Honors courses are communication intensive, centering on regular seminar-style, in-depth class discussion to promote critical thinking and communal exchange.  Honors courses provide many opportunities for writing and detailed, individual feedback. Oral presentations with feedback from instructor and peers are encouraged.

As an example, CIC guidelines encourage:

  • use of multiple modes of communication (writing, speaking and computer-mediated communication),
  • focus on improvement of written and/or oral communication skills, inclusion of substantial written and/or oral assignments, and
  • written learning goals for communication skills

Michael Staub, English Department
On student-led discussion:

“I got the notion from Paula Berggren, who introduced me to the concept of a ‘student-centric’ classroom. I initially approached the concept with some hesitation, but now have incorporated it successfully into all my recent elective courses.

I ask the group of two or three students to prepare a list of a dozen discussion questions on the assigned readings, email the list to me at least 24 hours before classtime so that I can review them.  I amend them, if I think it would be helpful and email the amended list back to the students. And then, depending on the individual student group, class itself can be (in fact) truly student-led — with me intervening only when I wish to keep things focused and on track.”