Thursday, February 02, 2006

I thought this was what syllabi do 

At Oxford, there is a proposal to enforce student study contracts that require attendance and reading in return for their education.
The contracts ... will require a new breed of fee-paying "student consumers" - who are demanding ever higher standards from universities - to do a reasonable amount of work, including attending lectures and completing essays.

According to the agreement, students must "pursue such studies as are required of you by any tutor, fellow or lecturer, or other qualified person assigned by the college to teach you".

Oxford hopes the move will give the university some legal protection from disgruntled students who fail to get their expected examination results.
The problem seems to be much more simple: Students think grades depend on input. They do not. I fear this proposal makes that expectation more likely, and for that reason I would not use them. My students learn what I expect of them and what they can expect from me in a syllabus. Of course they lose them, and don't read them, even when I place them on the web. Do you really think this proposed contract will improve on that?

Noted in passing: Rate Your Students, a blog in response to the professor rating services. I guess it's creating a row, but I see nothing on RYS that wasn't already being said in faculty lounges a generation ago. Still, it is not the point of this blog to complain about particular students (even those held anonymous) and when I do not show restraint you are invited to link back to this post to remind me of my manners.