Completed Course Outlines – Do We Need Them

My Dean asked me to work on developing a number of Articulation agreements between universities and our college on behalf of our Journalism program. One of the first steps is to collect course outlines and make sure they are up to date. This way, the institution has an idea of the courses we teach, the hours and credits for each course and what is taught in each course. Simple assignment right!

Well, here is what happened. To my surprise, one of the faculty members doesn’t have any course outlines and never uses them. One of his students who asked for a course outline was told he doesn’t hand them out because they are too confusing. After a month of delays, he finally handed them over to my Dean who then forwarded them to me. Now we can move forward – almost.

With all the course outlines at my finger tips, I started skimming through them. Five of the courses had no specific outcomes – just the general outcomes. I sent an email to the two faculty members that when external institutions look at our courses, it doesn’t accurately reflect on what we teach. We need to fill in the gaps by providing the specific outcomes.  Well, that was my mistake because they both got very upset with me. They felt I was saying they didn’t teach much. With pressure from my Dean, I’m going to be able to get them fill in the specifics so I can complete the articulation project. One of faculty members who was still talking to me (yelling is more like it) said she doesn’t have time to write up objectives now and I’ll have to wait until the spring. I made the mistake of pointing out that there is a six week window in the spring or four weeks at the end of summer where there are no students that we are supposed to get all this stuff done. Not my best answer. She blew a gasket.
My question to you is, am I being a little too anal retentive about having specific outcomes? I’ve been writing curriculum since 1983 and teaching it since 1995. This is something that I’ve always done. Is my head stuck in the clouds? I’d like to hear your thoughts.

(you can follow Phil on http://twitter.com/canadianpacman)

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