Submitting an Effective Course or Webcast Proposal

Proposal Success: Submitting an Effective Continuing Education Proposal

Amber L. Cushing, University of North Carolina, and Naomi L. Nelson, Rubenstein Library, Duke University (On behalf of the SAA Committee on Education)

If you’ve been thinking about submitting a proposal to develop and teach an SAA course, here are a few questions to think about before you get started on your proposal.

What need does your course fill?
Take a look at the other courses and webcasts SAA offers and think about how your offering would complement them. Are you filling a gap? Or providing a deeper exploration of a topic introduced in a broader offering? Or providing a needed overview of a broad area explored in greater depth in a series of other offerings? Or addressing the needs of an audience not addressed in other offerings on similar topics? What evidence is there that archivists are looking for the information or experience you plan to offer?

Why are you the right person (or persons) to teach this course or webcast?
What experiences have prepared you to be an instrictor for this course or webcast? Don’t forget to include other experiences you have teaching or presenting. What has shaped your understanding of the topic(s) you plan to present? What readings will you include in your bibliography? Be sure to update your CV so it will be ready to accompany your proposal form.

What will participants be able to do after taking your course or webcast?
Think about specific learning outcomes and use action verbs to describe those outcomes. Avoid verbs related to simple understanding or awareness. Here are some examples of action verbs related to categories of learning:

  • Knowledge: define, list, recognize
  • Comprehension: characterize, describe, explain, identify, locate, recognize, sort
  • Application: choose, demonstrate, implement, perform
  • Analysis: analyze, categorize, compare, differentiate
  • Evaluation: assess, critique, evaluate, rank, rate

How will you structure the course/workshop?
With your learning outcomes in hand, in broad strokes map out what you want to cover and how you plan to do so. Teaching strategies include lecturing, discussing, analyzing case studies, completing hands-on exercises, or taking field trips. You don’t need to develop a detailed syllabus—just an outline that shows the topics or skills you will cover, how you will cover them, and how much time you will need for each section or activity.   

Please also visit the Course Development Process page for more information about types of course formats. If you’d like to talk through your ideas or if you have questions about the process, contact SAA's Director of Education, Kara Adams.

This article first appeared in Archival Outlook, July/August 2012, p. 19.