By: Barb Jacoby, PhD
Introductory survey courses offer an overview of a broad topic or field of knowledge. They form the backbone of undergraduate education at most colleges and universities, and they also serve as the foundation courses for their disciplines.
An introductory survey course may be the only college-level course that non-majors take in the field, as well as the courses on which potential majors may base their decision of whether they will choose to major in that field. Despite their critical role in the higher education landscape, introductory survey courses are notorious for low rates of student achievement and satisfaction.