Course Development Timeline

There are a number of special considerations for faculty when designing and teaching a community-engaged learning course. Prior to implementing engaged learning, faculty will have to establish an appropriate relationship with a community partner, communicate expectations, choose classroom activities that support the service, and develop assessment tools to evaluate student learning.

Below is a rough timeline of things to consider when planning your course. The precise timing depends on whether the course is new or has been offered before, how much time you have to prepare, departmental differences and individual preference. Although this timeline is not exhaustive or relevant to every course, it is a general guide for those teaching community-engaged courses.

Long term:

  • Determine the broad goals of your course
  • Decide how community engagement will fit in the course (one assignment, entire course, etc.)
  • Locate a community partner
  • Screen potential students (if course is “by permission of instructor”)

Middle term:

  • Articulate learning objectives for your course
  • Identify appropriate classroom strategies to support the community-engaged learning, such as readings or lectures
  • Choose appropriate reflection exercises
  • Ensure the alignment of objectives, assessments and instructional strategies
  • Write a tentative syllabus
  • Develop appropriate forms for working with community partner (needs assessment, student evaluations, final evaluation, etc.)
  • Meet with community partner to discuss issues of scale, scope, final product and any requirements (such as attendance at presentations)
  • Coordinate schedule for semester with community partner
  • Draft memorandum of understanding
  • Work out transportation arrangements

Short term:

  • Formalize agreement with community partner
  • Finalize plans with partner (deliverables, schedule, location of meetings, expectations for evaluation, etc.)

The following resources will also help you get started on designing a community-engaged course: