Developing Honors Courses
What makes a course "Honors"?
Because Honors courses are offered across the disciplines, there is no magic formula for transforming a regular course into an Honors course. While an Honors course needn't be more difficult or accelerated, it should be a rigorous enriched classroom experience for students and faculty alike.
If you are a faculty member preparing to offer an Honors course, ask yourself, "What does a smaller classroom of high-achievers allow me to do that I couldn't do otherwise?"
Features of an Honors Course
There are many ways to enrich a course to create a qualitatively different experience. Your course might:
- Approach the material/subject from an interesting or unconventional perspective
- Emphasize discussion and student/instructor interaction
- Encourage students to develop specific skills necessary for graduate school, professional school, and/or life after the University
- Incorporate leadership and service skills and opportunities into the coursework
- Foster specific opportunities for teamwork and collaboration
- Apply theories from the page to real-world problems and phenomena
- Explore interdisciplinary connections across various fields of study
- Provide a platform to conduct independent research, attend and/or present at conferences, or even publish their work
- Incorporate experiential learning opportunities through an internship connection or a companion study abroad
- Facilitate meetings between students and leaders in the field
- Emphasize interdisciplinary skills needed in the field: e.g. writing and oral communication for STEM fields, professional applications in humanities fields, quantitative methods in the arts, philosophical investigations in the social sciences
- Provide access to exciting primary sources
An Honors course can be a laboratory for educational innovation. You can think of Honors courses as a gigantic sandbox for adventures in teaching exploration. The discoveries that happen in the Honors classroom are most often transferable to other classrooms. Make them challenging, make them fun, and use them to instill a love of learning in and beyond the classroom.
Faculty can use the Honors Foundations course framework as a reference for developing their own Foundations course.Learn More