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At the risk of starting a flame war: do you think these attempts to limit faculty choice are the results of some faculty abusing that freedom?  Can we blame students for wanting something more than the proverbial yellow notes?  Or expecting a faculty member to hold class when it's listed on the schedule instead of assuming the students would like to unofficially extend two class sessions each week so that they don't have to attend a third?  Given what we know about best practices, shouldn't faculty have to do more assessment than a scantron midterm and final?  And shouldn't it be realistic for students to expect a reasonably consistent content in each section of a course, expecially given the need for a baseline of knowledge in the next course of the sequence or the in the professional exam they will face?

----- Original Message -----
From: Dan Kern <[log in to unmask]>
Date: Friday, February 2, 2007 7:16 am
Subject: No Longer Free to Choose/textbook article/links
To: [log in to unmask]

> Feb. 2, 2007
>
>
> No Longer Free to Choose
>
>
> By Michael W. <mailto:[log in to unmask]>  Brandl
>
> The principle of freedom of choice is one of the most critical
> rights in
> American society. The Constitution guarantees us the right to
> choose our own
> religion. Representative democracy provides us the freedom to
> choose our
> elected leaders. In the marketplace we have the freedom to
> choose from a
> variety of goods and services.
>
> Today in academe the core freedom for faculty to choose is under
> attack. It
> has long been argued that faculty members should have the
> ability to
> construct their own courses within a general framework so long
> as that
> course covered certain topics, and was done so with the proper
> amount of
> intellectual rigor. These standards were needed to ensure a
> certain level of
> conformity across sections, but they also allowed instructors to
> tailorcourses to both their own teaching styles and abilities
> and the learning
> styles and capabilities of their students. When instructors have
> the freedom
> to tailor their courses, students will learn better and retain
> the material
> much longer.
>
> This long tradition of choice is now besieged on campuses across
> the country
> by both "committees" and student activists. "Committees" are
> mandating the
> textbooks, instructional materials and learning aids instructors
> must use in
> their classes. In some cases faculty members are being forced to adopt
> older, perhaps even outdated, versions of textbooks in an
> attempt to "save
> students money" by making it possible for students to purchase used
> textbooks instead of new editions. Some students are demanding
> that they,
> not the faculty, determine what and how instructional materials
> will be used
> in the classroom. Some professors are taking the risky and
> misguided step of
> aligning with the two.
>
> Upon examination, their argument falls on its face.
>
> To begin with.
>
> Continue at:
> http://insidehighered.com/layout/set/print/views/2007/02/02/brandl
>
>
> Related stories
>
>
> * 10 Bucks For <http://insidehighered.com/views/2007/01/08/sloane>
> Knowledge ... But No Credit, Jan. 8
> * Beyond the <http://insidehighered.com/views/2006/12/06/mclemee>
> Context of No Context, Dec. 6
> * Throwing Down
> <http://insidehighered.com/news/2006/08/29/textbooks>the
> Book, Aug. 29
> * A Closer Read on
> <http://insidehighered.com/news/2006/08/17/texts>Textbook
> Costs, Aug. 17
> * New Model for <http://insidehighered.com/news/2006/07/14/rice>
> Scholarly Publishing, July 14
>
>  
>
>  
>
>
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Jan Norton, Director
Center for Academic Resources
University of Wisconsin Oshkosh
(920) 424-3419

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