Improvisation and syllabi

I had a bunch of reading schedule posts queued up to run this week, but Canelli launched some sort of challenge the other day, and now I’m obliged to respond.  Also, this…post…yesterday.  So the reading schedules (Mason & Dixon, Don Quixote, and an extra surprise entry) have been pushed back a day.

With that aside, I’ve got to ask Canelli real quick: if we weren’t already doing “improvisation” on this blog, then what were those other 650 posts we’ve done all about?  How is what we’re doing now any more improvisational than then?

Okay, next: Christy Wampole’s op-ed, My Syllabus, My Self.  Interesting read.  I don’t agree with her thesis that “something unusual has happened…in recent months: The syllabus…has become a highly charged politicized space.”  The syllabus has always been a politicized space–(at least as far back as the mid 90s when I started college and took an array of religious studies, philosophy, and English courses my first year.)  But that’s really just quibbling.  The rest of the op-ed seems fine.

So what about me putting together a syllabus for my ideal course?  Well, I’ve already got extensive practice making online syllabi for topics I love: see PHY-1000 (fall 2012) and PHY-1050 (spring 2013) at High Point University.  If you want to learn a little bit about our universe, might I recommend those two sites?  (I’ve also got syllabi for high school physics, high school chemistry, and freshman university physics lying around somewhere.  I’m also willing to share my lecture notes–which are prodigious–if anybody is interested.)

Just glancing over the pdf versions of those syllabi (for example), I’m struck by how thorough I was.  Seven pages of me laying down all the rules, trying to cover all the potential loopholes, explaining everything in language as clear as day so that none of those freshman could come up to me later and say “I didn’t know we were supposed to….”  Canelli and Amanda know what I’m talking about.  God, what a slog.

Quick note: my high school syllabi always had this Achewood comic included at the end as a way to, in my mind, sort of pump the kids up and get them ready to learn some BOOM! SCIENCE.

Okay, so now I’m improv’ing some rambling.  Amanda wants to see a new syllabus.  Tomorrow.

1 Comment

  1. Luigus

    The only difference is that we’re giving suggestions. Otherwise we were clearly making all this shit up already. With the suggestion, we might explore territory we wouldn’t normally walk into on our own whim. And get terrible, terrible stuff like what I wrote about pizza.


Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *