EL 94a: Experiential Learning Practicum

Course Description

The EL 94a Practicum is a 2-credit course that may be taken in conjunction with COSI 11a. This supplement course is designed to provide students hands-on experience with community work and applying the computing fundamentals that underpin their studies. The practicum is also intended to provide students with an opportunity to realize a social justice aim by collaborating with an organization that is addressing needs of immigrants, and other social justice/social policy issues of interest to the student.

Students will teach basic computer skills classes, help to develop curriculum and educational exercises, and tutor individuals at the Charles River Public Internet Center (CRPIC) on Moody St. in Waltham. This is an opportunity for the student to apply computer skills to help English as a Second Language Learners in Waltham to develop skills that will help them navigate the basic resources in our society, including job and career possibilities that increase their quality of life.

The goals of the program are structured around the following elements:
  1. Engaging Brandeis students in addressing the needs of Waltham residents with their diverse skill sets, and in gaining direct experience that engages students intellectually, creatively, emotionally, and socially. Students will develop an understanding of needed professional skills such as topic-specific public speaking, cultural competency, working in diverse environments, and advising individuals with English as a second language.
  2. Experiencing unknown outcomes, allowing students to learn from natural consequences, mistakes, and successes.
  3. Providing opportunities for students to take initiative, make decisions, and be accountable for the results.
  4. Completing structured assignments and processes that enable students to reflect on their direct experiences critically and to connect theory and practice.
Learn more about EL94a Practica here.

Course Staff

Antonella Di Lillo (dilant [at] cs dot brandeis dot edu)
Office: 124 Volen Center for Complex Systems
Office hours: by appointment

Teaching Assistant

ExCEL Program Administrator
Daniel Langenthal(dlangent [at] brandeis dot edu)

Community Partner
Judith Webster, Executive Director (jmwebster [at] crpic dot org)
Charles River Public Internet Center

Class Meetings

First organizational meeting Thu. Sept 6, from 3:00pm-4:00pm, location TBA.


  1. 2-4 hours per week at CRPIC instructing the class assigned to you
  2. 1-hour weekly group meeting with Instructor and/or Teaching Assistant
  3. Three written assignments, throughout the semester
  4. Final presentation
NOTE: The CRPIC will provide training for beginning teachers of the basic computer skills courses. Supervision of the teaching at CRPIC will be done by the executive director of CRPIC and supervision of the Brandeis student learning objectives and one-hour weekly meetings will be done by the instructor with support from Daniel Langenthal .


The final grade for the course will be determined using the following weights:


The final grade is based significantly on your teaching commitment at CRPIC and your participation in the weekly meeting, for which you have only one unexcused absence for the semester.


This syllabus has been written with the help of Marci McPhee and Audra Grady.