School Me Saturdays 11/5/22-Syllabus

I remember when I was at the university bookstore in Creigton in 1993. Stacks upon stacks of books broken down by discipline and then by class. You hunted until you found your discipline and then you looked for books for each class. Of course, you also needed the syllabus for each class.

A syllabus is a roadmap for the class. Expectations, due dates, grading rubrics were all in the syllabus. And instructors WANTED you to read the syllabus, if only to cut down on repeated questions.

Think of the syllavus as the FAQ of the class.

In 1993, they were printed and sold next to the book for the class.

When I was at Napa Valley College in 1998, they were printed and sold next to the book for the class.

I’m not sure when, in the heady days of the internet emerging to what it could be, not just cat pictures and insane rhetoric, the syllabus started to be put online and the colleges and universities stopped printing them. Definitely before I started an online only degree at Chamberlain in 2015.

Now they are all online. There is not a printed syllabus to be found.


This is good in two ways.

  • Being online means that the demand for trees for paper for printing goes away
  • Since the printing costs are no longer there to justify the cost of the syllabus, they are just bundled in with class announcement

Every class begins the same way.

Read your syllabus. And if you have any additional questions, ask.

As a serious type of student, I have read the syllabus for all three of my classes. Twice.

And I refer to them often.

And sometimes my third reading shows me something I never noticed before. An often vital piece of information that made it all clear.

And you feel silly for an hour or so. After all, it is there in black and white.

And then you regroup and go back to writing the paper. Or studying for the exam.

It will be okay.

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