Academic journal article International Journal of Marketing Studies

Taking or Not Taking a Class: Students' Perceived Physiognomies Associated with Syllabi

Academic journal article International Journal of Marketing Studies

Taking or Not Taking a Class: Students' Perceived Physiognomies Associated with Syllabi

Article excerpt

Abstract

This paper has tried to reconcile and synthesize the existing literature on course syllabi and create an interconnected and cohesive conceptual framework capable of bringing together the findings of previous conceptualization. The spin-off objectives involved conducting a survey to establish the students' overall perceptions regarding the course syllabi in general and the most recent syllabi they have been exposed to in particular. More importantly, we wanted to find out if the students' current perceptions were significantly different from an ideal syllabus perception and whether students' gender, ethnicity, academic standing, option, time of class, and class structure (i.e., regular vs. totally online) influenced students' perception of a syllabus. This study identified four factors contributing to an ideal syllabus. This study extended the previous research on syllabi because no other study has focused on syllabus format and its visual presentation. The findings suggest that alternative strategies should be used to communicate syllabus information.

Keywords: syllabus, ideal syllabus, syllabus presentation format

1. Introduction

What is meant by a "syllabus" varies considerably among educators. A consensus can conventionally be established, vis-à-vis the definition of "syllabus" and its commencement, by referring to well-known and authoritative dictionaries, including the Oxford English Dictionary, American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language, and Merriam-Webster Dictionary. The primary definitionof "syllabus" by such dictionaries refer to "An outline or a summary of the main points of a text, lecture, or course of study", and the origination of the "syllabus" as a word has been referred to as a medieval alteration of the Latin word "sillybus", meaning a label for a book. In academic context, the concept of the "syllabus" has been comprehended in numerous ways, and its prescribed usefulness and roles are explained as:

* a gold mine of information from which material can be extracted for a study guide and other applications. (Sayles, 1985).

* an introduction to both the course and the instructor (Baecker, 1998).

* minimizing student misunderstandings about expectations for the class(Royse, 2001; Dominiowski, 2002).

* a contract, a permanent record, and a learning tool(Parkes & Harris, 2002).

* the mindset of a professor's philosophy of teaching and learning (Weimer, 2002).

* playing three diverse roles of motivational, structural, and evidentiary (Slattery &Carlson 2005).

* a facilitator of student learning (Cullen &Harris, 2009; Boms, 1994).

* a communication tool to manage the tension that exists between being caring while simultaneously establishing authority and the rigor of the course (Thompson, 2007).

* setting the stage for effective use of assessment-for-learning principles (Ludwig, Bentz, &Fynewever,2011).

* a communication mechanism, a planning tool for instmctors, a course plan for students, a teaching tool or resource, an artifact for teacher evaluation, and evidence for accreditation (Fink, 2012).

* a tool to (re)socialize students for success in the college setting by establishing student-teacher roles and norms and setting the tone for classroom interactions (Sulik&Keys, 2013).

The above conceptualizations that prescribethe practicality and roles of a syllabus are beneficial and constructive. Nevertheless, standing alone, they represent a set of disjointed and dispersed proclamations. We believe that there is a need to reconcile and synthesize the existing conceptualizations, findings, and outcomes in order to create an interconnected and cohesive conceptual framework capable of bringing together the findings of previous studies and guiding future research.

2. The Objectives of This Study

A. The primary objective of this article is to synthesize the noteworthy previous studies, and based on that, to propose an integrated and unifying conceptual framework, capable of speculatively explaining students' decision to take or drop a class based on syllabus content and presentation. …

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