Last Words: Silly about syllabi and learning about learning spaces

The university is being silly when it comes to syllabi

As it turns out, UBC seems to have no policy governing syllabi. Right now, you could be sitting at home, preparing yourself to do readings for one of your classes when suddenly, all your readings have been reshuffled, and your course is going in a whole other direction.

As nightmarish as it sounds, it could happen anytime, because technically, professors have the right to change their syllabi whenever they please. And really, they don’t have to give you one to begin with. UBC should really consider laying down the law and making syllabi more concrete and mandatory. Just imagine, they could even be shared during course registration period.

That said, if you know where to look you can usually find a syllabus from previous years with the same prof which will give you a decent idea of what the course will be like.

It would just be nice to not have to spend hours searching long-forgotten UBC pages to find something that could be dispersed with a quick email. Wouldn’t that help us all sleep a little sounder?

UBC has a lot to learn about ‘informal’ learning spaces

UBC has done an audit of all of its "learning spaces,” including classrooms, lecture halls, wet labs, studios and anywhere else instruction takes place. However, as some members of the UBC Senate suggested at the January 21 meeting, not enough has been done to emphasize the importance of group learning spaces -- particularly, unscheduled classrooms.

During exam time, for example, most rooms in the Buchanan block are open to use for studying, as student senator and AMS VP academic, Anne Kessler, pointed out. In fact, those rooms are almost never locked, so students are even welcome to use them outside of peak scheduling times. Spaces such as these have been labelled as “informal” learning spaces, which begs the simple question: why “informal"?

There is no doubt that the most significant learning takes place in flexible spaces where students are allowed to self-organize and soak up all their class materials without direct supervision. We’re just hoping this misnomer was unwitting and UBC truly does realize how crucial these flexible spaces are.