In a word, yes. There are weekly computer postings, autobiographical and journal writings, synthesizing papers, and reports on fieldwork, among other assignments. A writing instructor will be available throughout the first course and thereafter as needed.
The readings, writing, and preparation for seminar and fieldwork will generally require between 20 to 30 hours per week in addition to the monthly Saturday seminars. Given the full schedule that you will have, the key will be careful budgeting of time.
In addition to the Saturdays on campus, we believe that it is imperative for you to have ongoing contact with fellow students and instructors. To that end, most weeks you will be involved in a web-mediated seminar to discuss your reading assignments. This is set up as a threaded discussion, something like a chat room without requiring everyone to be online at the same time.
As adult students, you will be able to take advantage of your experience in the community and in the workplace by designing and completing projects in the field. They may range from an environmental assessment of your workplace, to a project focusing on homelessness in your community. This is your opportunity to tackle issues of particular interest to you.
In addition to the three core courses, there is a final semester consisting of a ten-unit senior project. At this point, you will be turned loose to follow up on a theme or project of particular interest to you. In most cases you will be building upon work done in one or more of the core courses. Your work may be in the form of research or field work, or, more likely, a combination of the two.
These are three ten-unit interdisciplinary courses, taken one each semester. Each core topic has been chosen because it focuses on an area in which major changes and shifts are taking place.
Most of the interesting questions do not stop short at disciplinary boundaries. By designing block courses (10 units each) arranged around major themes, we are able to juxtapose a variety of readings that illuminate one another, and jostle around in the mind. That jostling is what we call learning.
Our seminars are made up of 15 (or fewer) students and an instructor who, together, aid and abet one another in the quest for meaning. The bulk of the talking is done by students--they pose the questions, they frame the answers. The instructor facilitates the process.
The Hutchins School of Liberal Studies at Sonoma State University has been experimenting with new approaches to learning for the past 40 years. Its founding principles are active learning through the seminar format and an interdisciplinary approach to knowledge.
Students take one 10-unit course per semester for four semesters to complete the major. The program advisor works with students to design a plan to complete all other necessary requirements, including 9 units of Upper Division GE in Summer or Winter Intersession.