Indiana Daily Student

Professors adjust classes for freshmen

Adjusting to college life takes some time. \nMagazine reports talk about life in the dorms and the new social atmosphere, along with the everyday chores of life without parents. \nBut absent from most party-centered environments is the new academic climate freshmen enter. Gone is the comfort of familiar teachers, familiar places and familiar rules.\nClasses are harder. Tests are longer. And skipping class doesn't require a note from a parent.\nBut through the change, with all its nuances, professors try to make the transition a bit easier.\n"I tend to start a little more slowly (with freshmen)," Martin Stone, a professor in the Chemistry department said. "I spend more time explaining the syllabus and course.\n"I just take some time to familiarize the students."\nStone teaches two introductory Chemistry courses this fall on the Bloomington campus -- Elementary Chemistry I (C101) and the accompanying lab (C121). Between those two courses, Stone will grade over 400 freshmen this fall. It's his second year working in the introductory courses geared primarily to new IU students.\nStone said he adjusts his style to the course, not the students, but realizes the challenges freshmen face.\n"I tend to look at the way I teach dependent on material, not the students," Stone said. "The class I'm teaching is introductory. At a higher level the material would be a bit harder. I may tend to do more demonstrations. It's just a way to make it more personal." \nStone also sticks to the textbooks and syllabus in freshmen-driven classes.\n"I do make an effort to structure it parallel to the textbook," he said. "In a class where more experienced students, I may diverge from the order more."\nProfessor Eric Richards, who teaches L100-Personal Law through the Kelley School of Business, wanted to make sure his section of freshmen knew the rules of the game. Before his class meets today at 9:30 a.m., Richards will have sent an e-mail to students encouraging them to attend class.\n"I am extremely excited about the upcoming semester and hope to infect you with some of my enthusiasm," Richards wrote. "While I suspect that some may view my courses as somewhat work-intensive, I wish to assure you that if you make a vow to attend each class and never hesitate to contact me when you have questions, problems or frustrations, you should find this experience to be a rewarding." \nPsychology Professor Gabriel Frommer admits he handles his P101 freshmen differently.\nFrommer, who suggests that "about half" of the freshmen class could use a year off before college to mature, tries to make his psychology class user-friendly.\n"Sure they have to be treated differently," Frommer said. "They come straight out of high school, where all of the testing is straight memorization. I wish I could do more in terms of working with them on an individual basis, but they are reluctant to get help.\"\nTo supplement the individual interaction that a 300-person classroom cannot provide, Frommer makes available most information a prospective student would need on his course's Web site:\nFrommer's site includes: \n• Web-based textbook, with quiz questions and hints (which take you to an answer in the text) and links to outside sources of interest to students.\n• Lecture outlines\n• Samples of old tests\n"I have the equivalent of a book on the Web site," Frommer said. "It's got quiz questions scattered through it. The purpose is to be sure you weren't just moving your eyes and dozing. I try and give people all kinds of tools."\nFrommer also makes audio tapes of every lecture available to interested students.\n"I prepare an awful lot of stuff," he said. "I try and give people all kinds of tools."\nStaff writer Camille Constantin contributed to this report.

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