By Giacomo Bologna, Daily Staff Reporter
Published February 28, 2013
After two years of work by the LSA Student Government, LSA students can finally design a course schedule with no exams through a new website that archives past class syllabi.
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LSA senior Pallavi Abraham, LSA-SG’s Academic Relations Officer, said the website, which has been a collaborative effort between LSA-SG and the college's administration, has been a long time coming, but time well spent.
“It’s done,” Abraham said. “It’s up and running — the website’s live.”
Many syllabi are already available on the site currently and departments are still uploading more.
“Obviously, professors aren’t required to upload their syllabi in any way. Yet we hope that, as more and more departments start doing it, professors will start to see the usefulness of it and ideally it’ll eventually be an all-inclusive syllabi archive,” LSA junior Jason van den Boogaart, a member of LSA-SG, said.
LSA Associate Dean Philip Deloria sent out an e-mail to LSA department heads about the website, noting that it was “simple, streamlined, and easy to use.”
“We view this tool as providing real value to departments, students, and faculty alike, and encourage you to begin the process of establishing a syllabus archive for your department or program,” he wrote.
Abraham said faculty members were intially concerned about the intellectual property rights of their syllabi and that students would expect faculty to adhere to a past semesters’ syllabi. However, the system addresses both of these problems, she said. Using the system requires a University account to login, and a disclaimer on the top of the page tells students these syllabi are not necessarily in use.
Abraham said she realized providing the syllabi for the current semester before registration wouldn’t be possible after speaking with outgoing LSA Dean Terrence McDonald last year. He said McDonald told him due to the autonomy faculty have in the college, requiring syllabi up so early would not be feasible.
Nonetheless, van den Boogaart said this will be a tool available for years to come as the LSA administration is heavily invested in the project.
“It’s something that together we worked on and created,” he said. “It’s more than just what the students wanted, it’s actually a really good balance of what the professors wanted, the curriculum wanted and the students wanted.”
Making syllabi available before students registered was a campaign promise of Manish Parikh, current president of the Central Student Government.
“I think there has been some confusion as whether or not this has been an (LSA-SG) or CSG project and I think that this is really a great example of something that LSA student government has been working on slowly and created a beautiful product,” she said.
Parikh said he was proud of the work of LSA-SG, and hopes a similar syllabi archive can be implemented for other colleges.
“Whether CSG makes it happen or LSA-SG makes it happen doesn’t matter so much,” Parikh said. “The ultimate victors in this are the students and this is something that they’ve wanted for a long time and LSA-SG has truly done a phenomenal job in making it happen.”
Parikh said he and other members of his administration have been meeting with administrators within the provost’s office for months now about the possibility of providing syllabi to students. While he’s nearing the end of his term, he said a syllabi archive is well on its way to all students.
“We just need to figure out the details now.”