Saturday, January 9, 2010

struggling with the syllabi

I asked the dept head for feedback as I prepare the new syllabi. She said maybe a little less intimidating? (and didn't give me the evaluations.... hmmm).

Thinking more about the ones who didn't pass and those who struggled. Changing lots of content, but today, as I was reading blogs in between writing, over at Bardiac's there was a comment offering the article by Mano Singham "Death to the Syllabus." sigh. I also go back and forth, from the less constructed to the highly detailed. I'm more comfortable with the details, but since my students usually don't read them, I do wonder what's the point? In my online classes there's a syllabus quiz. I supposed I should do that in my f2f classes as well.

I do like to keep the schedule on one page. Easy to move chunks when we don't finish something as fast as I thought. Easy to see where the deadlines are. But I tend to have a lengthy document, too. So what I need to do is adjust this document to avoid the pitfalls that Singham describes:

What such syllabi often omit is any mention of learning. They list the assigned readings but not reasons why the subject is worth studying or important or interesting or deep, or the learning strategies that will be used in the course. The typical syllabus gives little indication that the students and teacher are embarking on an exciting learning adventure together, and its tone is more akin to something that might be handed to a prisoner on the first day of incarceration.

Why this is an exciting endeavor. I can do that, right?

1 comment:

  1. You yourself feel the excitement of new ground to cover as you build a course - - - so let the students know how you FEEL instead of what you have to teach. It might be worth try!