Distinct Features of Courses In College Programs That Benefit Students

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    Nov 14, 2013
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Distinct Features of Courses In College Programs That Benefit Students Photo by Jason White

College courses are at the heart of any college program. They are where students learn the skills they will employ long after they enter the field. Therefore, the coordinators of the program must take into account a few things when choosing the courses to include.

Relevancy: College courses are known for being very current. Because they strive to balance theory and practical application, courses are often revised on a regular basis. At Centennial College for example, many programs review their courses yearly to ensure that they are all still relevant.

Theory-Practice Balance: While lectures are an important part of any college class because they establish a foundation, equally important is an opportunity for students to apply what they have learned in a controlled environment where they can make mistakes. This theory-practice balance is a huge part of the college program equation as coordinators must figure out how many hours to devote to theory and how many will go to practice. College students then end up benefiting from practical application tools that include group projects or presentation, case studies, role-playing, simulation in-class or in a mock environment, experiments, computer software training, and the ultimate hands-on experience: a field placement.

Collaborations with Educational Partners: When programs are being put together, sometimes part of the curriculum comes from educational partners, such as respected organizations within the field. This serves to enhance students' resumes as they will be able to show employers that they have been trained to industry standards. For example, Centennial College's Payroll Management program has courses that are delivered in partnership with the Canadian Payroll Association (CPA). As such, qualified students are eligible to earn the Payroll Compliance Practitioner (PCP) professional designation granted by the Association.

Opinions from the Field: Obtaining the opinion of experts in the field when putting together a college program is vital. What are the latest trends? How can these trends be incorporated into lessons? These are just two of the questions that are asked of outside experts. At Centennial College, these opinions are incorporated in a number of ways. For example, the Children's Entertainment: Writing, Production and Management program was formulated and developed by some of the most respected contemporary producers, writers and industry leaders in Canada. Today, an active program advisory committee continuously guides it with members from across the spectrum of areas that involve and affect children's entertainment.

Room for Discussion: Because courses are typically small in size compared to that of university programs, courses take into account the facilitation of class discussions. Many instructors encourage students to exchange ideas instead of just lecturing at them so courses are set up in such a way that will allow time for debate and dialogue. This enhances student learning as discussions may lead to questions that a number of students wanted to ask.

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In her article, Emma examines the different aspects that are taken into account when College Programs put together their curriculum, such as how much of a theory-application balance students will enjoy and how much room should be left for class discussions.

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