Overly Honest Syllabi

22 08 2013

Profs in North American universities are currently finalizing their syllabi (i.e., the documents students are given on the first day of class that last the weekly readings, assignment due dates, etc).  Given that so many people are currently working on syllabi, it’s not surprising that #overlyhonestsyllabi was trending on Twitter last night. Some very smart academics were thinking up of funny things they would never dare to put in an actual syllabus.

Here are my favourites:

@dandrezner: If you ask a question that’s plainly answered in the syllabus, I’ll remember you and not in a good way. #overlyhonestsyllabi

@kesearles: You don’t know how many grandmothers my class has killed #overlyhonestsyllabi

@dandrezner: The first assignment has no pedagogical value other than a grade so you stop asking me “how am I doing?” #overlyhonestsyllabi

@lesliemb: I have a sixth sense for plagiarism. Go ahead, try me. #overlyhonestsyllabi

@FitAcademic: Emails will be answered within 48 hrs because that’s how long it takes to bury the snark #overlyhonestsyllabi

This tweet will be especially popular with academics at big R1 institutions where GTAs do most of the marking:

@smsaideman: The number/length of writing assignments depends on how vigilant the teaching assistant union is #overlyhonestsyllabi

In my view, the top tweet of the evening was:

“Before you take this class lightly, know my obsession with the subject matter has ruined two of my marriages. #overlyhonestsyllabi




2 responses

22 08 2013
Jonathan Weisman

I would suggest the following standard addition to graded work:

1) Please complete the listed steps to request a grade review. Failure to properly follow these steps will result in a rejection of your request. Please take care in answering.
2) How did your grade make you feel?
3) Answer all subsequent questions without reference, direct or indirect, to your answer to question (2).
4) For each written comment on your paper, indicate whether you agree or disagree.
5) For each instance of “disagree” in question (4), explain why my comment is wrong.
6) Explain, in two pages or less, why the sum of your explanations in response to question (5) means that your work was better than the grade you received. Please cite at least two examples of comparable expressive or argumentative qualities in any one or more of this term’s readings.
7) What grade should replace the one you’ve received? How does your answer to question (6) support that substitute grade?
8) Congratulations! You’ve successfully written an acceptable paper!
9) Consider whether you should give me a means to compare your motivated work to your required work.
10) If the answer to (9) is yes, please sign below and submit this form with any attached pages necessary.

28 08 2013

Just saw your comments now. Great idea. Luckily here in the UK students almost never dispute marks.

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