Facilitating EECS DeCal Classes

What is a DeCal?

DeCal (Democratic Education at Cal) courses offer students the opportunity to teach a topic in which they have training and about which they feel passionate. Any student may propose a course, and if the proposal is approved, they will work with a faculty member to design, facilitate and manage a semester-long class.

What is the process for creating an EE or CS DeCal?

  1. Create a proposal. See https://decal.berkeley.edu/facilitate/start-your-own-course for detailed information.

  2. Bring your completed proposal (can be unsigned) to either EE Scheduler  or CS Scheduler to discuss class scheduling and enrollment needs.

  3. Submit your proposal to the appropriate Department Chair's Assistant by the submission deadline. Late or incomplete submissions will no longer be accepted.  Your proposal will be submitted to COCI for evaluation/approval by the Department Chair. 

  4. To have class listed on the DeCal website, go to https://decal.berkeley.edu (if necessary, create an account) and submit your proposal. Be aware that the DeCal student organization has different deadlines and requirements than the Academic Senate.

  5. If you are a first-time facilitator, attend a training workshop.


When is the deadline?

The deadline for Fall 2018 DeCal course proposals to be turned in to the appropriate Department Chair's Assistant is
Wednesday, August 8th.

** Electronic, late, or incomplete submissions will not be considered. **

EE DeCal proposals should be submitted to 225 Cory Hall.

CS DeCal proposals should be submitted to 389 Soda Hall.

In future semesters, DeCal proposals for SPRING semesters will be due to the EECS Chairs' assistants no later than 2 weeks prior to the COCI deadline. DeCal proposals for FALL semesters will be due no later than 1 week prior to the COCI deadline. Visit the Academic Senate website for more deadlines and more information.


Required Documents for the Course Proposal Packet

The course proposal form must be completed each semester by the sponsoring department for every student-facilitated 98 or 198 course offered for academic credit. The following must be submitted to the Academic Senate in hard copy (paper):

1.  Course Proposal Form, signed by your faculty sponsor.   Please download the form here.

2.  Fully developed syllabus including the following information: 

  • an outline of course content
  • a reading list
  • a statement of frequency of class meetings
  • a clear description of assignments and requirements for passing the class
  • key learning outcomes
  • method(s) of instruction
  • method(s) of evaluation of student performance

An example of a fully developed syllabus can be found at the Center for Teaching & Learning. Additional resources may be found at the website for Undergraduate Course Facilitator Training & Resources(UCFTR).

 3.  Unit Value Worksheet. This form can be downloaded from the Academic Senate website here.  

When completing the unit value worksheet ensure that the minimum total work hours are equivalent to the unit value of the course (e.g.: there are at least 45 hours for a 1 unit course).

Also ensure that any requirements outlined in the worksheet are explained fully in the course syllabus.

4.  Faculty Sponsor Letter of Supportletter of support from the instructor of record must be provided for each course the instructor is sponsoring. This letter is required for all student-facilitated course proposals starting SP 18. The letter should be written on department letterhead, signed by the instructor, and address the five questions explaining the role and relationship the instructor has with the course. 

Roles and Responsibilities

Student Facilitators

COCI expects that students interested in facilitating a course have taken serious consideration of the time and responsibility required for preparing and facilitating a course. All students should review and affirm that each item on the Student Checklist in the Course Proposal Form has been addressed before facilitating a course.

Training Requirement 

All first-time student-facilitators must undergo training.  The Student Learning Center’s Undergraduate Course Facilitator Training and Resources unit (UCFTR) offers a number of workshops and one-on-one trainings each semester to support students. Additionally student facilitators may enroll in the Craft of Facilitating course (EDUC 197, Sec 12) in order to get on-going support and credit for their work. For more information please refer to:http://slc.berkeley.edu/undergraduate-course-facilitator-training-resources-ucftr


Special Studies Website – Provides overview information about Special Studies 98/198 courses as part of undergraduate education at Berkeley.

FAQ about Student-Facilitated Courses – Provides answers to some of the more frequently asked questions.

Undergraduate Course Facilitator Training & Resources (UCFTR) Website(link is external) - Provides a volume of information for training workshops, policies, and tools to support students developing their own course.

Instructor of Record

Instructors of record are expected to work with student facilitators to develop courses that are academic in nature and meet workload requirements, supervise the student facilitators, and submit final grades (among other requirements). See the Faculty Checklist in the Course Proposal Form for a detailed checklist of responsibilities for the instructor of record. 


FAQ for instructors of record - COCI has created a frequently asked questions document specifically for instructors who are considering sponsoring a student-facilitated course. COCI strongly recommends that instructors review this document before agreeing to sponsor a student-facilitated course.

Department Chair

COCI expects department chairs to ensure that instructors of record are providing appropriate supervision, that courses have academic requirements, and that resources and administrative support are available to student facilitators. See the Department Chair Checklist in the Course Proposal Form for a detailed checklist laying out the responsibilities of the sponsoring department.


How do I obtain Department Chair's approval, and when?

Once you have a completed proposal packet with the signature from your Instructor of Record, deliver the pack to the appropriate Department Chair's Assistant in Soda or Cory Hall.  Fall 2018 DeCal proposals need to be delivered to the Chairs' Assistants no later than August 8, 2018


How can I get a class time scheduled and a classroom assigned?

The EE and CS Schedulers are the people who reserve classrooms and set up the class information into the enrollment system for your class.

1.  Once you have a completed a DeCal proposal (including faculty sponsor letter, unit-value worksheet, syllabus, etc.), provide a complete and fully signed copy to the EE Scheduler or CS Scheduler either in person or as a PDF by email.

2. Provide the following information along with the proposal packet to the EE or CS Scheduler:

  • # of seats needed
  • first choice of day(s)/time to teach,
  • an acceptable range of other options for day(s)/time in case your first choice is not available
  • any specific characteristics of the room you would like to teach in (e.g., movable chairs, specific a/v equipment, etc.).  If you already have a location reserved, let the Scheduler know that.

The Scheduler will create the course in the campus online schedule of classes and share the section # and the class # with you. 

Campus Scheduling will be approached to reserve space for your class if there is no appropriate room in Soda or Cory Halls.  You will be notified when a room has been found and a specific schedule has been set.

Note: Classrooms for DeCal classes are set up via CS Scheduling. Please do not request a room via bcal in Soda or Cory Hall yourself.


How can I publish my DeCal course?

Once your course has been approved and cleared through the review process, the Chair's Assistant will send you a copy of your approved course proposal form. To publish your course on the DeCal website, please log into the DeCal website and submit your approved proposal.


How do I handle DeCal course enrollment and roster?

The Enrollment Manager is the person who creates the enrollment capacity for your class and designates how students will be able to enroll. You will work with the Enrollment Manager for any enrollment-related issues as well.

Once the Scheduler has provided you with the section number and class number for your DeCal class, you can contact the CS Enrollment Manager to discuss how to handle enrollment.

 There are three ways enrollment can be handled for a DeCal class:

  •          Open enrollment – this is first come, first enrolled no matter who the students are. No priority is given by major, no distinction is made between lower div, upper div or grad students. This method requires the least effort on your part but also allows the least control over enrollment.
  •          Permission code distributed by facilitators– this is the most popular choice because it gives you the most flexibility and control. Enrollment is restricted to ‘instructor consent’ on Cal Central. You can then create your own enrollment form outside Cal Central to help you determine who should get into the class. The Enrollment Manager provides you with SINGLE USE permission codes that you can distribute to approved students. They use these codes when they enroll into your class.
  •          Student-specific permission codes – this option prevents students from applying to enroll in your class and then giving the single-use permission code to someone else. This method is secure but rarely used because it requires you to provide a full list of students (names and SIDs) to your class to the Enrollment Manager within the first four weeks of the semester. The CS Enrollment Manager then generates the student-specific permissions and you then must notify the students that they can enroll into the class.


Can I receive units for facilitating a DeCal course?

Yes. To get teaching credit for your DeCal, you need to enroll into the CS 197 or EE 197section assigned to your faculty sponsor. To do this:

  1.        Create a list of instructors/TAs who need this credit. The list should include names and SIDs.
  2.        Provide and review this list with your instructor of record to ensure they know who they will be submitting grades for at the end of the semester.
  3.       Email the list to the Enrollment Manager who will then create student-specific permissions for you and notify you when you can enroll for credit.

EE197 and CS 197 are offered for 1-4 units. Facilitators enroll in units up to the unit value of the DeCal course they facilitate.


How can I set up a bCourses course site?

Your faculty sponsor, who is the Instructor of Record for the course, will need to set up the bCourses site and delegate access to you.


Whom do I contact for help managing enrollments?

If you have a waitlist for your class and want to drop students who have enrolled but haven’t attended class, you can request a class roster from the Enrollment Manager to cross reference with your attendance records.  The Enrollment Manager would need any list of students you wish to drop for non-attendance by no later than 5pm Wednesday of the third week of class

If you plan to drop students for non-attendance, you need to have communicated (in your syllabus and/or the class website) from the beginning of the semester that this is something you will do.

Where can I get more information?


EE Scheduler/Enrollment Manager - Lydia Raya (lraya@berkeley.edu)

CS Enrollment Manager - Cindy Conners (csconners@berkeley.edu)

CS Scheduler - Michael David Sasson (msasson@cs.berkeley.edu)

CS Dept Chair Assistant: Matthew Santillan

EE Dept Chair Assistant: Magali Lermigeaux


Lastly, a friendly word of reminder...

As a facilitator of a DeCal course, you will assume a lot of responsibilities resembling those of an instructor in order to create a positive experience for all participants. We strongly encourage you to review this webpage and links provided above, to maintain close contact with your faculty sponsor to ensure clear communication, and to seek help as needed. Happy DeCal facilitating!