The Pope Center posts a column on how a North Carolina university is posting all course syllabi for students to review before choosing their courses.
Three years ago, I made the same recommendation in the Daily Egyptian and -whoa! -- the furious response: "Pandering to the peons" (students)! "This is one step closer to McCarthyism!" Sheesh. Posting syllabi online is proto-fascist? Get a grip.
Seems this common sense proposal is spreading -- and worth considering (again) here at Southern Illinois University. As a former academic adviser, this was one of those legitimate student complaints ("the course didn't match the catalog description!"). All I could recommend was trying to request syllabi (past or present) for a course. But you know if a professor (me) gets toasted for recommending it, imagine the fate of a freshman requesting "please, Professor, may I see the syllabus for the course?"
Post the syllabi with the proviso that it may be changed or updated at the discretion of the instructor. This isn't rocket science. It is good manners.
For professors, it is also a great rebuttal to unfounded student complaints that there is "too much reading" or "too much writing" (whine): "Hey, kid, you knew what you were signing up for when you read the syllabus. Now get to work!"
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