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First Year Course Academy

The First Year Course Academy (FYCA) provides resources, tools, and information to help UT-Knoxville instructors make a difference for students enrolled in their first-year courses. FYCA is a new initiative to equip instructors of these courses with best practices for teaching and engaging with first-year students in online, hybrid, and hyflex courses. The Office of the Provost, Teaching & Learning Innovation, the Division of Student Success, and the Office of Information Technology have partnered to make these resources and information available to instructors of the 15 highest-enrolled courses with first-year students.

These courses are:

  • Biology 101 & 150
  • Chemistry 120
  • Engineering Fundamentals 151
  • English 101 & 102
  • Geography 131
  • Geology 101
  • Psychology 110
  • Math 119, 123, 125, 141, & 130
  • Sociology 120

All of these courses are also significant for our campus because of the high drop, fail, and withdrawal rate for our students. The FYCA program is also intended to help improve these concerns and equip our instructors with the tools they need to be advocates of student success.

The FYCA Experience

 Our FYCA modules live in Canvas, UTK’s learning management system. The modules in the FYCA Canvas site are organized by topic. As instructors complete the first module, which provides the framework for FYCA, and answer the reflection questions, they will get access to information and resources in modules 2 through 6. Instructors can then complete modules 2 through 6 in any order. Each module also has a Question and Answer discussion board at the end, which members of the FYCA team will monitor for the duration of the program in order to provide answers and additional information to participating instructors.

FYCA Modules & Schedule

 Instructors can access the resources after viewing the contents of and answering the reflection question in the first module. Then, additional modules can be accessed in any order between now and the end of the semester. Modules 7 and 8 will open up for viewing at the beginning of the semester.

  • Module 1: Understanding the FYCA Framework (Introduction)
  • Module 2: Designing a Syllabus and Setting Up Canvas
  • Module 3: Designing Assessments for New Teaching Modalities
  • Module 4: Managing the Classroom
  • Module 5: Engaging Students in the New Teaching Modalities
  • Module 6: Maintaining a Healthy Balance with Workload and Stress Levels as the Semester Begins
  • Optional Module: Managing and Supporting TAs and GTAs

  • Module 7: Maintaining a Healthy Balance with Workload and Stress Levels During the Semester
  • Module 8: Meeting Synchronously for Workshops
    • Session #1: Building a Sense of Belonging in the Classroom
      • Monday, September 7, 2020 from 1:00pm – 2:30pm
      • Thursday, September 10, 2020 from 1:00pm – 2:30pm
      • Zoom Link Available in Canvas Site
    • Session #2: Best Practices for Engaging Students Throughout the Semester
      • Monday, October 5, 2020 from 1:00pm – 2:30pm
      • Thursday, October 8, 2020 from 1:00pm – 2:30pm
      • Zoom Link Available in Canvas Site
    • Session #3: Effective Strategies for Work Life Balance at the End of the Semester
      • Monday, November 2, 2020 from 1:00pm – 2:30pm
      • Thursday, November 5, 2020 from 1:00pm – 2:30pm
      • Zoom Link Available in Canvas Site

Additional Information

As an incentive for instructors of record to complete the FYCA program, a stipend will be provided for completion of each part of the program listed above.

To be eligible for the first stipend, participants must view the contents of modules 1 through 6 and answer the reflection questions at the end of each module by 11:59pm on August 19, 2020.

To be eligible for the second stipend, participants must complete the following by 11:59pm on November 9, 2020.

  1. Participants must view the contents of and post to the discussion for two of the four sections of module 7.
  2. Participants much attend at least one of the three synchronous session throughout the semester.

Participants can choose not to complete the first part, second part, or both, but simply access the resources. Once participants complete the first module, they will then have access to all modules and can access the resources, contribute to discussions, and attend the synchronous sessions without having to complete the program for a stipend.


We are opening registrations for Part 2 of the First Year Course Academy to the campus. Click the links below to access workshop descriptions and registrations.