Syllabus Revision Procedures
Authored by: Dr. Edward Zlotkowski
In the process of converting a traditional course into its civic engagement equivalent, consider the following items. Try to address each item as specifically as possible.
- Identify both the learning objectives of the course as it presently exists and the way(s) in which community-based activities could reinforce, deepen, broaden and/or complement those objectives. (The value of the activities may be the course content related to more generic academic outcomes such as critical thinking, becoming aware of mental models/assumptions, enhanced communication skills and mastering research methods/procedures.)
- Identify at least one important public issue to which both the course and related community-based activities could be perceived as relevant. How could both the course and the proposed activities help prepare students for democratic dialogue and public decision-making regarding that issue?
- What kinds of community-based/public sector organizations might be able to facilitate the activities envisioned in numbers 1 and 2?
- What concrete benefits would the community-based activities provide for the course’s community partner(s) and/or the larger community in general?
- What would be the best format for the course’s community-based activities: (a) mandatory, elective or extra credit; (b) short-term or long-term; (c) individual or group? Explain your choices.
- Would you need to make adjustments to the course’s existing workload to accommodate community-based activities? (Note: If you answer “yes” but you feel boxed in by “coverage” considerations, ask what type of learning the community-based work could facilitate that is currently being delivered in a more didactic manner.)
- How would you need to prepare your students conceptually, personally and practically for their community-based work? Should anyone else be involved in the preparation process?
- Identify at least one assignment (in or out of class) that would help your students analyze or reflect on their community-based work vis-à-vis key course concepts, concerns and objectives. (Try to think outside the box, beyond traditional journaling to include, for example, discussion groups [face to face or electronic], presentations, case writing, role plays and debates.)
- Identify important assessment goals related to the community-based work. Identify both academic and civic competencies students should be able to demonstrate – and you should be able to evaluate – as a result of that work.