Online syllabi catalogue added to Mercyhurst portal

The Syllabi Repository, which houses all of the syllabi for the 2010-11 and 2011-12 school years, has been added to the portal to make it easier for students and faculty to learn about all of the classes Mercyhurst offers.

With this system comes many perks.

“Students will be able to browse different syllabi within the academic programs. It enables them to explore the different courses they want to take and choose what is best suited for them,” Administrative Assistant Diane Speice said.

Speice is also the project’s coordinator.

“The effort has been in place for years, but applying for university status means submitting all core course syllabi,” she added.

Director of Assessment Amy Danzer and Web Administrator Patrick Canella were also part of the effort to include a full-fledged online catalogue that is available to the entire college community.

Online syllabi have always been available, but only the classes in which a student was enrolled in through Blackboard. Now, students and faculty have the opportunity to look and cross-reference syllabi for an all-around improved and more accessible academic experience.

Senior Gui Alves said, “I think it will allow students to choose their classes more wisely, having a better idea of what to expect. It could cause problems at first if teachers expect students to have read the syllabus upon entering the classroom, but it’s something I would probably take advantage of.”

“I also think how it is introduced to the student body has a great affect on their response to it,” he said, using the portal as an example of another under-utilized tool.

It is important that the repository is explained so that students will understand how to take full advantage of its resources.

It will also be useful for students when determining whether or not they need a certain class.

“I think it’s a good idea; it should help put an end to students unintentionally taking classes that won’t benefit them or getting into something they didn’t expect and possibly having to use a pass/fail,” freshman Kevin Barry said.

Students aren’t the only ones who will benefit from it, though.

When asked who else might be able to take advantage of the new repository, Speice said, “Faculty members will be able to browse other syllabi within their department in order to best prepare their own syllabi. Administrative offices such as OAA (Office of Academic Affairs) and the Registrar will greatly benefit. With the syllabi at their fingertips, they will be able to surmise exactly what was covered in any given course.”

The repository is shaping up to be a tool that can be used by all.

“I don’t like the idea of having to go over everything before the first class, but it could lead to students having a better idea of what’s going on and a stronger start to the term,” junior Megan Richards said

Syllabi in the repository will be updated every term, according to Speice.

“The syllabi will be collected, organized and placed on the portal each term. They will be collected, renamed and organized on the college’s share drive first and then uploaded to the portal,” she said. “For example, I will begin requesting and collecting the syllabi for the winter term right after the Thanksgiving break. All the syllabi collected from previous years will remain on the portal.”

The Syllabi Repository is available under the Academics tab on the portal. After choosing the Syllabi Repository, the syllabi are organized by academic term, school, department and faculty member.