IMPROVED BECAUSE OF THE
41. I think so. I think she’s a pretty rigorous grader and knowing that made me
be that much more careful when I wrote my paper. And I think that definitely
42. DID YOU GET ANY WRITING INSTRUCTION IN YOUR CLASSES?
43. We’re sort of talking about it now in my history class, but not really in any of
my FYE classes.
44. I’d give the prefall a 7 and I didn’t find it was helpful in anything other than
kind of jump starting you and making you produce a lot of writing and letting
it come out and everything like that. I do feel it’s a little too long, like it didn’t
need to be that long. But it was a good way to start the whole year. And
then in my classes I’d probably give it a 6. I have developed a lot as a writer
this year, but I didn’t think that they focused on writing necessarily. The
classes that I would take at Prin, I would develop that anyway, without the
FYE focus. Because it didn’t seem like…. yes, you got papers back, and
they commented on them. But it didn’t seem like they were doing anything
45. [Student], I DIDN'T ASK YOU THAT PART. DO YOU THINK YOU
DEVELOPED AS A WRITER?
46. Maybe a little bit.
47. THE OTHER QUESTION I WOULD ASK YOU ALL, HAVE YOU USED ANY
OF THE THINGS YOU WERE TAUGHT IN THE PRE-FALL SEMINAR IN
YOUR WRITING SINCE THEN?
48. I don't think so. Probably, but I don't really realize it.
49. Probably not consciously, but it's just little things that we worked on.
50. HOW ABOUT THE REST OF YOU? ANYBODY USING ANYTHING?
51. Yeah, I did. I think if I was asked what I did, I’d forget the stuff I did. I may
be using it unconsciously, but other than that, I don't know.
52. I'd say unconsciously maybe, I don't really...
53. BUT THERE'S NO CONSCIOUS LINK WITH ANYTHING.
55. OKAY. THE WORKLOAD IN YOUR CLASSES, HOW DOES IT COMPARE
BETWEEN THE FYE CLASSES AND YOUR OTHER CLASSES? DO YOU
NOTICE A DIFFERENCE, OR NO.
56. There's one that was significantly less.
57. AN FYE CLASS THAT WAS LESS WORK?
58. Yes. And one that was just right, almost two hours, well it was a lab class,
so it had about 1 -- 1.5 hours of homework a night .
59. HOW ABOUT YOU? NOTICE A DIFFERENCE?
60. I don't know whether my difference is really significant because in the winter
I was doing computer, and that is under science. And my other classes
were under arts. Like, one was a two quarter hour class, so didn't really take
a lot of time, as compared to what I was doing in the computer science
class. And then there was another one that was a sociology class, basically
it was a lot of reading and analyzing, which wasn't as demanding as the
computer class that I had in the FYE. Currently, I'm taking Music of Asia for
my FYE and it's just sounds. Basically I see that they balance with the extra
one that I take that is not an FYE, it's an American literature class. The
workload is kind of the same.
61. I think in terms of the classes I'm taking right now, it's pretty much right on
par with my FYE. I don't notice a significant difference. Our religion class
was a lot of reading, but I really enjoyed it, I loved it.
62. I think he just depends on the class that I had. It actually ended up they
were using more than my other classes, the first two that I had. Pretty close
though, to being the same.
63. Maybe a little bit more, but it's just because of my other classes I think.
64. I think mine were right about on the day, but two of the classes I took were
the first class in a series of 3. I took Calc I and then Chem I. and I
continued to finish both of those series and I couldn't tell a difference from
one quarter to the other. It was pretty much the same.
65. HOW DO YOU THINK THE MULTIPLE-CHOICE PROGRAM COMPARES
WITH THE OTHER PROGRAMS?
66. I want to say, a lot better. Because I heard complaints about Honors and
some of the other ones where it's really hard and all this and that. So I think
there's one to be in, and I was in it. Also it helped me get the classes I
already needed and I don't know if other classes focused on that as much.
It also gave me the possibility of being either a chemistry major or a physics
major -- because that's one of the classes you have to have, I believe. So it
also opened that door, if I wanted to go that route.
67. IF YOU WERE TO DO IT OVER AGAIN, WOULD YOU DO THE SAME
THING? WOULD YOU CHOOSE MULTIPLE-CHOICE AGAIN?
69. WHAT ABOUT YOU?
70. I don't know how to compare them because I don't basically know what's
important to that class.
71. IF YOU WERE GOING TO START AGAIN AS A FRESHMAN, WOULD
YOU TAKE AT PROGRAMS, OR WOULD YOU DO MULTIPLE-CHOICE?
72. I think I would do multiple-choice because it's kind of like [student] said, it
has used a lot of openings to other majors then the programs, which I think
are kind of linear and narrow to a specific program.
73. I think I would have done the Diakonia one because they did community
service, they did group activities. I really like that. You all do the classes. I
think that helps you when you have to form a study group or whatever. I
think it makes a difference.
74. I would have still done multiple-choice I think, but some of the others do
have more unity and I noticed that. But also multiple-choice gave you the
opportunity to know more people and if you didn't like the direction the class
was going, you weren't in with what that same group of people all year or
something. It gave you more variety.
75. I would have done Environmental Imagination or Diakonia rather than
76. I definitely would have done multiple-choice. First, because I really didn't
have much of an interest in any of the other classes...maybe there was one
class in one program that I liked, but the other two I didn't have any interest
in taking it at that point. Plus, I knew that I wanted to be a science major
and it was the only option where you could get started on any sort of
science classes, although I want to be a biology major and there weren't
really any of the core biology classes offered. You that was eluded
frustrating, but starting with Chem and calculus was a good start and I
wouldn't have chosen anything else.
77. HOW MANY OF YOU ARE SCIENCE MAJORS OR THINK YOU MIGHT
BE SCIENCE MAJORS?
78. Bachelor of science in computer science. Yeah.
79. OKAY, THREE OF YOU.
80. KNOWING WHAT YOU KNOW NOW ABOUT THE DEMANDS OF
COLLEGE, IS THERE ANYTHING YOU WISH YOUR FYE CLASSES HAD
INCLUDED? SOME OF THE GOALS OF FYE ARE TO HELP TO
TRANSITION TO COLLEGE, TO HELP WITH THE WRITING, TO MAKE
SURE THE ACADEMICS ARE RIGOROUS. IS THERE ANYTHING YOU
WISH HAD BEEN INCLUDED IN YOUR FYE CLASSES?
81. I really like the community service aspect of Diakonia. I really thought that
was character building as well as community building. When they said they
were doing that, I really wanted to be a part of it.
82. As far as transition to college, I can't think of anything that they would have
included in. I guess hasn't seen that different to me, maybe that's just my
perspective. But it hasn't seemed it's been a difficult change or anything like
that, so I don't see what they could have done to improve it.
83. I don't see anything else either.
84. I think I'll have to agree with [student]. It wasn't as a huge change that it
could have been transitioned in any way better.
85. I don't see anything.
86. WHAT WAS THE BEST THING ABOUT YOUR FYE, AND WHAT WAS
THE WORST THING ABOUT IT?
87. I think teachers made all the difference in that. Because I did a multiple-
choice and I did the history FYE and I loved my religion FYE. Because I
think I just really liked the teacher. And she was really enthusiastic. But in
my history one, the history part was really enthusiastic, the MassComm part
was completely lacking, so it was really off-balance in the classes. And so,
when we’d take tests we'd be like, we don't know anything about it. You
know, Mass Comm was like, I don't know. It almost seemed like he almost
didn't prepare for classes and stuff. So it was just kind of like they weren't
on the same level so it was hard to have them combined together, if both
teachers weren't on the same page.
88. SO TEACHERS WERE YOUR BEST AND YOUR WORST THING, AT THE
90. I'd have to agree with that. It was just totally dependent on who the teacher
was, as to how much I enjoyed the class or what I got out of it.
91. It's the same thing. Also the whole freshman thing. I don't know if I really
like that a whole lot, having all freshman in most of my classes.
92. HOW IS A DIFFERENT IN YOUR OTHER CLASSES THAT DO HAVE
93. I kind of liked it because, I don't know, their friends of a lot of people. I don't
know, it's just varied, depending on who was in my class.
94. DID YOU NOTICE ANY DIFFERENCE IN BEHAVIORS OF THE
STUDENTS OR ANYTHING LIKE THAT?
95. I don't think so.
96. [Student], HOW ABOUT YOU?
97. I say the best thing was probably the teachers again. Two them, in
particular. I was in the religion FYE as well. And my chemistry teacher.
Both were extremely enthusiastic and I really enjoyed being in their classes.
I'd have to agree with [student] about being in the all freshman classes. The
fall quarter, when I had two FYE classes, I also had one class that was a
280, so was all juniors and seniors. It kinda fell weird, going from one to the
other. And I couldn't really tell you why, because there isn't anything
distinctive that I could tell between the two. It was just kind of strange being
in… It almost felt secluded, because you live with all freshmen, you take
classes with all freshmen, you do everything with all freshmen. And it just
feels like you’re cut off from everything else. So the upperclassmen would
be talking about all these things that I just wasn’t aware of because, I don’t
know, it’s almost like they move in a different circle sometimes.
98. If I didn’t have sports then…
100. I would have been really disappointed with the FYE thing. Cause I wouldn’t
101. Yeah. The only upperclassmen I knew, really, was from sports.
102. ONE OF THE THINGS YOU SAID, IT’S NOT JUST KNOWING THE
PEOPLE, BUT THEY KNOW ABOUT THINGS, AND BECAUSE YOU
HAVE THOSE OTHER KIDS [upperclassmen], YOU’RE AWARE OF
OTHER THINGS WITH THEM? IS THAT THE DIFFERENCE?
103. I can’t explain it really well. It’s just they’re interactions on campus and, not
activities necessarily, there’s just things about being on campus that they
know that we don’t necessarily. I can’t say something specific, because I
can’t think of anything.
104. BUT WHAT YOU’VE SAID IS VERY GOOD.
105. Another example for that is during Physics, I had a Physics class, and I
didn’t know a lot of the stuff because I’m not very good in Physics. But I got
a friend on the football team who’s majoring in Physics. And if I didn’t know
him – he helped me a lot through the whole class – if I didn’t know him, I
don’t know what…. I’d probably would have gotten help from somebody
else. But he was a good help to me and he’s an upperclassmen. That’s
106. HOW ABOUT YOU? BEST AND WORST?
107. I don’t know that there’s anything I could point out that would be best and
worst really. Everything was in sync. Teachers were in sync with their
108. What I liked most the approach that was given to the course material and
course content. Like at one time we were handing how to do interviews, at
one time how to do reporting. At one time maybe we’d just watch a video.
So it’s not just books and all books, just reading and reporting. And what I
didn’t like was maybe the content itself. You find maybe you’re given a
reading assignment and it’s somehow not relevant to what you’re supposed
to know. And the professor just assigns, you just go read about that! And
then you find you take a lot of time and you get a lot of material that doesn’t
109. OKAY, SO SOME OF THE READING WAS NOT USEFUL?
110. Yeah. Not useful.
111. DID YOU EVER TALK TO YOUR TEACHER ABOUT THAT?
112. I indicated that on the evaluation sheets.
113. ONE OF THE THINGS I WANTED TO ASK YOU WAS HOW HAS
FRESHMAN HOUSING IMPACTED YOUR FIRST YEAR AT PRINCIPIA?
114. In some respects I think the combination of the FYE classes with all
freshmen and also freshman housing makes it feel like the 5th year of high
116. Yeah it does.
117. Yeah, definitely.
118. But next year, will also kind of feel like a freshman year, housing-wise,
because we’re in a totally new environment and we have to get used to
things, so it’s like we’re freshmen all over again. We won’t be, classes-wise,
119. HAVE THERE BEEN ANY PLUSES TO THE FRESHMAN HOUSING FOR
120. During the first year you can feel the bonding of your class, and I think that’s
a great thing, but I also have a feeling that once we all separate and go to
different houses that that might diminish. It will be a “Hi, how are you” type
relationship as we move on, which is expected. But. That’s about the only
121. The first two weeks it seemed nice, just being with freshmen. To meet
freshmen and know them and become friends with them. But it seems like
after that I’ve kind of gone outside the dorm and made friends in other
houses as well. And I’m not on any sports team. It was nice in some
aspects, I guess, because you have more of an opportunity to be on house
board or whatever.
122. AS A FRESHMAN, YOU MEAN, YOU GET TO DO THOSE THINGS?
123. Yeah. I don’t know if it’s more of an opportunity in other houses or not
though. Maybe I’ll have to get back to you on that one.
124. BUT YOU THINK THE POSSIBILITY IS THERE?
126. HOW ABOUT YOU?
127. I think I’m different because I’m not in a freshman house. I’m in Brooks and
I don’t see any feeling that I’m fresh [new] because I get along well with the
rest and there are equal opportunities. Like, this is my second quarter, and
I’m already on the house board. And I make friends.
128. SO YOU FEEL YOU FIT IN WELL, VERY EASILY?
129. Yeah. I fit in so well.
130. HOW ABOUT YOU?
131. I don’t really like the freshman housing. It feels kind of camp-y, kind of 5th
year of high school. Just like, you’re definitely ostracized, especially being
over in Rackham. Like, all the other houses are over on the other side of
campus. That’s tough. I would have liked to have been… because next
year it will feel like that all over again, meeting new people. And it’s such a
small school anyway that it’d be nicer to be acclimated right away.
132. I didn’t mind the freshman housing. I kind of liked it because I’ve made
some great friends in the house. But again, I can also see the 5th year of
high school thing. It’s kind of like they want to keep us isolated and so we
can get used to whatever – and I didn’t like that so much. And mixed with
the FYE program, that was a little too much. But I didn’t really mind the
housing that much. I would have probably rather have been mixed into
other houses, but…
133. DO YOU THINK THERE’S ANY WAY TO OVERCOME THAT ISOLATION,
BEING IN FRESHMAN HOUSING? I MEAN, BEING IN SPORTS, BEING
IN AN ACTIVITY YOU BREAK OUT OF IT A BIT, BUT IS THERE
134. I think with it combined with FYE it’s pretty difficult. Because you have your
classes with all freshmen and you’re living with all freshmen. And you just –
unless you are doing athletics or are just really outgoing – you don’t end up
meeting that many upperclassmen by coincidence. Unless they’re really
outgoing upperclassmen who just come up to freshmen and say hi.
Personally, I really like freshman housing for the first quarter. I liked being –
especially during Pre-fall – being just with the group and we got to know
each other really well and made good friends. For the first quarter, getting
used to things, everybody was kind of doing that together. Maybe some
people to a greater extent than others. But after that, I was just thinking
about it and, I’m at Rackham all the time and I’m in my house all the time.
I’ve been in Howard and Clara. I never been in Lowrey, I’ve briefly been in
Syl, briefly been in Brooks, and briefly been in Buck, and I’ve never been in
Ferg or Joe. And you know, I have friends in all those houses, but they’re
not real close friends for the most part, with the exception of people who I
do sports with. The interaction isn’t there. Especially since we don’t have
classes with them, we never go study over there or don’t make friends with
them that way. It’s like we’re doubly locked in to this little bubble of
freshmen. So. I think one or the other would be more effective than both
135. IF YOU HAD TO PICK ONE OR THE OTHER, WHICH WOULD YOU
JETTISON, WHICH WOULD YOU KEEP?
136. Hm.. I might have to think about that for a second.
137. WHAT ARE THE THOUGHTS ABOUT THAT?
138. Maybe it’s something you do for the first week, two weeks, if you’re going to
keep writing seminar. Everyone gets used to each other there and then
prance off then.
139. I think you should make all houses as nice as the freshman dorm.
142. Yeah. I second that.
143. Yeah. It kind of makes it harder to choose which house to go to.
144. DO YOU ALL HAVE ANY OTHER COMMENTS YOU’D LIKE THE
STEERING COMMITTEE TO HEAR ABOUT FYE OR FRESHMAN
HOUSING OR ANYTHING ABOUT YOUR FRESHMAN YEAR?
I came up with an answer. I think I would rather get rid of FYE than
freshman housing. Because I think if you were in an upperclassman house
and you had an FYE, it would be more weird than if you were in a freshman
house and had classes with upperclassmen. Because you’d be interacting
with upperclassmen, but then you have classes with all freshmen. I don’t
know, maybe it’s just in my head, but it would seem kind of odd, versus if
you just had freshman housing and then had classes like usual. I think that
would be more of an integration into campus.
145. I agree.
146. I agree with that also. I also agree with what you said earlier about first
quarter having freshman housing and then integrating into the houses after
the first quarter. Because I really did appreciate it and got to know a lot of
freshmen because of it. And I know I’ll miss it next year. And that makes it
even harder, you know, because it’s another big transition because you get
so used to your family (of your house) and then you’re not going to see each
147. You’ll be all over the place, cause there’s four or five different houses they
can go to.
149. SO YOU’RE SAYING THE SUCCESS OF IT ALMOST BECOMES A
LIABILITY WHEN YOU HAVE TO SWITCH THE NEXT YEAR?
151. I don’t think they could do it just one quarter though, because they’d have to
move us out into the other houses and then you’d have 550 students in 2
152. It’s not logical, but, in a perfect world, you’re saying.
154. Yeah. [laughter] I’m just saying what would be nice.
155. DOES ANYBODY HAVE ANY OTHER COMMENTS?
[There were no additional comments.]