Writing Course Proposals

  • New Courses

    Below is an outline of the format to follow when preparing a new course proposal for approval through the curricular process at KU.  Please use an 11- or 12-point font, and observe 1-inch margins. Set paper copies to print on both sides. Work with a copy of the Curriculum Proposal Cover Sheet so you know what your proposal needs to contain.

    Format for Curriculum Proposals:


    DEPARTMENT OF (complete for your department) ______________
    COLLEGE OF (complete for your college) _____________________

    Suggested Course Prefix(es) and Number Level: _____________

    • Course Description for the University Master List of Courses and Rationale:
      • List the Course Prefix, Number, and Title.  Course numbers cannot be re-used.  For questions about course numbers, please contact Brian Meares in the Vice Provost's Office.
      • A succinct description of the course content must be written.  The description must be written in complete sentences.
      • The number of Semester Hours, Clock Hours, and Prerequisites must be included at the end of the description.   Semester hours (s.h.) refer to the number of academic credits attached to the course.  Clock hours (c.h.) refers to the number of physical hours per week the student spends in the classroom.
      • If you have any questions regarding the format, phrasing, or the logistics of semester hours, clock hours, or prerequisites, please contact the Registrar's Office as early as possible in this process.
      • The Rationale should explain the reasons for the development of the course, its inclusion in the curriculum, and the relationship of the proposed course to other courses, if applicable.
    • Course Objectives:  These objectives should be written in such a way as to reflect the desired measurable outcomes from the course as observed in student behaviors (see Writing Course Objectives). 
    • Assessment:  Provide a list of the instruments that will be used to assess students' achievement of the course objectives. Be as complete as possible. 
    • Course Outline:  
      • The course outline should provide sufficient detail so that course content can be determined from the outline. Use a traditional outline format: an alternating series of numbers and letters, indented accordingly, to indicate levels of importance).  This page provides an example of the correct outline format.
      • Do not include any information that would restrict the outline to a particular semester, instructor, or textbook.
    • Electronic Resources:  This section should list the electronic databases needed by the students to successfully complete the projects and assessments for the course.  Lists of current databases are available on the library website, or through the librarian liaison for your department.  If new databases are needed, please contact the Library Director or your librarian liaison.
  • Revision of Existing Courses

    To revise an existing course, use the directions on the Cover Sheet.  In Table 1, sections "d" through "k," check all the boxes that apply to your revision.  Then, in Table 1, Column 3 - Documents, are lists of the additional resources that need to accompany your proposal.

  • Courses to be Offered via Distance Education

    In the Collective Bargaining Agreement, Article 42.E.1, lists the criteria to be fulfilled when proposing an existing course for delivery via distance education. 

    1. a qualified instructor who has passed the teaching online certificate course (TOCC). 
    2. use of suitable technology as a substitute for the traditional classroom
    3. suitable opportunity for interaction between instructor and student
    4. suitable evaluation of student achievement by the instructor
    5. the integrity of the evaluation methods used

    APSCUF-KU has determined that a course needs to be approved for Distance Education only once. Thereafter, that course may be offered online in any future semester, taught by any qualified faculty, without further approval. Accordingly, here are some suggestions and examples for the five criteria:

    1. Qualified Instructor

      • The requirement at KU is that all faculty must earn the PASSHE Teaching Online Courses Certificate (TOCC)." 
      • Since the same proposal will be used for any instructor who will teach the course, the language not mention one specific individual who may not be the only one teaching it in future instantiations of the course.
      • Examples:
          • The members of the faculty who teach online courses have received training through their own graduate degree in technology and/or library science. In addition, faculty members have taken training programs via Quality matters, a faculty-centered, peer review process that is designed to certify the quality of online and blended courses. All faculty members have taken workshops through the Center for Enhancement of Teaching and Learning Technologies Center.
          • University faculty members, who have a demonstrated research expertise in American politics as well as those who have extensive experience teaching American politics, will teach the course. Additionally, these members have extensive experience using web-based distance learning software, such as Desire2Learn (D2L), and have attended conferences/ workshops on best practices for integrating technology into political science courses.
    2. Suitable Technology

      • Describe the technologies that will be used to distribute the course and how they will be used.
      • Examples:
          • The distribution system is the course management application, Desire2Learn. The instructor will utilize functions of D2L such as online quizzes, Dropbox, podcasts, grade book, discussions, and groups.
          • Students in the course will meet the course objectives through a variety of learning technologies including PowerPoint presentations, online film, electronic reserves, online websites, and online learning modules. This course will make use of Discussion Boards as a form of participation. D2L and electronic mail will be the primary means that course information is disseminated and discussed.
          • The distribution system is the course management application, Desire2Learn. Along with asynchronous functions like discussion forums, the instructor will utilize synchronous functions such as chats and the Wimba live video classroom. Other technologies such as podcasts, wikis, and blogs may be integrated into the course.
    3. Interaction between instructor and student

      • Describe exactly how the instructor and students will communicate with each other.
      • Examples:
          • Students will be able to interact with the instructor through discussion forums, live video classroom, and online office hours. Students will be able to interact with each other through discussion forums, live video classroom, small group forums, chat rooms, wikis, blogs, and podcasts.
          • Students will have the opportunity to meet with the professor through face-to-face meetings by appointment. Scheduled chat sessions, in real time, will provide direct, on the spot, interaction.
    4. Evaluation of student achievement

      • Describe how the student's performance will be assessed.
      • Examples:
          • Upon completion of a learning module or activity, students will complete an assignment, exam, structured discussion board dialogue, or paper that will assess their knowledge. Thus, student assessment includes a variety of options including online quizzes and examinations, discussion board postings of substance and written work. All required work has an accompanying rubric used for setting standards and grading purposes.
          • Because of the multimedia capabilities of D2L, students will be assessed by the same assignments and criteria as in a traditional face-to-face classroom. All assignments can be submitted through D2L’s drop box or other Web 2.0 tools set up by the instructor (i.e., wikis, You Tube, etc.)
    5. Integrity of the evaluation methods

      • This criteria refers to academic honesty in the distance learning environment.  Describe how the instructor will determine that the students are actually completing the assignments and assessments themselves (i.e., not cheating).
      • Examples:
          • D2L allows for exams to be delivered with a time limit and a forced completion option. Due dates can be strictly enforced or adjusted as circumstances warrant. Additionally, papers and assignment submitted to the digital drop box can be checked for plagiarism through Turnitin. Expectations of academic honesty and original authorship will be stated in the syllabus and emphasized at the beginning of the course.
          • All papers, assignments, and exams are unique to this course and do not draw upon test banks or pre-written questions that students could access. Consequently, students will have to participate fully in this course to do well. The D2L Turnitin feature will be used to minimize plagiarism and aids in the specification of when the assignment is available and due.
          • Assigned work is given frequently throughout the course. Typically, the work builds with each assignment. Additionally, students are aware that core assignments will be required as artifacts in a final portfolio. Students submit photos and converse freely with the instructor and each other; a student’s style is quickly recognized. Assignments are typically particular to a student’s classroom and/or certificate so they tend to be highly individualized. Students are reminded of rules related to Academic Honesty and are required to submit an affirmation statement with their final portfolio.
  • Writing Course Objectives

    The UCC Bylaws state the following in regards to course objectives: "These objectives should be written in such a way as to reflect the desired outcomes from the course as observed in student behaviors. They must indicate demonstrable learning expected of the student for the successful completion of the course."

    The main points stated above are: 1) the objectives be student-centered; that is, it is an outcome the student will achieve and 2) the objectives are measurable in that they are written in a way that the desired outcome or objective is something the student will do.

    The following are examples of objectives from various courses that follow this format:

    Upon completion of the course the student will be able to:

            • State strategies that women can use to manage their health care and enhance their wellness.
            • Describe specific environmental and occupational factors that affect the wellness of women in today's society.
            • Relate the recent technological advancements that can assist women in achieving and maintaining wellness.
            • Explain children's rights in criminal and family court.
            • Compare different types of testimony such as eyewitness testimony, confessions and hypnotically produced evidence.
            • Explain the environmental stimuli in today's society which impact on persons of various cultural and religious groups.
            • Identify those laws affecting copyright and explain the major components of those laws.
            • Demonstrate the procedure for securing copyright registration and identify benefits of registration.
            • Summarize an understanding of the evolution and impact of participatory and spectator recreation and sport.
            • Relate classroom experiences to theoretical principles of learning, human development and instruction.

    The bold words are action verbs obtained from the last column of the table below.

    Major Categories in the Cognitive Domain of the Taxonomy of Educational Objectives (Bloom, 1956)

    Examples of General Instructional Objectives and Behavioral Terms for the Cognitive Domain of the Taxonomy

    Descriptions of the Major Categories in the Cognitive Domain Illustrative General Instructional Objectives Illustrative Behavioral Term, Stating Specific Learning Outcomes
    Knowledge. Knowledge is defined as the remembering of previously learned material This may involve the recall of a wide range of material, from specific facts to complete theories, but all that is required is the bringing to mind of the appropriate information. Knowledge represents the lowest level of learning outcomes in the cognitive domain.
    • Knows common terms
    • Knows specific facts
    • Knows methods and procedures
    • Knows basic concepts
    • Knows principles
    Defines, describes, identifies, labels, lists, matches, names, outlines, produces, selects, states
    Comprehension. Comprehension is defined as the ability to grasp the meaning of material. This may be shown by translating material from one form to another (words to numbers), by interpreting material (explaining or summarizing), and by estimating future trends (predicting consequences or effects). These learning outcomes go one step beyond the simple remembering of material, and represent the lowest level of understanding.
    • Understands facts and principles
    • Interprets verbal material
    • Interprets charts and graphs
    • Translates verbal material to mathematical formulas
    • Estimates future consequences implied in data
    • Justifies methods and procedures
    • Applies concepts and principles to new situations
    Converts, defends, distinguishes, estimates, explains, extends, generalizes, gives examples, infers, paraphrases, predicts, rewrites, summarizes
    Application. Application refers to the ability to use learned material in new and concrete situations. This may include the application of such things as rules, methods, concepts, principles, laws, and theories. Learning outcomes in this area require a higher level of understanding than those under comprehension.
    • Applies concepts and principles to new situations
    • Applies laws and theories to practical situations
    • Solves mathematical problems
    • Constructs charts and graphs
    • Demonstrates correct usage of a method or procedure
    Changes, computes, demonstrates, discovers, manipulates, modifies, operates, predicts, prepares, produces, relates, shows, solves, uses
    Analysis. Analysis refers to the ability to break down the material into its component parts so that its organizational structure may be understood. This may include the identification of the parts, analysis of the relationships between parts, and recognition of the organizational principles involved. Learning outcomes here represent a higher intellectual level than comprehension and application because they require an understanding of both the content and the structural form of the material.
    • Recognizes unstated assumptions
    • Recognizes logical fallacies in reasoning
    • Distinguishes between facts and inferences
    • Evaluates the relevancy of data
    • Analyzes the organizational structure of a work (art, music, writing)
    Breaks down, diagrams, differentiates, discriminates, distinguishes, identifies, illustrates, infers, outlines, points out, relates, selects, separates, subdivides
    Synthesis. Synthesis refers to the ability to put parts together to form a new whole. This may involve the production of a unique communication (theme or speech), a plan of operations (research proposal), or a set of abstract relations (scheme for classifying information). Learning outcomes in this area stress creative behaviors, with major emphasis on the formulation of new patterns or structures.
    • Writes a well-organized theme
    • Gives a well-organized speech
    • Writes a creative short story (or poem, or music)
    • Proposes a plan for an experiment
    • Integrates learning from different areas into a plan for solving a problem
    • Formulates a new scheme for classifying objects (or events, or ideas)
    Categorizes, combines, compiles, composes, creates, devises, designs, explains, generates, modifies, organizes, plans, rearranges, reconstructs, relates, reorganizes, revises, rewrites, summarizes, tells, writes
    Evaluation. Evaluation is concerned with the ability to judge the value of material (statement, novel, poem, research report) for a given purpose. The judgments are to be based on definite criteria. These may be internal criteria (organization) or external criteria (relevance to the purpose) and the student may determine the criteria or be given them. Learning outcomes in this area are highest in the cognitive hierarchy because they contain elements of all of the other categories, plus conscious value judgments based on clearly defined criteria.
    • Judges the logical consistency of written material
    • Judges the adequacy with which conclusions are supported by data
    • Judges the value of a work (art, music, writing) by use of internal criteria
    • Judges the value of a work (art, music, writing) by use of external standards of excellence
    Appraises, compares, concludes, contrasts, criticizes, describes, discriminates, explains, justifies, interprets, relates, summarizes, supports
    source: Gronlund, N. E.. (1970). Stating Behavioral Objectives for Classroom Instruction. Toronto: The Macmillan Company.