Misinformed and dropping

There should be a University-wide policy regarding course descriptions.

As higher education is a commodity that a student shops around for prior to purchase, students are increasing their expectations of the amount of satisfaction their purchase gives them. What courses students take and by whom and how the courses are taught weigh out to be the main factors in creating satisfaction or dissatisfaction.

Some already are taking the idea to the next level. At Hamline University, students who were dissatisfied with the way a professor taught a class got department heads involved. The students ended up getting final grades that weren’t issued by the professor in question. Odd. It seems the professor is a professor because he or she probably knows how to teach just fine. The students just had false expectations.

Controversies such as this surely happen here at the University, without perhaps the considerably large amount of action taken against the professor. Students go into new courses thinking they will learn about this, this and this, and find they will instead be learning about that, that and that. The first day of class each semester can be a total surprise. This is why course descriptions are such an important tool for students and professors. The quick link from class searches is worth looking at most of the time. The professor is given the opportunity to explain just what his or her course will entail throughout the semester. Some are even as detailed as to include the percentages of time the class will spend in lecture and discussion, as well as about how many pages of reading there might be each week. This might attract the right students with the right expectations.

However, problems often arise when the course descriptions are inaccurate. It is common to click on a course description link and come to a course that has no information at all. Professors should be required to post at least the basic information. Students depend on this information to plan their course loads according to what they can handle. A more unified course-description policy would help students and professors succeed at the University.