When a Syllabus Is Not Your Own - Chronicle.com
Okay, when I started teaching English, I would not have made it at all without the spirit of collegiality (the old school tie, insert secret handshake here). I had to teach a course I had never taught before and I asked an instructor for help and she gave me her syllabus. I said "you are just giving me this?" and she said "syllabi don't teach, teachers teach." In other words, the syllabus is merely a skeleton and the oh so delicate flesh makes all the difference. I freely hand out my syllabus online. I do ask that if you take a syllabus, workbook, or assignment that you send me a copy of your adaptations but if you don't - it is on you. I once wrote a manual that I copy-lefted to the world. It was a handbook on writing with computers for English students. I did not have time to update it every semester. By making it freely available, I had people update it for me, use it in their courses, give me the updates and suggestions for new assignments. The sage-on-the-stage attitude of the author of "When a Syllabus is Not Your Own" is elitist and demonstrates an ignorance of copyright law and is incredibly naive about how information moves in the modern world. Nobody's, and I mean nobody's, syllabus is all that.