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Curriculum and Classes

All Classes are college-level with small class sizes (8-14 Students). The small size of the class allows for teaching that considers the student as a whole. All students are expected to complete the same learning experiences including coursework, homework, and tests. The time in class is longer per credit than a typical college course, to allow for more learning time with the specific subject matter and for differentiated education. Additionally, we enrich student learning with community activities, service learning projects, and volunteering.


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OLS170 Self-Determination

Self-advocacy and goal setting are key concepts demonstrated by all OLS students. Many of our students receive a strong foundation of these skills during the Self-Determination course in their first year. Throughout this course, students participate in a variety of learning activities that allow students to discover their inner strengths, values and goals for their future. Students actively design their future by creating goals suited to their wants, needs and dreams.

Using the S.M.A.R.T goal system, students write action plans related to life goals for personal development, independent living and post-secondary education. Sample goals include; getting a driver’s license, create videos for income, moving in with roommates, and traveling to new places.

Once students have solid plans and are motivated to reach goals, learners are given the opportunity to share personal experiences that prove their personal strengths. The nationally recognized story telling process called Dependable Strengths® allows students to reflect on their experiences in life, identify their patterns of strengths, and learn how to talk about their Dependable Strengths® in ways that demonstrate their value to others. Each student creates a document called a Strengths Report that is included in their OLS portfolio and is used for future job interviews, networking events, and personal development opportunities. It is truly an enriching and rewarding experience for all participants.

The final project for the class is a highly anticipated event! Students present an artistic display of their hopes for the future, dream goals, and strengths they are proud to share with others. These Dream Print Projects are presented to a large group of family, friends, and advocates who encourage and support OLS students at Bellevue College.

The Self-Determination course at OLS is offered in the Spring Quarter of first year.

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OLS166 Music Appreciation

Quiz for the Instructor?!?


Seldom does a student rejoice at the announcement of a quiz.  This was the case in the Music Appreciation class last week when the instructor announced that there was going to be a matching quiz.  However, this quiz was to be developed by the students and processed by the instructor. The content of the quiz involved matching musical elements to appropriate descriptions, or instrument classifications to images of instruments. The class worked diligently in small groups, and developed the quizzes with excitement.  The students have progressed from learning the class content to teaching class content. The instructor also gained useful assessment tools to add to the student’s final exam.


-Nicholas Michiels, MA

OLS158 Introduction to Theatre

Students in Introduction to Theatre had a very busy quarter experimenting with puppetry.  They had the opportunity to create their own puppets using recycled items from around their homes and worked together to create, rehearse and perform a puppet show. Students experimented with a variety of styles of puppets including sock puppets, sack puppets, found object puppets and traditional Asian shadow puppets.

OLS110 Learning Strategies in the College Environment

As the Winter Quarter came to an end, the Learning Strategies in the College Environment class worked diligently on a personalized handbook, as their final project.  This booklet is comprised of strategies each individual identified as useful for completing assignments and tasks in future classes.  Independently, students summarized what they had learned in such units as Reading Comprehension, Writing Process, and Organization.  For instance, students documented how to create works, cited lists, and how to manage their time effectively using weekly schedules and to-do lists.  Each handbook is designed and created by first year students and will hopefully benefit their academics as they progress through the OLS program.

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