Date: Fri, 03 Jan 1997 18:12:24 -0700 (PDT)
                                        From: Curt DeBerg <>

Service-Learning Colleagues:

Below is a "text-only" file of a syllabus that I use for a 3-unit course called "Business and Computer Literacy in the Community." Students from across disciplines are eligible to enroll; however, they must complete one semester of "service" before they can qualify for this course.

This past semester, seven students completed the course. Sample copies of their end-of-semester essays are available upon request.

If you would prefer to receive a copy of the syllabus (with formatting) via an MS Word "attached" file, please send me a personal e-mail. Alternatively, I would be willing to send you a hard copy if you send me your surface mail address. Thank you, and may 1997 be a happy and productive year for you.....Curt DeBerg

Business and Computer Literacy in the Community

Accounting 189C: Cooperative Education/Service-Learning

Course Syllabus - Fall 1996
SLN: 11038

Instructor: Curtis L. DeBerg
Office: Tehama 309
Phone: 898-4824
Office Hours: Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, 3-5 p.m., and by appointment Class Meetings: Wednesday evening, 6 p.m., Glenn 321, 6 p.m.-8:50 p.m.


Resource Materials (Required)

Course Workbook:

Using Math to Make Business Decisions. Also, Mentor/Instructor Guidelines.

E-Mail Account:

By Friday, September 13, you must obtain an e-mail account and send me a message (see address above) describing why you've signed up for this course.

Course Objectives

The objective of this course is for students to participate in, and reflect upon, a service-learning experience entitled Business and Computer Literacy in the Community. Students from any discipline, at any level, can earn three units of credit/no credit by signing up for an independent study entitled "Internship and Cooperative Education." While this course historically has been used to accommodate internships, it also permits credit for students who wish to gain practical experience with organizations that give students a chance to study policy, control, and decision-making in a specialized work environment. This course provides one avenue to integrate a service-learning component into the undergraduate learning experience. Because the supervising faculty member is a member of the College of Business, specifically accounting, the course is offered through the accounting department.

Students completing this project are required to complete at least 50 hours by participating in Students in Free Enterprise (SIFE) over the course of two semesters. Therefore, only students who participated in SIFE in a previous semester, and who contributed at least 20 hours, are eligible for credit in ACC 189C.

Service-Learning Defined

Service-learning is an educational experience in which students participate in an organized service activity that meets identified community and/or university needs. The activity should allow them to reflect on their service in such a way as to gain a further understanding of course content and/or an enhanced sense of civic responsibility. In many cases, students should be rewarded for this service in the form of academic credit, bonus points in existing classes, or monetary compensation (e.g., scholarships, stipends).

What is SIFE?

Founded in 1975, SIFE is a non-profit educational organization that works in partnership with business and higher education, providing college students the leadership experience of establishing free enterprise community outreach programs that teach others how market economies and business operate. Currently, the SIFE organization consists of about 30,000 students at over 350 colleges and universities.

One of the most unique aspects of the organization is the annual regional and national contests to recognize the best community service and business development projects organized by participating colleges and universities. Competition against other teams has lead to dramatic increases in overall quality of projects during the past three to four years. Another beneficial aspect is the added exposure to potential recruiters, given that many of the judges for the competitions are leaders from industry. For example, at the 1996 national competition in Kansas City, judges included the chairman of Ford Motor Company, the president of Radio Shack, and the chairman & chief operating officer of Wal-Mart. Criteria used in judging include:

  1. Creativity, innovation, and effectiveness of the projects (40 points)
  2. How well the students evaluated the results of the program (20 points)
  3. How well the students utilized their resources, including their business advisory board , faculty and students from non-business disciplines, and the mass media (20 points)
  4. The quality of the annual report (10 points)
  5. The effectiveness of the competition presentation to the judges (10 points).

What Projects are Undertaken by the CSU, Chico SIFE Team?

The students on the CSU, Chico team have created five major project areas that team members may serve: K-12 school relations and lesson delivery, publishing, public relations, technology infusion, and accounting/finance. One of the team's main projects has been a middle school math project called "Using Math to Make Business Decisions." A key feature of the program is that each middle school student, under the mentorship and consultation of the SIFE team, starts a real-life "mini-business." Also, starting Spring 1996, high school "associate" mentors are teamed with veteran university mentors in team-teaching. The lessons emphasize the application of math in problem-based approaches, using technology available at the schools and the university.

Publishing is a second major project. In addition to an annual report and semiannual newsletters, the major publishing project consists of selecting, editing, publishing, and disseminating The Accounting Student Journal. Selected articles represent the finest essays written by students enrolled in CSU, Chico's undergraduate business courses. Essays written by students completing this course will be considered for publication in future volumes. A third program is the technology infusion program, where students have acquired state-of-the-art laptop computers and video display projection systems by authoring grants within and external to the university. Starting Fall 1996, the lessons at the junior high will be delivered using Powerpoint presentations and motion graphics. A fourth noteworthy program involves the SIFE team's emphasis on public relations and dissemination. In addition to producing a documentary that aired on the local PBS television station, members of the team have traveled to Washington, DC the past two years to participate in the American Association for Higher Education's national conference on school/college collaboration.

What Makes the Course Unique?

This course is unique in several respects. First, it has elements of both external service-learning and internal service-learning for students. Second, the team is multidisciplinary. Third, the team's evaluation is externally-based, according to specific and measurable criteria. Fourth, the faculty adviser's work can be compared to that of a baseball manager. The adviser oversees all aspects of the organization, with student leaders directing specific project areas. And while most of the students specialize in one or two areas, they all depend on one another to maximize team performance at the competitions.

One of the most aspects of this project lies in its potential to contribute to a seamless education. Taking the baseball analogy one step further, university and community college students can be viewed as the major league players, high school students as AAA players, middle school students in the instructional league, and so on. In fact, the SIFE team's motto is "Students Helping Students." All players have a common goal: to serve and to succeed. How each team performs together, in a competitive setting, provides an independent measure of success.

Course Requirements

Five requirements must be met in order to demonstrate that successful completion of this course.

  1. You must attend the Wednesday night meetings in Glenn 312.
  2. You must become familiar with the 23 lessons delivered to eighth grade math students.
  3. Each student must be a member of at least one Project Team.
  4. During the semester, you must keep a "log" describing what you did and when you did it. The log must show at least 30 hours of service in order to earn three units of credit. At the end of the semester, you must write a three-to-five page summary (double-spaced) reflecting on your experience. The paper should describe the project, explain what you learned, offer recommendations to improve the project, and indicate whether or not you plan to continue with the project after the semester is over.