Curriculum Development

The curriculum committee of the Academy for Lifelong Learning (A.L.L.) has at least seven members including the chairperson(s). Their job is to develop and present a slate of approximately 20 courses to the executive council for approval each term.

The curriculum is geared to the interests and requests of A.L.L. members. This is how the committee proceeds:

A. The committee drums up ideas for courses

1. Since the beginning of A.L.L., most course ideas have come directly from members who have an interest in a topic and a course they wish to propose. The Academy has been very fortunate to have a strong core of individuals who have made great contributions to the course program year after year.

2. At the end of each semester, the committee asks members for suggestions for future courses. This is done through evaluation forms that they fill out about the courses they have just completed.

3. Some course ideas develop from sharing information with other Lifelong Learning Institutes (LLIs) throughout North America,

4. The committee brainstorms creating lists of possible courses and possible leaders.

B. The committee looks for possible leaders to facilitate these courses.

1. As mentioned before, up to this point, most A.L.L. leaders have been members who have approached the curriculum committee with course proposals. They have been the foundation of the strong program that has attracted so many members. However, the committee is constantly seeking new talent.

2. The committee asks all members, especially present course leaders, to be on the alert for promising prospective leaders.

3. The committee encourages participation by stressing to potential leaders that it is not necessary to be an expert in their chosen topic.

  • Courses can be designed that include speakers, demonstrations, field trips and visual aids on the topic of interest.
  • A course technique that A.L.L. uses that takes the pressure off of a leader is to have each participant responsible for researching and reporting on one portion of the topic during the term.
  • A.L.L. has also offered courses with two to four members coordinating and leading the study group.

C. Course leaders then are asked to prepare a course proposal outlining their weekly plan for the four to eight weekly sessions of their study group.

D. The curriculum committee meets to discuss each proposal, considering the following criteria:

  • Does it have an appropriate title?
  • Does it meet the academic requirement?
  • Does it involve enough class participation?
  • Does it seem too ambitious or not ambitious enough to keep participants interested and involved?

E. The committee votes to approve each course and develops a well-balanced slate of courses.

If a course is not approved, a committee member will contact the prospective leader to request further information or explain changes which the committee suggests. If too many courses are proposed in a specific subject area, the committee may ask a leader to postpone his/her course until the following term.

F. When the committee is satisfied with all the proposals, the chairperson presents the slate of courses to the executive council for its approval.