Faculty technophobes to be dragged into 21st century (or at least the late 1990s)

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courseworksThe CCSC passed a resolution last night (pasted after the jump) that would require all professors to use Courseworks and make their syllabi available, via the no-bells-and-whistles system, to students not enrolled in the course. That way, you can more easily see how much the course is going to cost you in textbooks and reading time–did you really want to buy that 400-page philosophy tome that might just stay on your shelf all semester?

Word is Dean Yatrakis is on board, so professorial days of simple e-mail may be numbered. 



Columbia University students register for courses the semester before and readjust their schedules during the first two weeks of the new semester.  They choose courses based on limited information through the Columbia University Directory of Classes and the opinions of past students. Many peer institutions, including Harvard University, already allow all university students access to course syllabi sans registration. 


To boost efficiency, improve classroom climate, and share reliable information, we propose that: 

    (1) University administration require all faculty to use Courseworks as an information center for all classes. 

    (2) University administration allocate all necessary resources towards ensuring that all faculty know how to use Courseworks. 

    (3) Instructors make all course syllabi available to Columbia University students by opening Coursework access to non-course members. 


Columbia University prides itself on having a robust Core Curriculum that also allows for great exploration and personalization.  Providing all Columbia University students with full accessibility to all course syllabi would bolster this strongpoint in the following ways: 

  • Curriculum Customization: Students will be able to truly explore course options before registration and tailor their schedules according to personal learning habits and goals.
  • Informed and Efficient Registration:  Students will be less inclined to over-register for courses if they understand the course load and topics covered.  At present, students rely heavily on subjective and often extreme opinions on CULPA in their course selections.  Access to course syllabi will provide students objective and factual information that would lead to better decisions.
  • Enhanced Class Climate: Students can match their course expectations with those of the instructor.  A class of primed and engrossed students will drive a dynamic class climate.
  • Maximization of Courseworks as a Tool:  Increasing functionality of the existing Courseworks structure to meet student need is a simple solution.  Students and faculty are comfortable with this system and would use it even more if its utility increased.

We realize faculty may have concerns about open accessibility to what some construe as intellectual property.  However, Courseworks already features a secure login that only permits access by registered Columbia University students. We assert that opening access to course syllabi will enhance the experience of the University both for the students and the faculty.  


Donna Desilus

Academic Affairs Representative

Alidad Damooei

Vice President of Policy

Sue Yang

Vice President, Class of 2010


  1. yayayayayay!!  

    i am exhausted, haggard, worn out and seriously sleep deprived, beaten and bloody, but this news just made me perk up and smile. yayayayayayay!

  2. yes!  

    Thank you CCSC. This is a really important thing to do and frankly, shows me that you guys actually do stuff. Previously I was disposed to write off CCSC as useless, and this proves me dead wrong. I really appreciate it.

  3. excellent job  

    Regardless of past performance, great job on this one, CCSC. This is a much-needed reform.

  4. lalala  

    loooooooove this.

  5. hey lydia  

    Is that a partial image of your class list?

  6. ???  

    finally CCSC has done something useful... but will it be too late for me to benefit?

    will we get access to all courses in time for spring 2008?

  7. this is awesome  

    there may be other things I'm not aware of but to my knowledge, this is the 1st useful thing that CCSC has done during my time here. keep up the good work, and prove our image of you incorrect elected-officials-who-no-one-really-voted for-cause-its-CCSC-and-who-gives-a-shit ?

  8. wow...

    Donna Desilus is kicking some ass!

  9. Reality Check  

    Since when is passing a resolution "doing something useful"? As I recall, there have also been student council resolutions that John Jay should be open at all hours, but it ain't happenin'. I think this would be wonderful, but I'll believe it when I see it.

  10. Resolved,  

    that student government is useless.

    Oh wait, Philo did that one last year...

  11. the only hurdle  

    that i see here is forcing professors to put their materials on courseworks. many maintain their own websites and probably aren't too thrilled about being constrained by courseworks.

    perhaps a compromise would be "must place course material on courseworks or link to it from courseworks"

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