Thursday, December 23, 2004

Evolution of the Syllabus

Being a grey and icky day, I didn't feel like doing any real work, so I worked on updating my syllabi for the spring.

When I taught at HWS, my syllabus was one side of one page: name, office hours, textbook, how many tests and how they're weighted, the disability clause. That about covered it. I didn't even need to remind them of a drop deadline: students at HWS aren't allowed to drop classes.

No longer. My syllabus is now up to five pages. It includes reminders not to chew tobacco or talk on the phone in class. Selected quotations from the academic integrity policies. The deadlines for our three types of drops. A full accounting of every point available and how each point will be awarded. Policies outlining every possible special case that might arise when a student doesn't come to class or forgets his homework or misses a test.

If things continue like this, I'm going to need the University's legal counsel to vet my syllabi.