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Guidelines for Student-Initiated Courses

Information for full-time faculty member sponsors.

The Committee on Mini Courses (COMC) has decided that students initiating minicourses for approval need to fulfill the following requirements:

All student-instructed courses need to have the endorsement of a faculty person from within the discipline to which the course material applies.  This endorsement implies a significant interaction between the sponsoring faculty person and the instructor including a willingness to conduct four required working sessions.

1. Feasibility Assessment

In the first session prior to the submission of the course for approval by COMC, the faculty person should make every effort to assess the abilities of the student instructor as to his/her:

  • Understanding of the subject material
  • Ability to communicate that understanding to course participants

If the faculty person involved is not convinced that the student is capable of facilitating a positive learning profitable experience, then he/she should redirect the student to a more profitable involvement.  However, if the student instructor shows the potential to design and implement a program, then a subsequent pre-course planning meeting should be set.

2. Pre-course Planning and Course Proposal Preparation

In this session, the student and the sponsoring faculty person should:

  • Share course expectations
  • Develop course goals
  • Design student objectives
  • Discuss possible resources
  • Decide upon evaluative criteria

In addition, this exercise should set the groundwork for the completion of the course proposal form available from the Office of Continuing Education.

3. Mid-Course Assessment

Following the second-class session, the student instructor and the faculty sponsor will meet to discuss course progress. In this meeting, the faculty person should be prepared to help the student instructor to evaluate his/her effectiveness in the teaching of course material. If necessary, the sponsor should be able to recommend additional resources for course development. He/she should also encourage a positive learning experience by promoting techniques or strategies that he/she may feel to be effective or appropriate.

4. Evaluative Session

The final meeting is essential. It is in this setting that the student instructor will share with the faculty sponsor the results of the evaluative instruments, which were used to assess participants’ progress toward instructional objectives. The faculty sponsor will of course assign the grades and affix his/her name to the appropriate grade sheet.

5. Conclusion

This is a set of guidelines, which define a minimum level of involvement between the student instructor and the sponsoring faculty person. We encourage a more in-depth interaction. Faculty members could also encourage a student planning a mini-course to explore with the self-directed learning staff the possibility of receiving credit for planning and implementing such a course.

COMC Committee
George Shaw, Chairman
11/11/83