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Sample Syllabus DS 106

DS 106 - Success Group

Course Description:

Designed specifically for students who are dissatisfied with their academic performance and who wish to improve their achievement in college courses. Stresses elimination of self-defeating attitudes and behaviors, setting and achieving short-term academic goals, identification of motives that lead to failure, learning to accept responsibility for one's behavior, and building a more positive attitude about one's potential for college success. Does not deal primarily with study habits or techniques, but with motives and attitudes related to academic success. Two hours laboratory each week. 1 semester credit.

Course Text & Required Materials:

On Course: Strategies for Creating Success in College and in Life (Fourth Edition) Skip Downing



Intended for college students of any age who want to create success both in college and in life. College may be unfamiliar now, but grab your compass, your book bag, and your dreams, and start discovering yourself. Step onto the road to success and begin moving in the right direction. The right direction is certainly a very personal choice, but working through On Course can help you determine the choices you must make to succeed.

Goals & Objectives (Student Outcomes)

Students will:

  • Take charge of your life. You will learn how to take greater personal responsibility, gaining more control over the outcomes that you create both in college and in life.          
  • Increase self-motivation.  You will learn to create greater inner motivation by discovering your own personally meaningful goals and dreams.
  • Improve personal self-management.  You will learn numerous strategies for taking control of your time and energy, allowing you to move more effectively and efficiently toward the accomplishment of your goals and dreams.
  • Develop mutually supportive relationships. You will learn how to develop meaningful relationships with people who will support you to achieve your goals and dreams as you assist them to achieve theirs.
  • Increase self-awareness.  You will learn how to understand and revise your self-defeating patterns of behavior, thought, and emotion as well as your unconscious limiting beliefs.
  • Maximize your learning. You will discover the natural process of effective learning and understand how to apply that process according to your individual learning style preferences.  This knowledge will enable you not only to get better grades in college but also to be a more effective life-long learner.
  • Develop emotional maturity.  You will learn effective strategies for managing your emotional life, decreasing distress while increasing your inner sense of well-being.
  • Raise your self-esteem.  You will learn how to develop self-acceptance, self-confidence, self-respect, self-love, and unconditional self-worth.
  • Write more effectively.  You will learn how to improve your writing skills through the extensive writing practices offered by your guided journal entries.
  • Improve creative and critical thinking skills.  You will learn how to enhance the thinking skills essential for analyzing and solving problems in your academic, professional, and personal lives.
  • Master effective study skills.  You will learn how to raise your grades in college by improving essential skills like reading, note-taking, memorizing, studying and test-taking.


Instructional Methods:  Lectures, small group activities, self-assessment, practice exercises, and class discussion.
Grading and course requirements:  
  • Do the work (All work must be completed on time) To support my success, I choose to do my very best work in preparing all of my assignments and hand them in on time.
  • Show Up  (Attendance is required) To support my success, I choose to attend every scheduled class period in its entirety.
  • Participation actively  To support my success, I choose to stay mentally alert in every class, offering my best comments, questions, and answers when appropriate.


Below 59%

Statement with Disabilities: If you have a disability that will require accommodation, please make your request known. I am reasonably sure we can work out whatever arrangements are necessary, be it special seating, testing, or other accommodations. If you have not already contacted the Disability Support Services Office, please do so to obtain a letter authorizing your accommodations.

Policies and Procedures:

Attendance and Participation:  You are expected to attend all class sessions.  It is your responsibility to confer with your instructor in the event of a necessary absence.  Going to each and every class prepared to learn is one the keystones of success in a college class

Students auditing this class are required to complete all assignments, attend class regularly, and take all exams.  While no grade will be recorded, the student is expected to participate in class activities as if he/she was being graded.


Readings:  Chapter readings are to be completed before the class period when the material is to be discussed.  Students will be quizzed on the required readings.  These quizzes will not be announced.  Expect them!

Homework Assignment Sheet:  To be a successful student, you must organize your homework assignments so that you get the most out of class by being prepared for class discussion.  This assignment sheet will require you to fill out when readings are required to be done and when homework assignments must be completed.

Self-Assessments:  Self-assessments are done to assist the student in learning about themselves. You will do one in the text, one handed out to you and one on-line. You will be required to show your assessment packet with your evaluation to the instructor. 

Weekly Planner Activity:  This assignment requires you to complete two documents:  one is your estimate as to how much study time you will need for each class you are taking.  To do this assignment, you must estimate how much time you will need to spend studying for each class.  If you are very good at a subject, you may want to schedule less time with that subject area.  In areas where you are weak, you may want to schedule more time for that subject area.  Keep in mind that grades are related to study time, class attendance, and a positive learning attitude.

The second part of this activity is an overview of your weekly activities as you now have them.  Fill in classes, work, travel, personal time, fun time, sleep, and other activities so that you can see exactly what your week looks like.  There are a finite number of hours each day/week.  We have to prioritize to have all our competing demands met the best we can.  

Worksheets:  As part of the class, you will receive instruction in concepts along with worksheets to support these concepts that must be completed as part of the grade earned in class.  These worksheets are to be completed and handed in for credit. 

Quizzes: Quizzes are an opportunity for you to check your knowledge.  Since this is a course for students you wish to be successful in college and in life, we must understand that one of the most important factors of success in any endeavor is consistent and active participation.  To encourage and reward your preparation for active participation at every class, regular unannounced quizzes on the readings will be given.  If you have read the assignment and completed your journal entry, you should have no trouble earning the maximum points for each quiz.  No quiz may be made up.

Note taking Activity:  Note taking is a very important skill.  Being able to remember the class lesson and ideas presented are important in allowing you to answer complex questions in new and unique ways.  This is called higher order learning.  Note taking allows you to record information not available in your book or the faculty member may present another way to accomplish the same task.  Good notes allow you to have the benefit of that in-class discussion at home.  If your notes are confusing, they are of little benefit. The note-taking assignments allow for critiquing your note-taking ability and learn how to improve your style.

Journal:  Your success journal provides an opportunity to explore your thoughts and feelings as you experiment with the success strategies presented in ON COURSE.  By carefully examining each strategy in your journal, you will discover which ones will assist you to create a rich, personally fulfilling life.  Although I will be collecting your journals and looking through them, write your journal for yourself, not for me.  Your journal entries will occasionally be read by your classmates. These numbered entries will be done outside of class unless otherwise indicated.   Occasionally, you will do lettered journals in class. Therefore, please bring your textbook and journal to every class.  At the end of the semester you will have your entire journal to keep for years to come.  Many students come to regard their personal journal as one of their most valued possessions.  

Journal Evaluations: I will collect journals regularly.  It is not my intention to read every journal entry you write.  Instead, I will look through your journal book to verify the completion of each assignment and to give credit for a job well done.  I read occasional journal entries to get a sense of the issues you are working on.  With this knowledge I can be of greater assistance to you this semester.  If you WANT my comment on a specific part of your journal, simply turn down the corner of the appropriate page.  On that page, write a note about the response you desire from me.

Privacy: Occasionally you may write a journal entry that you wish to keep private.  If so, simply fold the appropriate pages over and staple them closed at the top and bottom.  You have my work that I will respect your privacy.  I do reserve the right to confirm that there is, in fact, writing on those pages.  You may “lock” up to three journal entries; more than that will require my permission.  Locked journal entries will be given scores equal to the average score of all other journal entries.

Journal Points: You will receive maximum points if the journal fulfills the following criteria:

  1. The entry is complete (all steps in the directions have been responded to), and
  2. The entry is written with high standards (an obvious attempt has been made to dive deep).

Grammar, spelling, and punctuation will NOT be factors in awarding points in this journal.  You are free to express yourself without concern for standard English conventions.

Important Note: All journal entries must be completed to earn a passing grade in the course.

Personal Philosophy of Success:

As your final project, you will do a project that adequately presents your own personal philosophy of success.  You have a great deal of leeway in using whatever medium you choose to express yourself.   The purpose is to illustrate the success strategies you will use for years to come. 

  1. Demonstrate the student’s careful consideration of three or more important success strategies.
  2. Contain extensive support (examples, experience, evidence, and/or explanation) for each strategy and
  3. Show a commitment to excellence in preparation, including professional appearance.

Your Philosophy of Success Project must be completed to earn a passing grade in the course.

Classroom Conduct: The College seeks to provide an environment where discussion and expression of all views relevant to the subject matter of the class are recognized as necessary to the educational process. However, students do not have the right to interfere with the freedom of the faculty to teach or the rights of other students to learn. All students are expected to comply with the Code of Conduct as it appears in the MC Student Handbook on the web at:www.montgomerycollege.edu/departments/academicevp/Student_PandP.htm

Emergency Class Cancellation Policy: If inclement weather or other emergencies forces the College or any campus or College facility to suspend classes or close, public service announcements will be provided to local radio and television stations as early as possible. If you have checked several stations and have not heard an announcement, you may call the numbers listed below or go to our Web site for closing information:

  • Montgomery County Emergency Information Line ...........................301-217-8800
  • Montgomery College’s Institutional Advancement Office .................240-567-5310
  • Montgomery College Web Site .................................www.montgomerycollege.edu


Religious Observances : In the event that a student needs to miss class and as a result an assignment for religious reasons, please give the instructor reasonable notice (i.e., a week or more) and the appropriate accommodations can be made. However, it is the student’s responsibility to make up for the work she or he missed.  

Academic Dishonesty and Plagiarism : When completing assignments, students are expected to create original pieces of work, without the help of others unless they are otherwise notified, and cite the literature they used themes, ideas, concepts, etc. from. For more information on academic dishonesty and plagiarism please consult the Montgomery College Policy on Academic Integrity:


Also, read about Academic Integrity and How to Avoid Plagiarism at:

Syllabus Amendments : The instructor reserves the right to make any necessary changes, whether they are additions or submissions of assignments, as he sees fit. However, students will be notified of any changes that make occur in a reasonable amount of time. 





  Content Manager: Christy.Partlow@montgomerycollege.edu
Last Updated: March 16, 2009