Finding the right class just got easier, as students will be able to access syllabi for university courses online this upcoming semester. The online syllabi has been a long-term goal of GUSA and has finally been implemented by current GUSA President Kaydee Bridges (SFS ’03) and Vice President Mason Ayer (SFS ’03).

Now, students can look up a class by department and then see its corresponding syllabus, which gives them an idea of the actual course load, the grading scale, general requirements and actual assignments. Since several different sections of the same class usually exist, students can pick a class that looks most appealing to them. Not all professors, however, have posted their class syllabus and some at this point have only provided descriptions.

The new database of syllabi makes it easier for students to pick classes that best suit their interests. The official announcement of the syllabus database being available was made Friday, Nov. 1 by GUSA, the Provost’s Office, the Registrar’s Office and University Information Systems. The four offices had been working throughout the past year trying to make the system available for students.

GUSA Chief of Staff Tom Donnelly (COL ’03) was an active member of the initiation process. The major goal of the project was, he said, “. to make online syllabi ready for students to look at in an easy place.” He emphasized the amount of collaborative work that had to go into making the idea a reality. He also stated that now that the system has been instituted, it would require an active effort on the part of the students and faculty to utilize it effectively.

“It will be largely through pressure that the Provost’s Office and students can put on their professors,” he said.

University Provost Jim O’Donnell sent a letter to all department chairs explaining the new system. The success of the new option depends primarily on the number of professors who choose to participate. To post their class syllabus, they need to upload it on the “Faculty and Staff” page on Georgetown’s main Web site. In a recent press release, O’Donnell said, “The student government has done its part, the provost has done his part, the registrar has done his part and UIS has done their part. Now it is completely up to the faculty to submit the syllabi. Lobby your professors to participate. It’s up to them to make it a success.”

Students have responded positively to the initiative. “It’s really effective because it allows students to see how much of a course load they’re taking on. It helps me choose my teachers to see what teachers require more and which ones don’t. However, not all the courses have their syllabi posted yet,” Moya O’Connor (MSB ’06) said.

“The process of registering for classes is pretty easy now that all the information is posted online, however, the likelihood of getting the perfect schedule is practically impossible,” ala Ramchandani (COL ’06) said.

“Most students rely on peer opinions, which are often subjective to grades received from a professor. Online syllabi can help students evaluate courses with their own judgement which could supplement or add to peer recommendations. Being able to see professor’s teaching styles, grading system and expectations most definitely can help decide if that specific section is right for a student,” Sheena Taneja (SFS ’03) said.

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