Dave Clemens` CYA Syllabus Powerpoint

by user








Dave Clemens` CYA Syllabus Powerpoint
Disclaimers, and
How to Build a CYA Syllabus
(and Why You Need One)
Presented by David Clemens, Monterey Peninsula College, Flex Day,
Fall, 2008
This presentation contains profanity, nudity, adult
situations, and violent images. None of these
elements are gratuitous or intentionally
offensive; they are used to illustrate the matter
under discussion: what some students or
community members may find objectionable and
how to protect yourself with your syllabus. This
presentation is Rated R and may be unsuitable for
those disturbed by adult content.
Course Title and Official Catalog Description
Class Location, Your Name, Office, Office Hours
Contact Information (phone and email)
Important Dates (last day to drop, date of final)
Grading Policy
Attendance Policy
But the essentials aren’t
good enough anymore.
That’s because advances in technology, changes in
pedagogy, and the “accountability movement”
put teachers under a microscope like never before
Or maybe “in the crosshairs”
is a more apt metaphor
Back in the day, a syllabus looked like
A modern syllabus looks
more like this
“The course is now viewed as part of a department,
the department is part of a program, the program is
part of a division, the division is part of an institution,
and so on. So when a syllabus details criteria for
grading, or methods of instruction today, it is not
merely about the course anymore. The syllabus is
burdened with a definition of a course so expanded
that the very existence of an individual instructor
threatens to become effaced.”
Terry Caesar
Do you feel you are being watched?
Convergent cell phones can record everything
you say, take your picture, and have it up on
YouTube before class is over
Or, students can send a complaint to
various websites
Here’s mine from www.ratemyprofessors.com
I loved Clemens, although he is difficult and confusing at times, he stimulates
every student if they allow him to do so.
Mr. Clemens is by far the craziest teacher I've ever had. Each day is a new weird
experience and you will never know what to expect. Intellectually equiped
students will find him interesting and fascinating, while the other hollowedbrained yuppies might find him annoying. TAKE HIM FOR ENGLISH!
This is probably the most difficult yet interesting class I've ever taken.
took his english classes several years ago. he is one of the best instructors I ever
had (I now have a master's). I still use skills and logic taught by this professor. his
classes had a tremendous positive impact on my writing skills and academic life.
He is bad.
This is a trip that will take you from present to future and back to the past in more
ways than one. You will find your head spining with ideas and all you will have to
do is put your hand up and ask a question to make it stop. An excelent mind
expanding class. Conseptual Blockbusting at its finest
How would you like to be this guy?
Mark Says:
April 29th, 2008 at 4:34 pm
My professor, Dr. Lange, (music
dept.) University of Houston, is
monotonous, whiney, pathetic,
and seemingly self pitying.
Some complain to
or the National Association of
Scholars new Argus Project
In 2008, Big Brother isn’t watching you
Everyone is watching you
So it’s good to keep in mind what Sir Thomas
More says in A Man For All Seasons:
Sir Thomas More:
God made the angels to show Him splendor, as
He made animals for innocence and plants for
their simplicity. But Man He made to serve Him
wittily, in the tangle of his mind. If He suffers us
to come to such a case that there is no
escaping, then we may stand to our tackle as
best we can, and, yes, Meg, then we can clamor
like champions, if we have the spittle for it. But
it's God's part, not our own, to bring ourselves
to such a pass. Our natural business lies in
Your syllabus can help you escape.
But don’t forget
Some kinds of electronic information that you
create may exist in multiple locations
permanently, and while other kinds of electronic
information may seem evanescent, liability may
ensue from either kind: tracking cookies,
keystroke loggers, filters can all bring you to grief.
Think of your computer as the
proverbial glass house.
ceased to exist
around 1991.
Deal with it.
As David Brin says,
“Today, most people
know most things
about most other
people most of the
Ever had this guy in your class?
Or her?
How about this dude?
Stoned again . . .
late again . . .
drunk again . . . .
Maybe you’ve had this happen.
In 2008, creating a positive learning
environment means overcoming a
multitude of challenges:
A generally coarse culture
Trash talking and “authenticity”
“Mook and Midriff” culture
Electronic distractions
“Student-centered” pedagogy
Mainstreamed students with
emotional/psychological/drug problems
SOLUTION: Establish a Decorum
Policy like this one on your syllabus:
• Be on time and respect your fellow students; if you are habitually late, I
will deduct points, or if your lateness proves disruptive, I will drop you;
• don’t interrupt, please raise your hand, and please listen to others. If you
are not attentive and seriously engaged in this class, you will not succeed;
• because I am answering someone else’s question doesn’t mean that the
class has stopped or been sidetracked—I always try to cast my answers in
material beneficial to the entire class;
• disruptive or distracting behavior creates grounds for dismissal from the
class; coherent scholarly discourse is predicated on discussing all manner
of ideas objectively while maintaining civility, restraint, courtesy,
deference, intellectual humility, and mutual respect. Bullying, badgering,
or denigrating are forms of silencing which will not be tolerated;
• do not bring children to class; often we must deal with adult concerns in
adult language.
And when you are trying to teach . . .
is this what you see, students on MySpace,
Facebook, email, porn, Twitter, or liveblogging
your lecture?
SOLUTION: Add an Electronics Policy
to your syllabus:
• No video recorders, cameras, audio recorders,, or other recording devices
• no texting during class;
• turn off your cell phone during class except in emergencies; vibration only;
• laptops are not welcome because they interfere with the concentration of
the instructor and the other students (and are used for gaming, watching
videos, messaging, etc.) Laptops also interfere with the cognitive benefits
of physical note taking;
• because you SENT me an email or text file doesn’t mean that I RECEIVED
your email or text file; obtain and save confirmation;
• laptops may NOT be used during exams—even if you MUST use a laptop to
take notes you will need to print them out for the tests;
• no iPods, other MP-3 players, Bluetooth, or other listening devices; I
would rather you listen to Spoon on your earbuds in the Student Center
than distract those around you in class. I support the student's right to
fail and respect your choice to miss material.
Remember to warn students about
Like Bart Simpson, many students
(and journalists and historians
and politicians) don’t seem to
understand plagiarism. Some
students think that cut-andpaste is “research.” Others call it
SOLUTION: Our English Department adopted
this POLICY which goes on all our syllabi
According to the 1977 edition of the MLA Handbook, plagiarism is
“[d]erived from the Latin word plagiarius (`kidnapper’ and also
`plagiarist’ in the modern sense), plagiarism is defined by Alexander
Lindey as `the false assumption of authorship; the wrongful act of taking
the product of another person’s mind, and presenting it as one’s own’
(Plagiarism and Originality [New York: Harper, 1952], p. 2). Plagiarism
may take the form of repeating another’s sentences as your own,
paraphrasing someone else’s argument as your own, or even presenting
someone else’s line of thinking in the development of a thesis as though
it were your own. In short, to plagiarize is to give the impression that
you have written or thought something that you have in fact borrowed
from another. Although a writer may use other person’s words and
thoughts, they must be acknowledged as such.”
Plagiarism is grounds for expulsion. In the event of instructor leniency, a
student may be dropped from the class and receive a “W” before the
final drop date or an “F” after that date. The instructor may issue a “0,”
“NC,” or “F” for the work in which the plagiarism appears, or the
instructor may issue a written warning, or the instructor may refer the
student to the Vice President for Student Services for disciplinary action.
Some teachers like to use film or
Maybe you use cinematic masterpieces, as I
do, that employ this kind of dialogue, from
Apocalypse Now
Chef: This Colonel guy? He's wacko, man! He's worse than crazy. He's evil. It's fuckin' pagan idolatry. Look around you. Shit! He's
loco... I ain't afraid of all them fuckin' skulls and altars and shit. I used to think if I died in an evil place, then my soul wouldn't
be able to make it to Heaven. But now? Fuck! I mean, I don't care where it goes, as long as it ain't here. So whaddya wanna
do? I'll kill the fuck.
Or this kind of imagery, from
Clockwork Orange
Or this
Or this
Then you may have students doing
And this
So be aware
Some legal decisions have
held that students in a
classroom enjoy extra
protection because they are a
“captive audience.” Your
students may actually feel . . .
forced to watch
SOLUTION: Pre-empt complaints by
adding a disclaimer such as this one
to your syllabus
ADVISORY: This class is not intended for
younger students. You are expected to view
a number of R rated films which contain
graphic violent and/or sexual images,
simulated sex, simulated death, simulated
torture, blood, adult language, and adult
themes. This material is unsuitable for those
under 17 and may be particularly disturbing
for young, immature, or tender-hearted
And maybe something like this
(MPC Academic Freedom Policy)
[Paragraph 5] That a college curriculum may be intellectually
dynamic and produce discomfort for students of fixed belief
does not create a conflict with students’ right to a decorous
learning environment. Subjective criteria such as discomfort
and even offensiveness are impermissible grounds on which
to base a complaint; appropriateness of classroom material
and discussion can only be determined by disinterested peers
applying professional standards appropriate to the discipline.
While MPC instructors should make every effort not to be
gratuitously invidious or offensive, they have the right to
present material which may be considered offensive by some.
Students, however, are assured that they will at all times be
evaluated only by how well they master the subject matter of
a course, not by whether they personally agree with it or
reject it. Again, faculty should take great care to make this
clear to students in the course syllabus.
Is your teaching style . . . abrasive?
Is your teaching style
. . . indelicate?
Or does it involve passionate
Do you think “academic freedom” is a
stout wall that protects you?
Time to reload!
SOLUTION: Protect yourself by
including a promise of academic
freedom for . . . students on your
(MPC Academic Freedom Policy) From [Paragraph 4] Moreover,
in order that students may choose from a representative
“marketplace of ideas,” MPC promotes robust intellectual
pluralism practiced in an atmosphere of objectivity, respect,
and civility. MPC agrees that “[s]tudents have a right to
courses that accurately reflect the description in the course
catalog. Students have a right to courses that are not misused
to advance professors' personal social or political agendas.
Students have a right to learn in an environment that fosters
open inquiry and freedom of expression - without fear of
reprisal, ridicule, or hostility
<http://www.noindoctrination.org/acadf.shtml#noindoc >.”
What happened here?
Listen to Clint
Frankie Dunn: You forgot the rule. Now, what is the rule?
Maggie Fitzgerald: Keep my left up?
Frankie Dunn: Is to protect yourself at all times. Now, what is
the rule?
Maggie Fitzgerald: Protect myself at all times.
Million Dollar Baby (2004), Dir. Clint Eastwood, screenplay
Paul Haggis
Never forget:
“An instructor's choice of
teaching methods does not
rise to the level of protected
expression . . . .“
Sixth District Court, Dambrot vs. Central Michigan
University. 2001 FED App. 0057P (6th Cir.). File Name:
How about those SLOs
that our accrediting
agencies now
SLO chart which clearly resembles . . .
Student Learning Outcomes, mandated by our
accreditation commissars, pose many serious
threats to teachers. For one, because they
must be phrased so as to guarantee what a
student will be able to do upon course
completion. A student who passes and
subsequently is unable to do what was
promised has grounds for a complaint and
possibly even a consumerist lawsuit.
Danger! Danger, Will Robinson!
Don’t let such a
guarantee slip
into your
Remember B. F. Skinner?
For example, just a few years ago,
THIS painting in a music classroom
drew complaints . . . from the teacher!
Some people used to
object to life drawing.
Some people used to object
to anatomical diagrams
Some people may again. Remember
those Danish cartoons?
My caveat is: SLOs are a vehicle into which any
content may be loaded for delivery whether it
be intelligent design, social justice, holocaust
denial, environmentalism, or alien abduction.
SLOs are incompatible with academic freedom.
MPC’s academic freedom policy addresses this danger in two places:
[Paragraph 1] The purpose of this policy is to define “academic
freedom” so as to protect the institutional neutrality of Monterey
Peninsula College (MPC) in its practice of intellectual pluralism and
to defend faculty, students, and the curriculum from the influence
of any current or future political fashion or orthodoxy. The college
is a bastion of competing ideas; unanimity is anathema to academic
freedom and intellectual life.
[Paragraph 6] In order to maintain a climate of free inquiry for
students, MPC further recognizes that not all knowledge and
educational benefit is immediate, concrete, and measurable.
Hence, student learning outcomes should only reflect the
factual knowledge available for mastery in a course. In some
disciplines, such as the fine and performing arts, outcomes
based on this factual knowledge will represent the
achievement of intermediate steps in attaining higher goals
which cannot themselves be stated in behavioral or
quantifiable terms. For these disciplines, learning outcomes
may be an imperfect method for the evaluation of course
organization or instructional efficacy. Attitudinal, behavioral,
or values-laden outcomes should neither be formulated nor
applied, nor should teachers or students ever be coerced by
ideological or dogmatic curricular mandates. Teachers are
never required to teach against conscience or expertise.
Such wording on your
syllabus protects you from
the vagaries of governing
Board elections and
commits you to NOT
delivering the ideology of
whoever happens to be
sitting on the Board.
If you teach online or use a blog or
discussion board, your syllabus needs a
Flaming Policy
like this one:
Vigorous intellectual discussion is part of academia, however,
standards for civility are also part of academia. Academic
discussion is about issues or ideas while “flaming” occurs when
a discussion degenerates into personal attacks. It remains
unclear why the Internet prompts some people to be explosive
or scathing in the expression of their opinions, however personal
attacks on fellow students are always unacceptable. If you are
unsure whether your impassioned rebuttal constitutes flaming,
run it by me first. If someone’s online persona bugs you, stop
reading their posts. Typing in capital letters is considered
shouting and should be avoided. If you either post a flame or
privately email a flame, I will give you a warning; if there is any
reoccurrence, I will have to consider dropping you for
inappropriate online classroom decorum. If you receive a
private flame, notify me. Feel free to disagree but staying civil is
the key. Suggestions: email is an amplifier (amused irony can
sound like dripping sarcasm). Never drink and type.
My new addition:
When posting to a discussion board,
remember Godwin’s Law—the longer
the thread, the more likely someone will
compare someone else to Hitler. When
posting, stick to the subject. The
discussion board is not a venue for rants
or for partisan political polemics.
And at the end of your syllabus, put
this wording
This syllabus constitutes a contract;
continuance in the class following
receipt of this syllabus demonstrates
your agreement to abide by its
provisions under the “intent of the
parties” principle. You are responsible
for knowing the syllabus’s contents and
abiding by its policies.
Some teachers even
have students sign off . . .
Now go forth, and
Fly UP