Freshman Seminar

SFA 101

Fall 2010
Dr. N. L. Markworth
Jessica Casas


Writing Assignment Topics
SFA 101 Home

Office Hours
MWF    2:00 - 4:00 PM

TR       2:00 - 4:00 PM (TEC)

Class Meets: 1100 – 1150 TR

Science 125
Student Instructor: Jessica Casas

Markworth’s Office
Room S-322F

Markworth's Home Page


The freshman seminar is designed to increase student success in college. Topics include time management, college note and test taking, critical thinking skills, career planning, the nature of a university, and ways to become part of the college community. While ultimate responsibility for success in college rests with the student, this course can provide fundamental assistance.

Subjects and Objectives:

At the completion of SFA 101, the student will be informed of the following areas and how they relate to their success.


All students will receive a "Keys to College Success" study sheet and a SFA 101 Handbook at the beginning of the semester. Information in these materials will be used for class discussion, and be the basis of questions on the exam. Make sure you get them, read them, and understand them.


Attendance is mandatory. The percentage of times you are present when role is taken will determine 30% of your final grade. You will lose 3% of your grade each time you have an undocumented excuse. There will be several evening events scheduled (see the SFA 101 web page). These include the Freshman Convocation (Thursday, Sep 2, 2010, 5:00 PM, Johnson Coliseum), one Fine Arts Event, and a tour of the SFA Observatory (our section is scheduled for Nov 4 at 7 PM).  You must attend at least two of the events. At some point in the semester you will also have a time scheduled to meet with the instructor and the TA. With your permission we will have a digital photo of you taken to put up on the class webpage.

A documented excuse is one that is verifiable concerning some medical, family, or personal emergency. You will be required to submit the documentation. Oversleeping, leaving town for weddings, concerts, etc. are not considered acceptable excuses.

Electronic Participation:

A requirement of enrollment at SFASU is that each student must activate the email account assigned to you. Your email account is automatically activated, but if you have difficulty, please consult this link. We will be using the facilities of Blackboard, accessed through mySFA, for discussions, chats, and more. Each week, beginning the week of September 6th, I will post a question to Blackboard. You may answer that question, or respond (appropriately) to someone else's response. You may also bring up a new point regarding a previous week's question.

Each month, beginning in September, you must contribute AT LEAST two times, so that by the end of the semester, you have a least five "meaningful" contributions to the online discussion. By "meaningful", I mean a response that reveals your thoughts or ideas, and an explanation for your statement. In other words, if you state an opinion, also include why you hold that opinion. The discussion topics will each reflect something related to class discussion, so this will be a means to think more deeply about them and further share ideas. "Bashing" a classmate's ideas or responses will not be accepted. Your discussion participation will comprise 20% of your course grade. You will only receive half credit for contributions that are not within the monthly deadline.


There will be one exam during the semester. It will be on October 21st, and it will include multiple choice and short answer questions and one essay question. The exam will be based on material in the readings and classes. The exam will not be particularly difficult, if you have done the readings and attended class. In addition to testing you on the material, this exam will give us a chance to see how you do on different types of questions and to make suggestions to you for when you take exams in other classes. Your grade on this exam will determine 20% of your final grade. There will be no final exam.

Writing Assignments:

Five times during the semester, you will turn in 1.5-2 page papers (~400 words each). Jessica and I will be the only ones to read these papers. There will be a list of paper topics available below on the class webpage. You may choose any five for your papers. The due dates for the papers are indicated on the schedule below, and on those dates the paper is due at the beginning of class.

All papers must be turned in typed (there are several computer labs across campus that you may use at no charge). You may submit these as email attachments, using a word processor, if you choose. Proper sentence structure and spelling are required. Superficial papers will not receive full credit. Otherwise, as long as your paper is a reasonable attempt to follow the directions, it will be considered correct. Your grades on these five papers will determine 30% of your final grade (6% each paper). Late papers will be penalized (-0.5% for later that day, -1% for each subsequent day).

Summary:    Attendance     30%
                     Discussion     20%
                     Exam              20%
                     Papers            30%


SFA 101 is a graded course.  Passing this course will give you one semester credit that can be used toward the total number of credits you need to graduate. 

The grading system is as follows:
90 - 100% A   80 - 89% B   70 - 79% C   60 - 69% D   < 60% F



Following these few rules will help to maximize the SFA 101 experience for you and your classmates:

  • Attend every class.
  • Read the assigned material, and turn in all required work on the day it is due.  (This is because your other professors will likely not be flexible.)
  • Participate in individual and group activities and discussions.
  • Treat everyone in the class with respect and courtesy.
  • All students are expected demonstrate professional behavior and use language appropriate for the classroom learning experience.
  • PDAs, cell phones, and other electronic devices should be turned off and put away during class time.
  • Ask questions!


Any college course complaints or problems should first be discussed with the course instructor for the particular course. Difficulties can usually be resolved there. If the complaint cannot be resolved, the next person to see is the appropriate department chairperson.  For SFA 101, the chairperson is Dr. Tim Clipson (McGee Business Building, 229N; 468-2188).

Academic Integrity

Academic integrity is a responsibility of all university faculty and students. Faculty members promote academic integrity in multiple ways including instruction on the components of academic honesty, as well as abiding by university policy on penalties for cheating and plagiarism.


Definition of Academic Dishonesty

Academic dishonesty includes both cheating and plagiarism. Cheating includes but is not limited to (1) using or attempting to use unauthorized materials to aid in achieving a better grade on a component of a class; (2) the falsification or invention of any information, including citations, on an assigned exercise; and/or (3) helping or attempting to help another in an act of cheating or plagiarism. Plagiarism is presenting the words or ideas of another person as if they were your own. Examples of plagiarism are (1) submitting an assignment as if it were one's own work when, in fact, it is at least partly the work of another; (2) submitting a work that has been purchased or otherwise obtained from an Internet source or another source; and (3) incorporating the words or ideas of an author into one's paper without giving the author due credit.

Please read the complete policy at

Withheld Grades

Ordinarily, at the discretion of the instructor of record and with the approval of the academic chair/director, a grade of WH will be assigned only if the student cannot complete the course work because of unavoidable circumstances. Students must complete the work within one calendar year from the end of the semester in which they receive a WH, or the grade automatically becomes an F. If students register for the same course in future terms the WH will automatically become an F and will be counted as a repeated course for the purpose of computing the grade point average.

Students with Disabilities

To obtain disability related accommodations, alternate formats and/or auxiliary aids, students with disabilities must contact the Office of Disability Services (ODS), Human Services Building, and Room 325, 468-3004 / 468-1004 (TDD) as early as possible in the semester.  Once verified, ODS will notify the course instructor and outline the accommodation and/or auxiliary aids to be provided.  Failure to request services in a timely manner may delay your accommodations. For additional information, go to


F-1 Visa Holders

There are important federal regulations pertaining to distance education activity for F-1 Visa holders. All students with an F-1 Visa should follow the instructions at the following link to make sure they are in compliance.






1    Intro to course & each other

      Tips to Freshmen (Keys)

3    AARC Study Strategies  (*)

      M.E. McWilliams, InfoLab 1

      Convocation 4:15 PM

8    Use of Blackboard

      Campus Tour: Major Student

      Assistance Centers (p. 51)

10   Learning Styles  (p. 81-82)
       Exam Strategies (p. 79-81)


15   Tour of Library

       InfoLab2  (Paper Due)

17  Time Management (Keys)
      The History of SFA (*)


22  Goal Setting (Keys) Using a

      calendar and ODK

24  Resume and portfolio



29  Careers in Engineering


1   Cultural Diversity

and Campus


6    Critical Thinking (p. 83-86)
      (Paper Due)

8    Steve Newton (Habitat) and

Terri Moehring (Love, Inc.) (*)

13   University Rules and
       Procedures (p. 33-37)

15   Tour the GIS/HUES Lab (*)


20 Exam in Class (Paper Due)

22  TypeFocus (*)


27  Stress management

      Know Yourself: personality




Steve Bartlett, BarWin
    Consultants (*)

5    Results of Interests and Skills

      Survey Rusk 333 (*)


10  Academic Advising

      Debbie Kiesel  S234


      (Paper Due)

12   ROTC recruiter (*)
      LTC McKinney

17   Making Progress

19  Dealing w/your family now

      that you're at school

      (Paper Due)


24  No Class

26     Thanksgiving Holiday


1   No Class

3 No Class