Academic journal article Journal of Developmental Education

Student Involvement in Course Management

Academic journal article Journal of Developmental Education

Student Involvement in Course Management

Article excerpt

In traditional settings, faculty tend to make most of the decisions about the courses they teach: teachers make the rules and expect students to follow. However most agree that some inherent goals of college education may include the development of well-prepared, motivated, self-reliant, independent learners. It is true that many students arrive to college with few, if any, of these attributes. By allowing students to make some decisions about their learning, the cycle of dependence and passivity of learning can be minimalized.

One area in which students can assume the role of decision maker is that of course activities and assignments. By allowing them to choose from among several assignment offerings, students can be engaged to give considerable thought to what activities suit their abilities and interests. Encourage them to make these decisions in light of their past experiences or what appeals to them as learners. The student might also decide assignment deadlines. This allows the student flexibility and promotes planning for the courses' activities in the context of other pending commitments.

Faculty may also seek ways to involve students in course policy decisions. Is an attendance policy needed for the course? What behaviors contribute to or detract from participation in the class? Decisions about these areas might also be considered dynamic and in need of revision (with the students' input) as the course progresses.

Course content decisions may also involve student input. Of course, some course structures and formats are more flexible to this input than others. …

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