Start a Course

Here are the main steps to starting your own class:

1. Developing syllabus

2. Documents and background information

3. Complete the Course Proposal Form

4. Turn in the Course Proposal Form

For additional resources and information, please visit this page. If it’s your first time facilitating, consider attending a DeCal start-up workshop! For further information and RSVP, visit here.

(Back to topDeveloping syllabus:

The course syllabus is your primary tool for making sure that your class has a “map” to follow. It is a very useful way to develop your vision for how the class will work. A well-written syllabus demonstrates the facilitator’s commitment to the course, its students and the faculty sponsor. As the semester progresses, it is acceptable to deviate from the map, but it is good to have a plan! Your students also need to know what is going on and what will be expected of them. It is very important to have a clear understanding with your students.

In the syllabus, you should list any assignments and due dates. Your grading policy should be written as clearly as possible, as well as your attendance policy if you have one in detail. Tell students what they need to do to get a “P” in your course. You should have a description of the course. You should also have your contact information and a way that students can meet with you if they have questions or are especially interested in the topic (hint: for a good class, get your students to meet with you outside of class, it makes everything a lot more personal and interesting for all involved).

It is also possible to create a syllabus and a class that are both structured and flexible. For example, you can indicate that you and your students will decide ground rules for the class. Similarly, you may wish to leave time in your class schedule for student presentations, or for students to lead the class for a week. For more information, consult us, visit UCFTR, or attend a facilitator training.

(Back to topDocuments and Background Information

After you have developed the structure of your course, print out the “Course Proposal Form” (CPF).

Before you start filling out the CPF, run through the student checklist to make sure you have everything prepared. Fully understand the university policies and ensure that your course and syllabus is in compliance with all requirements and regulations.


The CPF and student checklist

UC Policies

(Back to topComplete the Course Proposal Form

The CPF may be somewhat confusing if it is your first time seeing it. Here are some quick descriptions to each item on the form.

Date Submitted: The date you completed and turned in your form

Term to be Offered: The semester which your course will be offered

Campus Department: The department which your course belongs to. It does not necessarily have to be the same with your faculty sponsor’s department. Consult the department contact for further information.

Course Title: Name of your course

Course Number: Whether you are offering your course as an upper or lower division course

Number of units: Number of units you are giving. Usually each DeCal course gives out 1~2 units. You can offer both 1 and 2 units and let students decide the number of units they want.

Student Facilitator Name(s): Your name. If you have a co-facilitator, put down his or her name as well

Student Facilitator Email Address(es): You and your co-facilitator’s email address

Instructor of Record Name: Your faculty sponsor’s name. A faculty sponsor has to be a lecturer or a faculty member who is authorized to create and manage a class within the university (GSIs don’t count, sorry) and is responsible for all the requirements on the faculty checklist. Your faculty sponsor can be a valuable source to you- they have already created and taught courses!

Instructor of Record Email Address: Your faculty sponsor’s email address

Check-Box Questions: Instruction is given. “Appropriate Department Staff Person or Website” refers to your course advisor. You can find them here. Sometimes the department contact is your course advisor. Your course advisor deals with the logistical details for your class. When you talk to the advisor, be flexible with your room request and have a number of room preferences in mind and also know what kind of classroom you’ll need – e.g. how big? do you need a projector? AirBears access? Individual desks, or a conference room layout?

Signatures: This is the most crucial part of your CPF. Make sure you have it signed by appropriate personnel.

Student Course Facilitators: Your Signature

Department Chair: The department chair is responsible for making the final decision of whether or not your course is appropriate. Contact the staff in your department to understand the department procedures. Drop by the department office or contact the department staff. Don’t forget to include a copy of your course syllabus. (NOTE: DeCals under the College of Engineering should get the Department Chair’s signature and then also the Dean’s approval from the ESS office located at 230 Bechtel Engineering Centee). The person in position may differ from year to year. Obtain the information from your department website or department contact.

Instructor of Record: The faculty sponsor for your course. For tips on finding a sponsor, visit this page.

(Back to topTurn in the Course Proposal Form

After you complete all the previous steps, attach your syllabus to the CPF and turn them to:

1. Academic Senate: 320 Stephens Hall

2. Dean of the College of your Department: Ask your department contact for the location. Don’t forget to attach a copy of your syllabus! Some departments will make copies and send them out for you; others won’t.

3. DeCal Office: As of Fall 2016, the DeCal Board will not be accepting hard copies of the CPF and syllabus. In order to get your course listed on the DeCal website (we do not approve DeCal courses), please refer to the instructions on our homepage. We are not accepting Spring 2017 courses until November 9th. Thank you for your patience.

Be sure to know the deadlines to turn in your CPFs. There are two sets of deadlines. One is the Academic Senate deadline, another one the department deadline. You need to meet both. The Academic Senate Deadline for Fall 2014 Courses is July 15th. Late submissions must be accompanied by a letter from the dean or department chair (or their designate) clearly laying out the reasons for the lateness (email is acceptable). Some Departmental Deadlines can be found here, but be sure to check with your specific Department to make sure when your deadline is. Different departments have different policies regarding late submission. Consult your department contact for further information.