Student Testimonials: Reaction to Chicano Studies 135 Promising Syllabus

Setup - start of first class: Students formed small groups, with each group reading the opening "story" in the promising syllabus and discussing the reading questions.  Class discussion followed.

"The readings triggered my imagination immediately."

"It was fun and exciting right off the bat.  The readings gave us an idea of what to expect in the class."

"It was nice because it kept my attention."

"The promising syllabus is friendly and inviting. The traditional syllabus is sterile and boring."

"It's cool that the assignments were not included because it's not all planned out.  It makes you have to come to class to know what's going on.  You have to be involved in the class."

(Note: A detailed schedule of activities and assignments was distributed at the second class meeting.)

"Working in groups from the beginning made it easy to connect with other students.  We exchanged contact information, and we now help each other."

Student Testimonial: Reaction to English 100 Promising Syllabus

Note: This syllabus begins with a story on Socrates)

"I'm 19. I'm going to a community college so I can transfer to UCSD to be a psychologist. The way I think is a lot different from most people you'll meet and I can now compare it to Socrates thanks to your help. I had no idea anyone was able to think the way I do. I'm really excited about taking your course because I think I'll actually learn something from you. You mentioned Socrates on the first day. Just that little information got me stoked!  Thanks."

Faculty Testimonial

"I began using the Promising Syllabus this semester.  Although it takes time to change from a traditional syllabus to a Promising Syllabus, I'm really glad I did.  The process made me think about my students and the 'journey' that I want them to experience in my class.

I was able to create a Promising Syllabus for each of my classes -  except one.  Each time that I introduced a Promising Syllabus, the experience was new and exciting for all of us - my students and myself.  The students were very engaged.  Beginning with a story is a great idea.  We then discussed their role on our 'journey.'  It was a fantastic start to the semester.

On the other hand, it felt 'strange' to introduce a traditional syllabus in the one class where I didn't have a Promising Syllabus.  I felt confined.  The traditional syllabus was not engaging with my students.  Although it was complete in the traditional sense, it didn't seem to offer anything new for my students.  I found myself disliking my own syllabus, and I couldn't wait to move past it.  I'm sure many of my students felt the same way.  I won't let this happen again!"