Frequently Asked Questions
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The Curriculum Office is responsible for coordinating the development of class schedules for TSTC Waco. Each department is responsible for determining student needs, faculty loads, and facilities required for a particular semester. The curriculum office provides support in managing several aspects in the process, including: setting deadlines for course section entry, establishing guidelines for dates and times of class sections, monitoring class size , and providing feedback on space utilization.
Q: How are new sections entered into the course management system (Datatel Colleague)?
A: There are different levels of permissions for entering curriculum in colleague. The TSTC Systems Office of Educational Services (Judy Pursche) is responsible for setting up new four digit subject area prefix codes (e.g. RBPT for residential building). The TSTC Waco office (Kyle Massey or Janie Vicinais) is responsible for setting up individual courses (e.g. RBPT 2329). Programs (via their Cluster Secretaries) are responsible for setting up individual sections (e.g. RBPT 2329.1001). Normally we offer class sections for courses that have been offered before, so only the cluster secretary is involved.
Q: How do academic and support courses get scheduled to coordinate with technical classes?
A: Each technical program will have one or more time blocks within the TSTC Block Schedule designated for these classes. There are eight of these roughly two hour blocks that will ensure that academic/support courses are distrubuted throughout the day and week. In its simplest form it can be thought of as early morning, late morning, early afternoon, and late afternoon blocks that occur either on Monday-Wednesday-Friday (MWF) or Tuesday-Thursday (TR). If you have questions about which block your program should utilize, please contact the curriculum office.
Q: If I am running out of classroom space, how can I make sure I am maximizing the resources I have?
A: If the classroom has only one door/exit, then it cannot exceed a capacity of 50 occupants (per OSHA and NFPA codes). Room capacities can be changed based upon the type of furniture that is in the rooms.
Local Needs/Special Topics Courses
Q: What is the difference between Local Needs and Special Topics Courses?
A: Special Topics Courses are courses with flexible content that changes from semester to semester. Local Needs Courses represent content that changes little from semester to semester, but the course description and outcomes fall outside the scope of current WECM courses.
Q: How do I apply for a Local Needs Course?
A: If a program and its industry advisory committee determine that they need to add a course that does not fit one of the existing WECM courses, they should complete a Local Needs Application Form (available from Vickie Flores in the Curriculum Office), and submit it to the Curriculum Office. Local Needs courses require approval from the THECB and are normally submitted with program revisions in the spring prior to fall pre-registration and publication of the catalog for the new academic year. Notification of approval is normally given by THECB within 60 days of the application.
Q: How do I apply for a Special Topics Course?
A: If a program determines that they need to add a course with flexible content that addresses innovation and trends in the career field, they should complete a Special Topics Application Form (available from Vickie Flores in the Curriculum Office), and submit it to the Curriculum Office. Once the Curriculum Office receives the form, the course can be activated in Colleague. No THECB approval is required for a Special Topics course, but the form must be sent to be eligible for state funding. Programs should be prepared to substitute it for other program requirements if it is not a part of the officially approved program curriculum.
Q: How do I renew my Local Needs Courses?
A: Local Needs courses are approved for a period of two years. In the month of May, THECB sends a report to the Curriculum Office that details enrollment for each Local Needs course that is expiring that year and requests feedback on which ones should be renewed. The Curriculum Office will contact the affected programs and request them to communicate their intentions regarding the renewal or cancellation of the courses. THECB normally requires a response by the end of June on renewals.
Q: What are WECM course outcomes?
A:The WECM course outcomes, or end-of-course outcomes as WECM calls them, are statements that describe what students will be able to know or do as a result of the educational experience of completing a particular course. These outcomes are what the instructor should use to design learning activities, and are the outcomes around which assessments should be based. Importantly, the WECM outcomes communicate to employers and others what a student knows or can do as a result of completing a course.
Q: As an instructor, can I add additional course outcomes?
Yes you can. WECM outcomes represent the minimal learning in a course. You can add additional course outcomes with the Syllabus Application. We call these TSTC outcomes. Be sure to write the new outcomes such that they are observable and measurable, and describe essential knowledge or skills that a student will acquire by the end of the course. The Coordinator of Curriculum, Kyle Massey, is available to you as a resource to help you structure and format outcome statements.
Q: Can I change/edit the WECM outcomes for a course?
A: It is not possible to remove any WECM outcome from a course. When teaching a WECM course, it is your responsibility as the instructor to use all of its WECM outcomes.
If necessary, it is possible to enhance the WECM outcomes for a course. Sometimes, WECM outcomes are purposely written without standards or criteria so that institutions have the opportunity to tailor the outcomes to meet their own local needs. For example a WECM course outcome might be: "Construct widgets". The department teaching the course with this outcome has the opportunity to enhance this outcome by adding a particular standard or criteria to it. For example, "Construct widgets that meet or exceed WDA1500X design standards and WDA2000 durability thresholds".
You cannot currently enhance WECM outcomes within the syllabus application. If you or your department has a need to enhance WECM outcomes, please contact the Coordinator of Curriculum.
Q: What happens at the WECM workshops?
Q: How can I attend a WECM workshop as an Instructional Specialist?