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Army offers recruits guaranteed first assignments at select bases

U.S. Army recruiting students talk with potential recruits during an exercise in Chicago, July 17, 2019. The Army is now offering recruits a guaranteed first assignment at select posts.

U.S. Army recruiting students talk with potential recruits during an exercise in Chicago, July 17, 2019. The Army is now offering recruits a guaranteed first assignment at select posts. (April Michelle deGuzman-Watson/U.S. Army)

Potential U.S. Army enlistees will find a new deal on the table at recruiting offices nationwide.

New active-duty recruits now have the option of selecting their first duty assignment following basic training, U.S. Army Recruiting Command announced in a statement Friday.

The duty station of choice enlisted program is available at select bases in eight states and features 5,600 vacancies in 17 different career fields including infantry, cavalry, aviation and information technology. The program allows new soldiers to choose a station depending on personal preference, job compatibility and needs of the Army.

“The Army understands that having the option to stay closer to home and loved ones is a big deal, and it’s taking steps to make the decision easier on applicants,” said Brig. Gen. John Cushing, the deputy commanding general for operations at U.S. Army Recruiting Command, in the statement.

Recruits recite the oath of enlistment at Fort Hunter Liggett, Calif., on May 15, 2021. The Army is now offering up to $50,000 and guaranteed first assignment selection to qualifying recruits.

Recruits recite the oath of enlistment at Fort Hunter Liggett, Calif., on May 15, 2021. The Army is now offering up to $50,000 and guaranteed first assignment selection to qualifying recruits. (Cynthia McIntyre/U.S. Army)

Available bases include Fort Carson, Colo.; Joint Base Lewis-McCord, Wash.; Fort Bliss and Fort Hood, Texas; Fort Polk, La.; Fort Riley, Kan.; Fort Stewart, Ga.; Fort Drum, N.Y.; and installations in Alaska. The list is subject to change based on the needs of the Army and the program does not apply to overseas locations, a spokesman for Army Recruiting told Stars and Stripes.

The offer comes a month after the Army announced shorter two-year enlistment terms for 84 different career fields and larger cash sign-up bonuses in January. Depending on the military specialties they select, qualified people can receive up to a combined total of $50,000 in bonuses when they sign up for a six-year enlistment.

The bonuses target career fields with large personnel needs, like the infantry, and fields with high attrition, such as Special Forces and Ranger school, which beckon recruits with up to $20,000.

Army Staff Sgt. Jesse Cerda hands out merchandise in Towson, Md., on Oct. 30, 2021. Army recruiters now have additional offers for potential recruits, including increased incentive cash bonuses and assignment selection.

Army Staff Sgt. Jesse Cerda hands out merchandise in Towson, Md., on Oct. 30, 2021. Army recruiters now have additional offers for potential recruits, including increased incentive cash bonuses and assignment selection. (Chazz Kibler/U.S. Army)

Other hard-to-fill jobs include radar repairers, truck drivers and missile defense crew members, the Army said.

Active-duty recruiters finished 2021 with 106 more recruits than their goal of 57,500 new members, while the Army Reserve did not meet its goal for the fiscal year ending in September, according to the Army Recruiting Command.  

Incentives are intended to keep pace with the private sector, Maj. Gen. Kevin Vereen, who leads the U.S. Army Recruiting Command, said in the Army statement.

“We want to promote the value in serving your country, but at the same time, we’re not oblivious to the compensation piece,” Vereen said.

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Your first assignment

Your First Assignment

The sea is your office.

As a Deck Watch Officer, your assignment will be to learn how to safely navigate (or “conn”) the ship. You won’t steer the vessel yourself; rather, you will direct the actions of your crew.

As an Engineer in Training, you will learn how to maintain and operate shipboard engineering systems.

You will lead the men and women of the Coast Guard in conducting exciting missions, be responsible for the safety of the ship and crew and make port calls to foreign and domestic ports.

A Sea of Opportunity

The role of officers is to lead others and manage resources. Leadership responsibility comes fast in America’s smallest military service. Some graduates of the Coast Guard Academy have their first command as soon as two years after receiving their commission.

Imagine yourself as a Lieutenant Junior Grade two years after graduation, commanding a Marine Protector Patrol Boat in the Straits of Florida. You and your crew are ready for the call to rescue those in distress or stop smugglers in the dark of night, responding immediately to a call that can come at any time.

Imagine you are the pilot of your MH-65C helicopter in the Caribbean Sea. In the dark of night, your ship is over the horizon directing you to a go-fast headed to the U.S. coastline at 50 mph with a load of cocaine. Your crew readies the M240 machine gun and the fast rope as you prepare to stop the boat using non-lethal means.

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Doing Your First University Assignment: 5 Things to Remember

their first assignments

Between moving away from home, meeting your new best friends and getting far too drunk at Freshers’, it can be easy to forget that you’re at university for three years of hard studying. Your first university assignment can be daunting, so take a look at our 5 tips to get you started:

1. Learn how to reference

Referencing will be completely new to almost all students, but it is an essential part of most courses. The majority of tutors will introduce referencing early, as the longer you leave it the harder your second and third years will be. There are different referencing systems, so make sure you know which is preferred by your tutor/university. You can buy referencing guides, loan them from the library, or use online guides. Referencing can be tricky at first, so make sure you ask your tutor or fellow students and get all the help you can.

2. Learn how to use academic journals

Forget Sparknotes and Wikipedia, attaining good grades at university will depend on you using peer-reviewed journals, as well as tonnes of books. Journals are available in libraries, usually as both hard and digital copies, and in digital libraries such as Jstor. Make sure you get to grips with how to use digital catalogues, and receive advice from your tutors on the journals most relevant to your subject.

3. Try to attend everything!

This is perhaps the hardest task, particularly after two weeks of Freshers’. Despite most students living just minutes away from their classes, hangovers/laziness/Netflix are serious threats to your attendance. However, you won’t get the grades you want if you don’t put the effort in. So set an alarm, brew some coffee and get to class. Tutors are generally very supportive, so if you know in advance that you’re going to miss a lecture or seminar drop them an email and they will help you catch up. Also, check if any of your lectures are recorded, as this can be a great resource to use when writing your assignment.

4. Use it as a marker

For the majority of courses and universities, students only have to pass the first year as it does not count towards the degree. However, this is not a free pass! Many students who put minimal effort into their first year realise that they actually have no idea what level they are at once it gets to crunch time. To avoid this, try you best with your first assignments, and if you can, use it to challenge yourself. That way, you can go into your second and third years knowing your strengths and weaknesses and how much you need to improve.

5. Get involved in seminars

People can avoid contributing to discussions in seminars and lectures for different reasons, from shyness to not having completed the reading. University classes are much more relaxed than at school, so it’s important you make sure you get involved. Discussing your ideas with your classmates and tutors is a great way to develop your knowledge and add insights to the assignment you’re writing. It’s also a nice break away from books and will help you get to know people on your course, so get stuck in!

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First Duty and Future Assignments in the Military

There are circumstances where military members can request assignment

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Future Assignments

Follow-on assignment, hardship assignments, joint spouse assignments, permissive reassignments, base of preference, travel entitlements, privately owned vehicle shipment.

Rod Powers was a retired Air Force First Sergeant with 22 years of active duty service.

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First duty station selection is made (in either basic training or technical school/AIT/A-School), based ​upon your preferences, and the needs of the service. While the services will consider your preferences, the overriding deciding factor is where the military needs you the most.

Some Navy jobs  allow your assignment to be based on your class-standing in "A-School." And of course, it goes without saying that assignments are based on valid vacancies. If you have the job of tank-fixer, you're only going to be assigned to bases that have tanks to fix.

After the first duty assignment, subsequent assignments are done a little differently. In most cases, you'll have a little more say in future assignments, than you have for the first duty assignment . There are a few restrictions, however.

First-term (those in their first enlistment ) enlisted members assigned to a continental (CONUS) U.S. location must have 12 months time-on-station before being eligible to move to an overseas location and must have 24 months time-on-station before being allowed to move to another continental U.S. location.

Career (those who have re-enlisted at least once) enlisted members assigned to the continental U.S. must have 24 months time-on-station to move to an overseas location and must have 36 months time-on-station in order to move to another continental U.S. location.

The length of time one spends on an overseas tour depends on the location. For example, most of Europe and Japan are considered standard overseas tours. The length of the assignment is 24 months for single people, or those with dependents who elect not to bring their dependents, and 36 months for those who bring their dependents.

Another type of overseas assignment, like most assignments to Korea, is considered remote. On a remote tour one cannot bring their family at government expense, and the tour-length is 12 months. On the other hand, those returning from a remote tour usually get assignment preference over those returning from a standard tour.

For standard overseas tours, one can generally increase his or her chances of being selected by volunteering for the extended tour length. This is the standard tour, plus 12 months.

Of course, one can be involuntarily assigned overseas as well. In general, this is done based on the military member's last overseas return date. 

A follow-on assignment is an assignment after a remote tour. Those with orders for a remote tour can apply for their next assignment before they even depart to the remote tour.

When is assigned to a 12-month remote tour, military members can move their dependents anywhere they want to live in the United States, at government expense, while the member is away. The government must then pay again to relocate the dependents from where they are living to the new assignment when the member returns from the remote tour. Single people, even though they don't have dependents can use the follow-on program, as well.

It's important not to confuse assignments with deployments , which are of course based on many factors such as geopolitical situations and the need for U.S. military troops around the world. 

Each of the services also has procedures for hardship assignments. This allows a military member to apply for reassignment to a specific area/base, due to a valid family hardship. The military's definition of hardship is when there are extreme family problems such as illness, death, or extremely unusual circumstances that are temporary in nature and the specific circumstances necessitate the military member's presence.

If the problem is not one that can be resolved within one year, a  hardship discharge  will be considered, rather than a hardship assignment.

When one military member is married to another military member, both must apply to be assigned together. This is called a joint spouse assignment. The military will try to assign spouses together, but there are no guarantees. The success rate for joint spouse assignments is about 85 percent.

Joint spouse assignments are obviously much easier to accommodate if both spouses are in the same branch of the military. 

A permissive reassignment is one that doesn't cost the government any money. Most permissive reassignments are in the form of swaps, which is when one military member finds another with the same rank and job, currently assigned (or with orders) to a base they want to go to.

Both members who agree to swap must pay for their own move. This includes shipment of personal property. Usually, military personnel offices maintain lists of military people worldwide who are looking to swap. In order to be eligible for a swap, one must have the required time-on-station mentioned above. In other words, a first-termer must have 24 months time-on-station to swap with someone at another continental U.S. location.

Before a military member re-enlists, he can apply to move to a base of his choice. The military, of course, wants this person to re-enlist, so they try to accommodate such base of preference requests. If approved, the member must then re-enlist to accept the assignment. 

When you graduate technical school, the military will pay the authorized costs for you to go to your next duty assignment or, to the port of your military flight for overseas assignments. 

The military does not pay you for travel on leave. They pay you for direct travel from your old duty assignment to your next duty assignment. If you travel home on leave, any additional cost is out of your pocket.

If you own a vehicle and get an overseas assignment, the military will either ship the vehicle for you or store it while you are away. 

Some locations don't allow the shipping of a personal vehicle and others restrict this privilege to certain ranks. In these cases, the military will store the vehicle for you for free while you are assigned overseas.

The military will pay to move your personal property from your home location to your first permanent duty station, or, you can rent a truck, move it yourself. In such cases, the military will reimburse you a portion of what it would have paid a contractor to move the vehicle.

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Why is your first assignment so important?

Find out what teachers say about their students' first assignments in this short video.

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NStar Articles

Life after the naval academy: what happens next.

Jun 15, 2022 10:30:00 AM

their first assignments

After four long years of hustle, heart and hard work, the women and men who entered the Naval Academy as plebes graduate as commissioned junior officers. The change is astonishing — anyone comparing the “before” on I-Day to the “after” on graduation day can see a complete transformation. Gone are the rhythms of civilian life. Instead, young naval leaders take command with confidence and pride. 

Yet in many ways their journeys are just beginning anew. This next chapter brings opportunities to hone and refine their naval leadership skills through real-world hands-on experience, along with chances for travel and excitement. They’ll carry the full responsibility of leading enlisted sailors and Marines using the most state-of-the-art military equipment. They’ll lead SEAL teams, Marine units, squadrons and more.

Early during their senior year, first class (senior) midshipmen state their preferences, which are considered in conjunction with Navy and Marine Corps needs, as well as the midshipmen’s performance at the Naval Academy and their personal and physical state. Most take their first steps right on graduation day, as they are officially commissioned either as a second lieutenant in the Marine Corps or an ensign in the Navy, into the unrestricted line of either branch. Some take the reins of a restricted line or staff corps specialty like Civil Engineer Corps, Medical Service Corps, Supply Corps or Information Dominance Corps.

What Will They Be? What Happens After Graduating From the Naval Academy?

At the Naval Academy, we’re fortunate to have the broadest number of service assignments offered by any of the nation’s service academies. New officers, women and men, may be part of the following groups :

Surface Warfare Officer

Surface warfare officers (SWO) serve in every type of surface ship in the Navy, ranging from guided missile destroyers to amphibious ships in expeditionary strike groups. SWOs can pick the type of ship and home port for their first duty assignment and will report to the ship after graduation. The first tour of duty lasts about 24 months, and new ensigns are usually division officers—they serve as anti-submarine warfare officers, gunnery officers, communications officers and damage control assistants. They lead 12-50 enlisted personnel and are also responsible for overseeing some of the ship’s equipment and operations. SWOs work to become combat information center watch officers and officers of the deck, eventually earning the right to wear the Navy Surface Warfare Officer insignia.

Nuclear Power: Surface

The Navy is well-known for its nuclear power training program, and the positions here are very selective; midshipmen must have a solid education in scientific and technical courses and rank high in their class. Those chosen for surface warfare can join those choosing submarines in pursuing a sub-specialty in nuclear propulsion systems. Graduates accepted into the nuclear power program must report to Nuclear Power School in Charleston, South Carolina for six months of training after their first division officer tour. Then they train for an additional six months at one of two nuclear reactor prototype sites before reporting to their second ship. SWOs will usually serve on aircraft carriers (which are nuclear powered) and conventionally powered ships as they pursue their naval careers. 

Submarine Warfare

All Navy’s submarines are nuclear powered. Junior officers will study Navy nuclear propulsion at Nuclear Power School in Charleston, South Carolina for six months and then complete six months of training at one of two nuclear reactor prototype sites in Charleston and Ballston Spa, New York. Next, they’ll take a 10-week submarine officers basic course at Navy Submarine School in New London, Connecticut. Their first tour of duty with an attack, ballistic missile or guided missile submarine lasts about 36 months.

Here, junior officers lead divisions of 10-20 sailors and oversee critical operations areas like engineering, weapons or communications. They stand watches and work to qualify as engineering officer of the watch, diving officer of the watch and officer of the deck, as they strive to earn the gold dolphins and Navy submarine officer title.

Naval Aviation

Junior officers train as either a pilot or a naval flight officer (NFO). Pilots will fly aircraft and naval flight officers serve in the cockpit as weapons systems officers, electronic countermeasures officers and tactical coordinators. After graduation, junior officers report to Pensacola, Florida for Aviation Preflight Indoctrination. Then they can stay in Pensacola or move to Corpus Christi, Texas for basic flight training. Based on their assigned aircraft, pilots can finish their advanced training at several bases across the Gulf Coast. NFOs perform all of their flight training in Pensacola or at Randolph Air Force Base in Texas. Aviators then receive their ‘wings of gold.” For pilots, this happens after 18-24 months, and for NFOs, after 12-18 months. Then, after six to nine months of aircraft and mission-specific training in a fleet replacement squadron, they are assigned to their first squadron. 

Not only do naval aviators fly a variety of aircraft, from helicopters and shore-based patrol planes to supersonic, jet fighters aboard aircraft carriers, but they also have important leadership and management responsibilities that start with their first duty assignment leading a group of aviation enlisted personnel and overseeing their squadron’s operations, administration, personnel management and aircraft maintenance.

Marine Corps

Almost 30% of each graduating class will become second lieutenants in the Marine Corps. They will head to the Basic School, a 26-week course for officers in Quantico, Virginia, where they will engage in the tactical study of land warfare. Then they’ll progress to advanced training in an occupational specialty. These include two basic categories of ground and air. Ground career choices are infantry, armor, artillery, logistics, engineering, communications-information systems, financial management and military police. Aviation choices are pilot, naval flight officer, air command and control, anti-air warfare, aviation maintenance and aviation supply.

Second lieutenants will be assigned as platoon commanders with leadership responsibilities for 35-43 enlisted Marines in their first assignments. They usually have a role in a Marine air/ground task force, with Marine light infantry able to oppose much more heavily equipped forces. By combining air and ground officers in these task forces and individual units, officers gain the experience to command combined units. Marine officers will work worldwide.

Naval Special Warfare (NSW)

Some graduates become part of one of the world's elite fighting forces, the Naval Special Warfare Development Group, a branch of the U.S. Special Operations Forces we know as the Navy SEALs. They are the maritime component of United States Special Operations Command, with eight SEAL teams, one SEAL Delivery Vehicle (SDV) team, three special boat teams and supporting commands that deploy forces worldwide. 

Restricted Line and Staff Corps Specialties

Those not physically qualified to serve in the unrestricted line but who can still be commissioned as active duty officers can pursue careers in intelligence, information warfare, information professional, oceanography, medicine, civil engineering, supply and aviation maintenance. They’ll serve aboard ships, with aircraft squadrons and at shore bases around the world. Graduates accepted to medical school may be commissioned in the Medical Corps even if physically qualified to serve in the unrestricted line.

The Navy and Marine Corps provide a wealth of opportunities for all graduating midshipmen. Whether these junior officers forge their naval career in the Navy or the Marine Corps, they will assuredly bring to their role the same hustle, heart and hard work that they’ve shown in their four years here. We’ve supported them every step of the way through their journey as midshipmen, and we wish them fair winds and following seas. When you visit the Yard, dine in our restaurants, shop at Navyonline and in our stores, you’re helping them too. Every bit goes back to the Brigade, so visit soon and support them in their journey onward .

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First Assignments from West Point

  • Thread starter NavyUMO
  • Start date Jan 19, 2023
  • Jan 19, 2023

Is there a data source to see what specialty the graduating last classes have picked for their first assignments coming out of USMA?  

GardenStateOfMind

  • Jan 20, 2023
NavyUMO said: Is there a data source to see what specialty the graduating last classes have picked for their first assignments coming out of USMA? Click to expand...

If by "specialty" and "first assignments," you are referring to "branching," then the best source seems to be the website belonging to West Point Association of Old Grads. The class of 2023 information is not listed yet. But, information for several prior classes is posted.  

prospective2019

prospective2019

dddad said: If by "specialty" and "first assignments," you are referring to "branching," then the best source seems to be the website belonging to West Point Association of Old Grads. The class of 2023 information is not listed yet. But, information for several prior classes is posted. Click to expand...
  • Jan 21, 2023

LOTS of cadets were force-branched this year. Many females force branched into Infantry despite ranking it last. We always knew “the needs of the Army” would override personal preference. We just wish higher would can the fakey fake “rank your most preferred branch” exercises, delete the “People Always” PR.  

Impulsive

  • Jan 22, 2023
ZutAlors! said: LOTS of cadets were force-branched this year. Many females force branched into Infantry despite ranking it last. We always knew “the needs of the Army” would override personal preference. We just wish higher would can the fakey fake “rank your most preferred branch” exercises, delete the “People Always” PR. Click to expand...

Walman888

Impulsive said: I would like to see the source of your data? The "New" branching model allows for much more Branch input. I would like to see the numbers re: bradso vs no bradso and the Branches involved? Hard to believe in this generation that so many females were "Forced Branched". can you give us the official numbers? Click to expand...

VasilyZaytsev

Curious, forced branch into combat arms? if that's true, that doesn't bode well for infantry morale. Ugh. I wonder if USMA will refocus its admissions if they are not getting enough CA candidates??  

Casey

USMA has a congressional requirement that at least 70% of the class branches combat arms. Getting force branched into combat arms is not new as a result. FA in particular comes to mind as a branch that gets folks that way regularly. This would be the first that I’ve heard infantry taking female cadets force branched though so that’ll be interesting to see how plays out but also not surprised it eventually happened. Hope those ladies get their minds right and kick butt. We don’t always get to choose how we serve  

Casey said: USMA has a congressional requirement that at least 70% of the class branches combat arms. Getting force branched into combat arms is not new as a result. FA in particular comes to mind as a branch that gets folks that way regularly. This would be the first that I’ve heard infantry taking female cadets force branched though so that’ll be interesting to see how plays out but also not surprised it eventually happened. Hope those ladies get their minds right and kick butt. We don’t always get to choose how we serve Click to expand...

Thanks to all for your info. Sorry about Service selection (USNA verbiage) versus "Branch selection". So if I can summarize to best understand the comments posted... The upcoming grads put in a "wishlist" of branches they desire to serve which is then bounced against the needs of the Army and then assignments are made with at least 70% going into the combat arms by congressional mandate. Is my summary correct?  

VelveteenR

Just gathering dust in the nursery...

NavyUMO said: Is my summary correct? Click to expand...
VasilyZaytsev said: Curious, forced branch into combat arms? if that's true, that doesn't bode well for infantry morale. Ugh. I wonder if USMA will refocus its admissions if they are not getting enough CA candidates ?? Click to expand...
cb7893 said: CA candidates? Click to expand...

Question to those who attended or are attending WP. Why do you think interest is dropping in CA, with the exception of possible exception of Cyber? I have thoughts based on the experience of my AROTC O-3 DS, those who commissioned with him in 2015 and those he now serves with. Mostly they have to do with the reordering of US national security priorities, the Army's institutional inertia and an almost universal political reluctance to commit US troops to a foreign battlefield..  

I don’t know if it’s an overall drop of interest in combined arms within the current population. There’s no definition of what forced branching really means and it could mean something different to different people. Does it mean the cadet received anything but their top pick or something that wasn’t anywhere in the top three or five of their list? If a cadet received something that wasn’t their top pick but still in the upper choices, it’s not what they wanted but they still had some preference to put it up there. To me, getting force branched is having to go something that was at the bottom of your list. I’d be interested to see the stats of those getting something outside their top 3 before I would jump to the conclusion that there isn’t as strong of a desire to go combined arms at the Academy. This particular institution generally does a great job of brain washing cadets (in a good way) by immersing them into an environment saturated with combined arms officers and training. But to get at what you’re hinting at, yea I think I would agree that more people are interested than previously in branches that will transfer soft skills applicable to the outside. It ties into the broader recruitment struggles. Without a tangible mission to point to after graduation, it’s hard to expect people to want to do this lifestyle. The 10 year ADSO tied to Aviation (also considered a combat arms branch for whatever reason - we should not be) doesn’t help either. I know they were basically begging cadets to go Aviation this past cycle…  

Impulsive said: Hard to believe in this generation that so many females were "Forced Branched". can you give us the official numbers? Click to expand...
cb7893 said: Question to those who attended or are attending WP. Why do you think interest is dropping in CA, with the exception of possible exception of Cyber? Click to expand...
Casey said: This would be the first that I’ve heard infantry taking female cadets force branched though so that’ll be interesting to see how plays out but also not surprised it eventually happened. Click to expand...
Casey said: The 10 year ADSO tied to Aviation (also considered a combat arms branch for whatever reason - we should not be) doesn’t help either. I know they were basically begging cadets to go Aviation this past cycle… Click to expand...

Aglahad

SENIOR O-3...

  • Jan 23, 2023
VasilyZaytsev said: Curious, forced branch into combat arms? if that's true, that doesn't bode well for infantry morale. Ugh. I wonder if USMA will refocus its admissions if they are not getting enough CA candidates?? Click to expand...

Interesting to see the difference in being forced branched with ROTC vs USMA. Traditionally in ROTC you are either forced NG/USAR (honestly not a bad thing IMO) or pushed to a branch like CM, TC, OD, QM, etc. LG, however, is SUPER popular in the Army world right now with a TON of opportunities at O3. CY is obviously up there as well. Combat arms has always been competitive at the ROTC level, even in a garrison Army.  

Aglahad said: CA generally with be viewed as the Civil Affairs (CA) branch, just an FYI Click to expand...

9 Common Types of Assignments in Online Courses

Discussion boards, wikis and research papers are common examples of online coursework.

9 Types of Assignments in Online Courses

their first assignments

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In some instances, online students watch recorded lectures and respond at their own pace.

Students considering taking their first online course may worry about the types of assignments they will encounter.

In particular, those who are accustomed to face-to-face education may not know what coursework to expect before they start. Below is a list of nine common types of virtual assignments instructors generally assign in online classes.

1. Read or watch, then respond: This type of assignment closely mirrors the face-to-face lecture. Instructors provide video lectures, articles or book chapters and assign students a set of questions. Students can read or watch the material at their own pace, so long as they meet the deadline for their responses.

2. Research papers: Formal research papers remain a popular assignment in online classes . Writing about research is a required skill for many graduate degrees , and publishing original research is a measure of expertise in many disciplines.

There is little difference in completing research papers for online versus on-ground classes. However, online learners should ensure they have remote access to a university's library resources to succeed.

3. Exams: The often-dreaded tests and quizzes are also common in online courses. But the rules and testing environments can differ depending on the institution. Some will use proctoring services that monitor students through webcams and identity verification questions.

4. Discussion boards: Usually intended as a supplement to the weekly coursework, the discussion forum is intended to replace the in-class discussion or seminar. In the virtual classroom, students respond to a prompt and each other. Some discussions require students to submit responses before being able to see what classmates wrote.

5. Blogs: These keep a running public dialogue of students' thoughts and ideas about a topic. Students can add new insights to the blog throughout the course, and sometimes other students can comment. Blogs are particularly useful for online classes that require students to reflect upon life or clinical experiences and internships.

6. Journals: The journal assignment is usually a private way for online students to communicate with the instructor . Sometimes, journal topics are prescribed and formal, but usually these assignments allow students to express ideas, opinions, concerns and questions about course material.

7. Wikis: These are especially useful for group work . Students can comment on and edit a shared document to develop task lists, write research questions, document experiences or start discussions.

8. Case-based assignments: These are more popular in certain fields than others. Generally, an assigned reading or video vividly depicts a real-world example of the issues or concepts the class is learning about, describing all of the salient details and information. Well-constructed cases force students to analyze problems and research, test and present potential solutions.

9. Self-paced adaptive assignments: Adaptive learning is growing in popularity, especially in subjects such as math and science.

Learn how to

Usually, students watch short lectures, then answer a set of questions. Based on how they perform, new lectures follow and focus on areas the student needs help with. These types of courses generally don't have a class or cohort structure as each student moves at a personalized pace. There may not be one instructor for the course, but a team of facilitators is generally available in real time.

The takeaway: While these types of virtual assignments don't represent the total list of possibilities, they are among the most common. Instructors will choose which online coursework best fits the material and learning objectives. Each online class may be slightly different.

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Making the decision to pursue an online program can be intimidating for students. Online Learning Lessons offers tips and advice from online students and educators on everything from finding a program and paying for it to what happens after enrolling. Got a question? Email [email protected] .

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Guidelines for First Assignments

Why the first paper matters.

The first paper you assign in a First-Year Writing Seminar provides a unique opportunity to capture student attention and interest; to set a tone for the class; and to help students experiment with the writing and thinking practices you hope will characterize student work throughout the semester (and beyond). The first paper can provide insights into what your students can and cannot do as writers; these insights may help you adjust your learning goals, lesson plans, and assignments. Finally, the first paper serves the larger diagnostic needs of the FWS program as we work to identify students who may need help securing tutoring or mentoring support or finding a FWS that is a more comfortable fit. The  FWS Instructor Referral  process described in  The Indispensable Reference for Teachers of First-Year Writing Seminars  works best when FWS instructors participate actively during the first 10 days of the semester.

Since writing should be the focus of every FWS, this first paper should begin when the semester begins. Preparation for this first paper can begin with in-class activities as early as the first class meeting. An integrated sequence of classwork and homework can move students through a quick cycle of drafting—and possibly revision—within the first few classes. A full-length draft should be complete no later than the end of the second week of classes—even if a further round of revisions is planned.

Logistics of a first paper

First Papers should be…

  • Assigned during the first week of classes;
  • Read and assessed quickly, no later than the fourth class meeting;
  • Low-stakes;
  • Challenging, pushing students to practice analytical thinking and writing;
  • Engaged with texts and/or concepts characteristic of your course;
  • Between one and three pages long;
  • Small in scope;
  • Intellectually engaging and also fun.

Functions of a first paper

A first paper assignment can do the following:

  • Introduce students to the intellectual work of the course.
  • Give students a sense of course expectations.
  • Provide insights into how students will manage the substance of your course.
  • Provide students with opportunities to experiment with writing practices you hope students will use in your course (and beyond). These might include textual analysis, revision, peer review, and scaffolding.
  • Capture student attention in the period before exams and other high-stakes assessments begin to dominate academic life.
  • Help you get to know your students. 
  • Help your students get to know you. 
  • Identify students who might benefit from additional support. If they struggle with the first assignment they might struggle with other aspects of the course.

Examples of Useful First Assignments 

There are many options for what a successful first paper assignment might ask students to write. Below are a few ideas that are both small in scope and challenging. If you come up with an alternative option, please share it with us, so we can highlight it in our training materials. 

  • Pull a particularly interesting longer quote on your course topic, perhaps from a reading you will assign. Ask writers to first explain what the quote means and then apply it to their own experiences with the subject. 
  • Pick two quotes that represent competing views that relate to your course theme. Ask writers to explain each perspective and evaluate the perspectives, being sure to provide evidence from their own experiences in their analysis. 
  • Pick a photograph, a piece of art, or some other artifact that relates to your course theme. Pose a question that encourages students to analyze the image in relation to some of the key questions you hope to explore in the class. Encourage students to use the image as evidence in their answers. 
  • Ask students to complete a short reading that relates to your course theme. Ask them to first explain what they think the reading means. Then you could: 1. Ask a specific question they should use the reading to help answer; 2. Use the reading the analyze their own experiences with the issue; or, 3. Pose questions or evidence that complicates specific points in the reading.

Additional Support for Student Writers: 

The Knight Institute offers support to writers through the  Cornell Writing Centers  and the  KNIGHT WRITERS Mentor Program , and accepts a small number of students each semester into  Writing 1370/1380: Elements of Academic Writing —a lower enrollment FWS that includes weekly individual teacher/student conferences. All sections of Writing 1370 and 1380 are taught by Knight Institute writing specialists. 

A first FWS assignment should help instructors identify students who might benefit from additional support: in most cases this will not include having students transfer from their current FWS into Writing 1370/80. (Enrollment capacity in Elements of Academic Writing is limited. Cornell offers more than 220 FWSs during the fall semester. Only ten of these are sections of Writing 1370).

FWS Instructor Referral Guidelines

Frequently Asked Questions about Revised Guidelines for First Assignments

The last time I taught an FWS, we were supposed to assign “diagnostic essays.” Does the paper described in these guidelines replace the “diagnostic”?

The first paper described in these guidelines should take the place of the diagnostic essay in your course plan. While the first paper retains diagnostic functions, these revised guidelines highlight some of the other teaching goals for first assignments in a writing seminar, as well as the fact that the first paper assignment should be considered an essential part of the course’s curriculum, not a task that stands apart.

Does this paper count as one of my course’s five “formal” papers?

Your first assignment can count as one of your five “formal” papers. You can also treat it as a draft that will lead to a more formal assignment. Or you can treat it is an informal assignment. Consider what will work best with plans for subsequent classes and assignments as well as your learning goals.

Are personal narratives acceptable?

If you wish to build a first assignment around a personal narrative, be sure to include some elements that push students to do the kind of thinking and writing that will be characteristic of the course. For example, you could ask students to engage with a concept articulated in an early reading assignment.

Personal narratives can help students bring an individual point of view to the subject matter. Personal narratives can also help students identify their own stake in some aspect of the course material. However, an assignment that asks students to work exclusively from personal history or personal experience will not necessarily test students’ ability to read, analyze, or interpret texts, concepts, data, or images. Thinking and writing skills like close reading, analysis, and interpretation are likely to be central to the writing you ask students to do. Your first assignment should introduce students to some aspect of the writing skills and practices you will be teaching. If you can integrate aspects of these skills and practices into a personal narrative there is no reason not to design such an assignment at this point in the semester (or later on).

Should this paper be graded?

Try to keep the stakes low for this first assignment: this may mean not assigning a letter grade. How you keep the stakes low should depend, in part, on your larger grading strategies for the course. 

You are most likely to get the course off to a good start if conversations with students about their first assignment focus on content and style rather than a grade. Students also grow as writers when they feel comfortable experimenting and taking risks. Taking risks can be hard when the grade stress gets in the way. 

Even if the paper is not graded, it should still count. You want students to take the assignment seriously. One of the challenges inherent in teaching writing is figuring out how to help students discover their own investments in the subject matter, even as teachers evaluate their work and assign letter grades for their semester’s work. A particular challenge of the first assignment is finding a way to lower the stakes enough so students feel comfortable experimenting, while still keeping the stakes high enough so students take it seriously.

Should my assignment include revision?

Teaching revision is central to the FWS curriculum. Writers get better at revising if they have multiple opportunities to practice. Some of the most productive conversations instructors and students have about writing emerge from assignments built around guided revision. If it makes sense to incorporate revision, even on a small scale, into the first paper assignment, do so. If you would rather wait until a later assignment, that is also acceptable.

Should my assignment include footnotes or other citations?

Using sources responsibly should be integrated into the learning goals for FWS teachers. If it makes sense to begin working on responsible use of sources as part of your first assignment, do so. If it makes sense to introduce it later, that is also acceptable. (The repetition creeping into the last few responses indicates that we’ve entered the realm of instructor choice).

Should we do peer review as part of this assignment?

If it makes sense to help students work in peer groups—or read one another’s work—as part of your first assignment, do so. If it makes sense to introduce these practices later, that is also acceptable.

Should I schedule a conference after this paper?

Some instructors like to schedule a round of conferences within the first two weeks to get to know their students. Others like to wait until students have produced a larger body of work to discuss. Either approach is acceptable.

The last time I taught an FWS, I had students adding and dropping during the first few classes. How can I assign a paper starting in the first class or the first week when I have students switching in and out?

We always recommend thinking of a paper assignment as a sequence of several activities. Even for a short paper, a sequence could include: in-class work; informal writing completed in or out of class; a group activity; and the “formal” final draft of a paper. (These are possibilities, not requirements).

If you design a sequence with several elements that structures the first few classes of the semester, think about entry points for students who might add the class before the second meeting, or the third, or the fourth. As students add, you can communicate which things they can do to complete the assignment alongside their classmates. For instance, if the sequence begins with an in-class, informal writing assignment, a student who joins after the first class meeting could complete this informal assignment at home. If students watch a short video during the first class and respond to a discussion question, make the video and the questions available to students who add later so they can watch it on their own and respond to questions as an informal writing assignment. (For more information on dealing with unstable enrollments in the opening weeks, see  KNIGHTLYnews  post: “ Expecting, and Accepting, Fluctuating FWS Enrollment .” 

For more on the topic of first writing assignments, follow this link to Elliot Shapiro's KNIGHTLYnews post titled  Updated Guidelines for First FWS Assignment .

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And #11 Successful Students Learn Independently

16 Dealing With Assignments

Understanding your first assignment.

The number of assignments you will receive in a semester often surprises students. For some students, figuring out how to manage assignments is a new experience. For others who have had assignments in the past, the amount of work needed to complete assignments at the college level is what is unexpected. Most of the assignments you will receive will take longer than one session of study to complete. You will likely need to work on your assignment over several days or weeks. In this section, we will provide you with advice on how to understand the requirements of your assignment, and how to manage and track the tasks you will need to complete. We will provide you with some time management tips and an assignment tracker to try.

white printer paper with notes on white table

Assignment Terms

Assignment questions, outlines and marking schemes, breaking down large assignments.

How to breakdown assignments into tasks

  • Understand the assignment: Read the assignment instructions carefully, and make sure you understand what is required. If you do not understand what you need to do, ask your professor as soon as possible.
  • Create a task list: What are the smaller tasks you need to do to complete this assignment? Smaller tasks are activities like conducting research at the library or setting up group meetings for a group project.
  • Create a timeline: Create a timeline that includes all the tasks that need to be completed. Consider how much time you will need to complete that task and when you will work on it. Set due dates for each task.
  • Brainstorm ideas: Before you start writing, brainstorm ideas for the assignment. Think about the main points you want to cover, any research you need to do, and any supporting evidence you might need.
  • Create an outline: Once you have a list of ideas, create an outline for your assignment. An outline can help you organize your thoughts and make sure you cover all the necessary points.
  • Schedule time for research: Do your research before you begin writing. As you find sources, gather the information you will need to create a reference and take notes about essential information the source will provide and where this information fits in with your outline.
  • Schedule time for revision: Plan to review your work before you submit. This can include checking your work against the assignment instructions or rubric, making changes to the content, and proofreading.

Here is an example of this process:

Key Takeaway from video

  • Breaking down a large or medium-sized assignment into smaller pieces can help reduce stress, ensure completion of all parts of the assignment, and allow you to get other important tasks done too.

Using an Assignment Tracker

Time Management Considerations

person wearing the watch

Time management is the practice of organizing and prioritizing one’s activities and tasks effectively in order to maximize productivity and achieve one’s goals. For college students, time management involves creating a plan for allocating their time efficiently and balancing academic responsibilities with social activities, work, and personal obligations. It requires identifying tasks and goals, setting realistic deadlines, and using tools such as schedules, to-do lists, and reminders to stay on track. Effective time management helps students to reduce stress, increase productivity, and achieve academic success while still enjoying a balanced lifestyle.

  • Procrastination:  Students tend to put off starting a large writing assignment until the last minute, leaving themselves with insufficient time to complete the assignment.
  • Lack of Planning:  Many students do not adequately plan their time for the writing process, which can result in poor time management and a lower quality of work.
  • Perfectionism:  Students may spend too much time trying to perfect every aspect of their writing, which can lead to time wastage and increased stress.
  • Break the Task into Smaller Parts:  Instead of attempting to complete the entire assignment in one sitting, break it down into smaller, more manageable parts, and set specific deadlines for each.
  • Create a Schedule:  Create a schedule for the writing process and stick to it. This will help you stay on track and ensure that you have enough time to complete the assignment.
  • Avoid Distractions:  Avoid any distractions that can lead to time wastage, such as social media, television, and video games.
  • Set Priorities:  Set priorities for your writing tasks, focusing on the most critical aspects of the assignment first.
  • Use Writing Tools : Utilize writing tools such as spell check, grammar check, and citation generators to save time and reduce the need for extensive revisions.
  • Take Breaks:  Taking regular breaks can help you stay focused and prevent burnout, ensuring that you produce your best work.

Avoiding Procrastination

Key Takeaways

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A Guide for Successful Students 2nd ed. Copyright © 2023 by Irene Stewart, Aaron Maisonville, and Nicolai Zriachev, St. Clair College is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License , except where otherwise noted.

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Assignments usually ask you to demonstrate that you have immersed yourself in the course material and that you've done some thinking on your own; questions not treated at length in class often serve as assignments. Fortunately, if you've put the time into getting to know the material, then you've almost certainly begun thinking independently. In responding to assignments, keep in mind the following advice.

  • Beware of straying.  Especially in the draft stage, "discussion" and "analysis" can lead you from one intrinsically interesting problem to another, then another, and then ... You may wind up following a garden of forking paths and lose your way. To prevent this, stop periodically while drafting your essay and reread the assignment. Its purposes are likely to become clearer.
  • Consider the assignment in relation to previous and upcoming assignments.  Ask yourself what is new about the task you're setting out to do. Instructors often design assignments to build in complexity. Knowing where an assignment falls in this progression can help you concentrate on the specific, fresh challenges at hand.

Understanding some key words commonly used in assignments also may simplify your task. Toward this end, let's take a look at two seemingly impenetrable instructions: "discuss" and "analyze."

1. Discuss the role of gender in bringing about the French Revolution.

  • "Discuss" is easy to misunderstand because the word calls to mind the oral/spoken dimension of communication. "Discuss" suggests conversation, which often is casual and undirected. In the context of an assignment, however, discussion entails fulfilling a defined and organized task: to construct an argument that considers and responds to an ample range of materials. To "discuss," in assignment language, means to make a broad argument about a set of arguments you have studied. In the case above, you can do this by
  • pointing to consistencies and inconsistencies in the evidence of gendered causes of the Revolution;
  • raising the implications of these consistencies and/or inconsistencies (perhaps they suggest a limited role for gender as catalyst);
  • evaluating different claims about the role of gender; and
  • asking what is gained and what is lost by focusing on gendered symbols, icons and events.

A weak discussion essay in response to the question above might simply list a few aspects of the Revolution—the image of Liberty, the executions of the King and Marie Antoinette, the cry "Liberte, Egalite, Fraternite!" —and make separate comments about how each, being "gendered," is therefore a powerful political force. Such an essay would offer no original thesis, but instead restate the question asked in the assignment (i.e., "The role of gender was very important in the French Revolution" or "Gender did not play a large role in the French Revolution").

In a strong discussion essay, the thesis would go beyond a basic restatement of the assignment question. You might test the similarities and differences of the revolutionary aspects being discussed. You might draw on fresh or unexpected evidence, perhaps using as a source an intriguing reading that was only briefly touched upon in lecture.

2. Analyze two of Chaucer's Canterbury Tales, including one not discussed in class, as literary works and in terms of sources/analogues.

The words "analyze" and "analysis" may seem to denote highly advanced, even arcane skills, possessed in virtual monopoly by mathematicians and scientists. Happily, the terms refer to mental activity we all perform regularly; the terms just need decoding. "Analyze" means two things in this specific assignment prompt.

  • First, you need to divide the two tales into parts, elements, or features. You might start with a basic approach: looking at the beginning, middle, and end. These structural features of literary works—and of historical events and many other subjects of academic study—may seem simple or even simplistic, but they can yield surprising insights when examined closely.
  • Alternatively, you might begin at a more complex level of analysis. For example, you might search for and distinguish between kinds of humor in the two tales and their sources in Boccaccio or the Roman de la Rose: banter, wordplay, bawdy jokes, pranks, burlesque, satire, etc.

Second, you need to consider the two tales critically to arrive at some reward for having observed how the tales are made and where they came from (their sources/analogues). In the course of your essay, you might work your way to investigating Chaucer's broader attitude toward his sources, which alternates between playful variation and strict adherence. Your complex analysis of kinds of humor might reveal differing conceptions of masculine and feminine between Chaucer and his literary sources, or some other important cultural distinction.

Analysis involves both a set of observations about the composition or workings of your subject and a critical approach that keeps you from noticing just anything—from excessive listing or summarizing—and instead leads you to construct an interpretation, using textual evidence to support your ideas.

Some Final Advice

If, having read the assignment carefully, you're still confused by it, don't hesitate to ask for clarification from your instructor. He or she may be able to elucidate the question or to furnish some sample responses to the assignment. Knowing the expectations of an assignment can help when you're feeling puzzled. Conversely, knowing the boundaries can head off trouble if you're contemplating an unorthodox approach. In either case, before you go to your instructor, it's a good idea to list, underline or circle the specific places in the assignment where the language makes you feel uncertain.

William C. Rice, for the Writing Center at Harvard University

their first assignments

First-Year Seminar for Faculty: Assignment Ideas

  • FYS Student Learning Outcomes
  • Assignment Ideas
  • Campus Resources
  • First-Year Experience Resources
  • Diversity and Inclusion Resources

General Information and Ideas on Assignments

To maintain some consistency across FYS, the task force recommends argument based and/or research based writing assignments totaling around 15 pages, and ideally no more than 20 pages (or the equivalent in alternative projects).

  • Low-stakes assignments with feedback can encourage students to take intellectual risks, explore, and experience setbacks and frustration so that they develop grit and resilience.
  • Keep in mind that the course is not a writing intensive course, and many students will not have completed their composition courses, ENGL 101 or 115.
  • We strongly encourage other forms of writing assignments that would not count toward the 15 pages, e.g., reflective papers, short response papers, journaling, blogging, or creative forms of writing. For instance, after completing an argument based writing assignment students might write a reflective paper about their research and writing process, or students might keep a journal about their personal responses to the readings or class discussions.
  • Assignments Handout (Mariani and Yandell) A flowchart for thinking through assignments
  • One Week of Class (Anderson) How to bring together reading, viewing, discussion and research--in one week of class.
  • Poster Example (Herren)
  • The Writing Center (Todd) Suggestions for how to incorporate visits to the Writing Center into your FYS.
  • Blog Post Assignment (Wyett)
  • Google Maps Assignment (Wyett)
  • Wiki Assignment (Wyett)
  • Final Project (Wyett)
  • Final Project (Herren) Example of a final project bringing library research, multiple contexts, and presentation together.
  • Making Presentations (Murphy)
  • Flame Best Practices
  • Oral Presentations Support for oral presentations in a Library Research Guide.

Library Assignments

Each CORE 100 course will have a dedicated Library Liaison who can provide library research instruction and assist with the creation of assignments that incorporate research and information literacy skills. These skills should be used with at least one specific assignment, rather than a general skills overview. While the assignments are left to the discretion of the instructor, we strongly recommend the following:

  • Enroll your Library Liaison into your Canvas course
  • Discuss assignments with your Library Liaison
  • Schedule library instruction with your Library Liaison to work on a tailored assignment or to provide general library resource instruction
  • Assign the  Library Research Tutorial  to help students learn about library research, information literacy skills and plagiarism & citing sources

The following resources can help instructors design assignments:

  • Suggested Library Assignments
  • Library Goals and SLOs for Information Literacy (including rubrics)
  • Digital Humanities Toolkit
  • Atomic Learning  (tech and research skills in short videos that can be embedded directly into Canvas and assigned to students)
  • Articles on designing effective library assignments

An assignment may include:

  • Research using library databases
  • A critique of internet searches
  • Pre-tests and post-tests of information literacy
  • Media projects and/or presentations instead of or in addition to research papers
  • Library Instruction Menu Librarians are available to visit your class to teach students a variety of information literacy skills that are critical for their academic success at Xavier. You can choose which elements you'd like to include in your class. This menu also lists how long a lesson takes.
  • Example Assignment: Research Worksheet (Segerman)
  • Example Assignment: Bibliographic Essay (Anderson)
  • Example Assignment: Research Bibliography (Whipple)
  • Example Assignment: Information Literacy (Austin)
  • Example Assignment: Current journal articles in social psychology (End)
  • Example Assignment: Academic journal profile put in a Lib Guide for the use of other students (Ottum)
  • Scholarly, Non-Scholarly, Popular A handout for distinguishing among types of sources (von Weissenberg)
  • University Library Prize for First-Year Seminar Students
  • University Library Prize Finalists The Library has posted the papers of the finalists for the University Library Prize for First-Year Seminars. These papers may be used as examples for your students.
  • Databases vs. Search Engines A handout (thanks to von Weissenberg)

Teaching Difficult Texts

  • Class Participation: Grading Rubric Giving feedback on student participation (Zucchero)
  • Leading Discussion Guidelines for students who are leading class discussion (Yandell)
  • Leading Discussion: Grading Rubric Giving feedback to student discussion leaders (Yandell)
  • Leading Discussion: Grading Rubric Giving feedback to student discussion leaders (Zucchero)

Preview the document

  • The Minute Memo Encourage class participation with this exercise (Malik)
  • Taking Notes One student's very intense guide on taking notes.
  • Fostering Discussion Studies on discussion show us why it is hard. Jay R. Howard's Discussion in the College Classroom has some answers.
  • Unguided Discussions A three-part model for student-run discussion. Key part: we don't talk.
  • Getting Students to Prepare to Discuss Texts (Austin) Publication Timeline for Pride and Prejudice
  • Distinguishing Scholarly from Popular (Austin) Janeites vs. Austen Scholars
  • Contextualizing Text (Austin) Researching inheritance law to provide context for Jane Austen's novels.
  • Contextualizing Text (Austin) Research into Jane Austen and Regency England.
  • Preparing for Discussion (Austin) Discussion Post assignment for The Lizzie Bennet Diaries
  • Preparing for Discussion (Austin) Posting questions and answers in advance to a discussion board.
  • The Problem Problem and Other Oddities of Academic Discourse Excellent article by Gerald Graff on the difficulties that students have with crafting academic arguments (from McFarlane Harris).
  • Discussing Leading This assignment comes from Naomi Andrews at Santa Clara University. See the next file for her outline of how she runs this assignment.
  • Discussing Leading: How and Why This is the companion outline to Naomi Andrews's discussion leading assignment.

Assessing Core 3a: Assignment Ideas

In 2017-2018, FYS will conduct a program-wide assessment of Core 3a:

Core 3a: Identify and critically assess multiple dimensions of an  ethical issue  in an attempt to reach a conclusion. In FYS, this includes***:

  • Interpreting challenging  readings .
  • Employing effective  library research and information literacy skills .
  • Constructing  arguments supported with evidence .

The assessment is two-pronged: faculty will assess their students' success achieving this SLO based on their own, individual assignments. They will submit this assessment using a rubric available via Qualtrics (link coming soon). Below are some assignments that FYS faculty have developed to help them assess this SLO.

  • Tim Brownlee's Thematic Paper Assignment
  • Tom Strunk's Tyrants of the Modern World Paper Assignment
  • Niamh O'Leary's Historical Villain/Antihero Assignment
  • Jaylene Schaefer's Health Care Proposal Poster Assignment
  • Graley Herren's "How to Live" Essay Assignment
  • Graley Herren's Critical Edition assignment This assignment directly addresses using library research.
  • Graley Herren: Sample Critical Edition Assignment Here is an example of the assignment above.

The Greater Good

  • The Greater Good and Human Health (Smythe) A short piece by Kathleen Smythe on her understanding of the Greater Good and its connections to E/RS, to be read and discussed by her FYS students.
  • Philosophers on the Good Excerpts from Plato, Aristotle, Aquinas, Kant, and Mill (compiled by Polt)
  • Geger, "What Magis Really Means and Why It Matters"

" Learning and Living Magis "--Marcus Mescher (Theology) wrote this piece about magis. He was inspired to write about Magis in part by his experience teaching FYS. Reading and discussing this can help promote a consideration of the greater good in the context of our Jesuit values. 

  • Nicolás, "Challenges to Jesuit Higher Education Today"
  • Busse, "The Dirtiest Word in Jesuit Higher Education"
  • Kolvenbach, "The Service of Faith and the Promotion of Justice in American Jesuit Higher Education"
  • Arrupe, "Men for Others"
  • Hollenbach, "The Common Good in a Divided Society" Discussed in our brown bag on Jesuits and the Greater Good on November 2, 2016.

Chadwick, "I Don't Know How to Explain to You that You Should Care About Other People," (Mescher)

Classroom Policies

FYS does not prescribe classroom policies on attendance, participation, etc.  However, during the course of our workshops, faculty offered a number of suggestions.

Attendance policies can be used as a tool to acknowledge students' choices as adults and to help you communicate to them that you are concerned when they miss class.

Laptop and device policy (from O'Leary)

  • "Why I'm Asking You Not to Use Laptops" (Curzan, The Chronicle of Higher Education )
  • "The Case for Banning Laptops in the Classroom" (Rockmore, The New Yorker )
  • "Laptop Multitasking Hinders Classroom Learning for Both Users and Nearby Peers" (Sana, Weston, & Cepeda, Computers & Education )

Exam period: Many (if not all) FYS courses will have a final project in lieu of a final exam.  What to do during exam time?

  • Oral presentations of a final project
  • Class conversation about their first-day-of-class goals for the course
  • How to Email Your Professor Worth an early conversation. Step-by-step and why. (from O'Leary and von Weissenberg).

Vocation and Mentoring

College as a path to vocation

One way to consider vocation is to get students to think carefully about the purpose of pursuing higher education. Separating students from thinking solely about college as credentialing can help them consider all the ways to learn and grow while they are at Xavier. This conversation can be supported by attendance at Spark: the First-Year Seminar's Call to the Greater Good and a follow-up discussion. You might also consider these readings:

"What is the Point of College?" (Kwame Anthony Appiah, New York Times 8 September 2015)

"The Tune-Up that Every First-Year College Student Needs" (Deborah J. Cohan, Psychology Today , 16 July 2017)

There are also a number of excellent readings that directly address vocation. Several of these are linked or attached below.

Let Your Life Speak: Listening for the Voice of Vocation   (Parker J. Palmer)

A catalyst for conversation may be the question "Who are you now?"  This question asks students to think about personal interests, skills and development, a broader conversation than a job search.

  • Vocation: A Visualization Here's one way to visualize vocation. (from von Weissenberg)
  • Vocation: Your Life in Weeks, a Visualization (from Yandell)
  • Vocation: Heart Searching and Life Choice By Wilkie Au, S.J. (from Groppe)
  • Vocation: Assignment (Strunk) Reflection on Mary Oliver's poem "The Summer Day" vs. Amazon's white collar workers
  • How to Live Wisely Suggestions for in-class conversations about aligning your time with your values.
  • Wanted in College Students: Tolerance for Ambiguity Short piece by Jeff Selingo on why students need to figure things out on their own (from Renzi)

Recommended: Katharine Brooks, You Majored in What? Mapping your Path from Chaos to Career (New York: Viking, 2009). You might use a chapter from this book as an alternative for students who can't make it to Spark.

  • TED Talk on Vocation What if you have more than one calling?
  • Letter to Self Setting goals for the semester (von Weissenberg)
  • "Meet the Parents Who Won't Let Their Children Study Literature" from the Washington Post (thanks to O'Leary)
  • "Six Myths About Choosing a College Major" An article by Jeffrey J. Selingo in the November 2017 New York Times compares average career earnings of various majors to debunk myths about which majors lead to the most stable careers. more... less... Thanks to Randy Browne and Jodi Wyett for sharing.

Reflective and Meta-cognitive Assignments

Campus issues.

Video on Alter Hall

The Casings of Our Hearts: Talking Honestly and Angrily About Campus Sexual Assault

Who Do We Say that We Are? Changing the Institutional Culture ...

Hook-Up Culture as Rape Culture

  • Mental Health on Campus The many issues facing students--plus, the grit of first-generation college students.
  • Choosing in Everyday Life--Ottum
  • Black Literature and Faith--Pramuk
  • Adapting Austen--Wyett
  • Extraordinary Women--Zascavage
  • Life and Death in the Gospels--Dewey
  • << Previous: FYS Student Learning Outcomes
  • Next: Campus Resources >>
  • Last Updated: May 15, 2024 10:52 AM
  • URL: https://libguides.xavier.edu/fys

IMAGES

  1. 9 Best Tips for Students on How to Finish Their Assignments Successfully

    their first assignments

  2. How to Write an Assignment: Step by Step Guide

    their first assignments

  3. Assignment Writing Tips for Students: Step By Step Guide

    their first assignments

  4. Assignments

    their first assignments

  5. 😍 Good assignment. 6 Tips to Write a Good Assignment. 2019-02-11

    their first assignments

  6. 13 Best Tips To Write An Assignment

    their first assignments

VIDEO

  1. HOMEWORK HELP- Week 2 IDS 105 FOCUS Video: Project Draft Template Walkthrough

  2. Danny Parkins remembers covering Jovan Belcher murder-suicide, talks covering tragedy in media

  3. reading my first assignments book

  4. ‧ Milk ‧ {calarts 2023 ‧ 1 week film}

  5. Assignments for the First Day

  6. Ns 4034 leads an early morning 16r around the bend #shorts #nstrains

COMMENTS

  1. Police Academy 2: Their First Assignment

    English. Budget. $7.5 million [1] [2] Box office. $115 million [3] Police Academy 2: Their First Assignment is a 1985 American comedy film directed by Jerry Paris. It is the second installment in the Police Academy franchise and the sequel to Police Academy . Many actors who were in the first film return to reprise their roles.

  2. Army offers recruits guaranteed first assignments at select bases

    Potential U.S. Army enlistees will find a new deal on the table at recruiting offices nationwide. New active-duty recruits now have the option of selecting their first duty assignment following ...

  3. Your First Assignment

    Some graduates of the Coast Guard Academy have their first command as soon as two years after receiving their commission. Imagine yourself as a Lieutenant Junior Grade two years after graduation, commanding a Marine Protector Patrol Boat in the Straits of Florida. You and your crew are ready for the call to rescue those in distress or stop ...

  4. West Point grads get assignments through new branching system

    The cadets received their assignments during the academy's annual Branch Night. ... This year marked the first time West Point has assigned branches using the Army's new Market Model Branching System, which will be rolled out to ROTC next year. The new model paired cadets with a branch by considering how they ranked the 17 branches as it ...

  5. Doing Your First University Assignment: 5 Things to Remember

    Your first university assignment can be daunting, so take a look at our 5 tips to get you started: 1. Learn how to reference. Referencing will be completely new to almost all students, but it is an essential part of most courses. The majority of tutors will introduce referencing early, as the longer you leave it the harder your second and third ...

  6. First Duty and Future Assignments in the Military

    Future Assignments. After the first duty assignment, subsequent assignments are done a little differently. In most cases, you'll have a little more say in future assignments, than you have for the first duty assignment. There are a few restrictions, however. First-term (those in their first enlistment) enlisted members assigned to a continental ...

  7. Naval Academy Class of 2023 Obtain Career Assignments

    Midshipmen may select from 24 different career choices in the U.S. Navy and U.S. Marine Corps and submit their service assignment preferences (up to six) in late August of their 1st Class (senior) year. Assignments are based on specific requirements provided to the Naval Academy by Department of the Navy leadership and consider both a ...

  8. Why is your first assignment so important?

    Why is your first assignment so important? Find out what teachers say about their students' first assignments in this short video. Looking for one-on-one advice? Get tailored advice from an Academic Skills Adviser by booking an Individual appointment, or get quick feedback from one of our Academic Writing Mentors via email through our Writing ...

  9. Understanding Assignments

    What this handout is about. The first step in any successful college writing venture is reading the assignment. While this sounds like a simple task, it can be a tough one. This handout will help you unravel your assignment and begin to craft an effective response. Much of the following advice will involve translating typical assignment terms ...

  10. Career Opportunities :: The Blue and Gold Book :: USNA

    In their first assignments, Marine Corps second lieutenants are generally assigned as platoon commanders with leadership responsibilities for 35 to 43 enlisted Marines. You often have a role in a Marine air/ground task force, with Marine light infantry capable of opposing much more heavily equipped forces. Meshing of air and ground officers in ...

  11. Life After the Naval Academy: What Happens Next?

    Second lieutenants will be assigned as platoon commanders with leadership responsibilities for 35-43 enlisted Marines in their first assignments. They usually have a role in a Marine air/ground task force, with Marine light infantry able to oppose much more heavily equipped forces.

  12. First Assignments from West Point

    Messages. 627. Jan 20, 2023. #3. If by "specialty" and "first assignments," you are referring to "branching," then the best source seems to be the website belonging to West Point Association of Old Grads. The class of 2023 information is not listed yet. But, information for several prior classes is posted.

  13. Detailed Career Planning for the Junior Officer

    Additionally, this is your first opportunity to serve as an Aide de Camp. Selection into a Junior Officer Broadening Assignments (JOBAs) will be heavily based on your demonstrated performance and potential thus far. JOBAs allow you to elect to compete and PCS to a broadening position before your respective Captain's Career Course (CCC).

  14. 9 Types of Assignments in Online Courses

    Below is a list of nine common types of virtual assignments instructors generally assign in online classes. 1. Read or watch, then respond: This type of assignment closely mirrors the face-to-face ...

  15. A very brief description of the assignment process : r/AirForce

    The way I understand it, when they first make the assignments, EFMP is not a factor. They give you the assignment based on eligibility to move and volunteer status. ... Most careerfields have duty titles and levels of responsibility they want to see, so the assignments team will do their best to align officers with that. And they do pretty good ...

  16. Guidelines for First Assignments

    Ask them to first explain what they think the reading means. Then you could: 1. Ask a specific question they should use the reading to help answer; 2. Use the reading the analyze their own experiences with the issue; or, 3. Pose questions or evidence that complicates specific points in the reading.

  17. Naval Academy Class of 2024 Obtain Career Assignments

    Approximately 1,000 midshipmen in the Class of 2024 received their service assignments today in Bancroft Hall at the Naval Academy. Midshipmen select from 24 different career choices in the Navy and Marine Corps and submit their service assignment preferences (up to six) in late August of their 1st class (senior) year.

  18. PDF Understanding Assignments

    also when you will find their feedback most useful. Assignment formats Many assignments follow a basic format. Assignments often begin with an overview of the topic, include a central verb or verbs that describe the task, and offer some additional suggestions, questions, or prompts to get you started: 1. An overview of some kind

  19. Dealing With Assignments

    16 Dealing With Assignments Understanding Your First Assignment. The number of assignments you will receive in a semester often surprises students. For some students, figuring out how to manage assignments is a new experience. ... Lack of Planning: Many students do not adequately plan their time for the writing process, which can result in poor ...

  20. How to Read an Assignment

    To prevent this, stop periodically while drafting your essay and reread the assignment. Its purposes are likely to become clearer. Consider the assignment in relation to previous and upcoming assignments. Ask yourself what is new about the task you're setting out to do. Instructors often design assignments to build in complexity.

  21. The semester's first assignments

    First assignments are often what set the pace. This semester, there's no such thing as being too far away to attend FIT. ... Students are encouraged to investigate their subjects' personality "to add interest to the painting." With their subjects' input, students develop a concept using lightning, background, any props available, and ...

  22. First-Year Seminar for Faculty: Assignment Ideas

    Keep in mind that the course is not a writing intensive course, and many students will not have completed their composition courses, ENGL 101 or 115. We strongly encourage other forms of writing assignments that would not count toward the 15 pages, e.g., reflective papers, short response papers, journaling, blogging, or creative forms of writing.