Intensive Courses

Q:  What are these "Intensive Courses", and do I have to take them?

A:  Yes, you do have to take them.  They are required for your degree.   They are intended to reinforce certain academic skills: writing, oral communications, and some basic acquaintance with technology.  All students are required to complete a certain number of these courses, both in and out of their major, prior to completion of their degree.  You are no exception.  Please consult your particular catalogue for the exact number of courses you must complete to be eligible for graduation.

Q:  But I am a transfer student!!! Do I have to take them?

A:  Yes, you are no exception.  However, depending on the number of hours you transfer on entering ETSU, you may have to take a smaller number than an entering freshman.  If you have 50 or more hours from your previous institution, in practice the number is cut roughly in half.  Please consult your particular catalogue for the exact number of courses you must complete to be eligible for graduation.

Q:  How many of these courses to I have to take?

A:   In practice, if you are an entering freshman, you must take four (4) Writing Intensive courses, two (2) Oral Intensive courses, and (1) Technology courses.

Q:  How many of these do I have to take in my major?

A:   In practice, a minimum of half in each category must be taken in your major.  You may take more than half, but please consult with your departmental advisor prior to registering.

Q:  I need some of these courses, but I don't know which course are designated as Intensive Courses.  How can I find out?

A:   Well, in each semester's schedule book, the any intensive courses offered are marked according to the type.  Or you can consult the Registrar's webpage for a list of the courses which have been designated as Intensive Courses.

Q:   Look, I took HIST 3xxx/4xxx about three years ago.  It doesn't seem to be an Intensive Course then, but it is now.  Does that count for me as an Intensive course?

A:   No, it does not.  The Registrar's webpage indicates which term any particular course was designated as an Intensive Course.  If you took it prior to that designation, it does not count, and you will have to take a course which is currently designated as such.

Q:  Why does the History department have only a few courses designated "Oral Intensive"?

A:   You must realize, if you consider it clearly, that each discipline within the College of Arts and Sciences has different methods and types of information which it is trying to convey to the student (ex.: History and Physics).  In that case, each discipline may lend itself to more of one kind of Intensive courses than the other.  In addition, enrollment in may courses offered by the History department is very high.  Large numbers make it difficult to meet the minimum requirements for a course to be designated "Oral Intensive."

Q:  I notice that the requirements for various Writing Intensive courses, for instance, differ from class to class.  Why is this?  I would have expected that requirements would be standardized.

A:  The simple answer is that college is different from high school.  The longer answer is that the whole idea behind the Intensive courses is to provide you, as a student, with an integrated experience, based on a variety of types of work within each intensive "category".  One class may emphasize a writing experience which is brief and concise, and may involve extemporaneous writing.  Another may emphasize the idea of more lengthy and considered work, such as formal research papers or lengthy critiques of other work.  You may have a job, someday.  To quote a bit of traditional computer hacker wisdom, "If you are going to play in the REAL WORLD, then you've gotta learn REAL WORLD MOVES."

Q:  But I don't understand WHY I have to spend so much time writing and being graded on my writing?  I thought that History was learning dates and names?

A:   This is a common mistake that people make, and given the experience that many people have in public school, this is not an unexpected conclusion.  Although there are may excellent history teachers in the public schools, and we are indeed fortunate to have some of the best in our local area, there are also many  everywhere that seem to be less than good.

From the beginning of the doing of history in antiquity, history was about communicating!  Communicating clearly and bravely. Remember that "historia" is a "critical inquiry in to causes and results".  How do you expect to do that if you cannot communicate yourself?  Part of our moral obligation, if you will allow the indulgence, is to teach you to communicate!!! Otherwise, the study of history is of no value.  Look at your teachers.  Can they communicate effectively with you?  That is a part of what we undertook to teach you when each of us made the decision years ago to this thing which we do, which we call history.  If  we do not teach you to think clearly, if we do not teach you to communicate that  which you think clearly, then we have failed, and for most of us, that means we have failed in our moral responsibilities.   If you cannot learn, or unwilling to learn, how to communicate clearly and bravely, then you have failed in the same moral obligation before you have even gotten started.  Think on these things.  You shouldn't undertake this just because you can't think of anything better to do.

Q:  If I took a course at another institution, and transfer it to ETSU, and it is considered to be an Intensive Course here, does that count toward my total.

A:  No, it does not.  It was not an Intensive Course at East Stump Community College, or wherever you took it.  The only course which count as "Intensive Courses" are courses taught at ETSU and designates as such.

Q:  Look, I don't really want to take some of these courses!  Can I get an exemption?

A:   In a word,....not bloody likely.  ETSU is committed to seeing to it that all students who graduate have had these courses, because we believe that they will better prepare you for the rest of your life.


Last modified:  Ides of August, in the 2762th ab urbe condita (from the Foundation of the City, Rome, that is....2009, for those of you on a different calendar).

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