USG senators release digital syllabus bank survey

first_imgThe project, proposed by Sens. Rosenthal, Emily Johnson and Randi Anderson, aims to make the syllabuses available to students to use when selecting classes to clarify course curriculum and give students a better understanding of the classes they register for, Rosenthal said.  The project’s next steps involve meeting with members of the Academic Senate to gain approval for the bank’s creation and partnering with IT Services to implement the resource online.  “After we get Academic Senate approval, it would just be a question of taking the policy side of it in terms of their approval of it and the IT side … and just merging those together,” Rosenthal said. “I don’t think [it] will be too hard as long as we get Academic Senate approval.” “This is meant for students who have finals during Ramadan or class midterms during the Jewish holidays at the beginning of the year, or if you don’t necessarily get school off [for the holidays],” Shiff said. “We’ve also created a text you put on the syllabus.” Rosenthal said he has also been working with the USC’s nomenclature task force to draft a proposal with recommendations on the procedure to rename campus buildings. The task force was created in light of controversy surrounding the name of the Von KleinSmid Center, which was named after former USC president and white supremacist Rufus von KleinSmid. Rosenthal, who was appointed to the task force last summer, said the group hopes to finish the proposal and release it to the University administration within the next two weeks. “[The syllabus bank would be beneficial] for reasons like academic transparency and improving the ability of people to know what your classes are about, but also, there’s a lot of classes that have mandatory midterm days,” Rosenthal said. “If you’re going on spring break, you want to make sure that your class doesn’t have a midterm that Friday, for example.” Of the 248 students who took the survey, more than 200 said the syllabus bank would improve their academic performance, according to information Sen. Ben Rosenthal presented at the meeting. “There’s an overwhelming desire by the students for it, and even people who don’t think that they necessarily need it still think that it’s an idea,” he said. “Most people think that they need it, or at least it would help them, so these are really promising responses.” Sen. Benjamin Shiff (above) has been working with Sen. Rose Ritch, Director of Residential Affairs Gabriel Savage and Dean of Religious Life Varun Soni to place USC’s religious absence policy on course syllabuses. (Catherine Liang | Daily Trojan) Sens. Benjamin Shiff and Rose Ritch and Director of Residential Affairs Gabriel Savage have also begun working with Dean of Religious Life Varun Soni to list USC’s religious absence policy on syllabuses to ensure students know they can make arrangements for exams that fall on religious holidays. Currently, the policy, which grants excused absences for religious observances, is only available on the Office of Religious Life website and is emailed to professors before each school year, Shiff said. Senators shared preliminary results for a survey gauging student interest regarding an ongoing project to create a digital resource bank of past course syllabuses at the Undergraduate Student Government meeting Tuesday. Rosenthal said he hopes having access to course syllabuses during registration will decrease student conflicts with exams by ensuring students know important course dates in advance. “We’ve been working on editing the proposal because it’s a very public document that will likely not just get scrutinized by administrators at USC but the broader public [as well],” Rosenthal said. “We’re making sure that it’s both understandable and robust enough to get administrative buy in but also succinct so that it doesn’t bore people.” last_img

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