More than five years after the initiative was launched, the Duke Student Government announced the public release of the Duke Syllabus Bank on Monday morning.
Launched due to concerns that students from exclusive social organizations had greater access to past course curricula, the Curriculum Bank aims to increase academic equity by collecting curricula that all students can view. The program bank became available to students on Monday morning.
“Overall the feedback has been overwhelmingly positive, more positive than we could have ever hoped or hoped for. People have pointed out how intuitive it is as a user to search for programs. People pointed out the breadth of the programs,” DSG Chief of Staff Shrey Majmudar said. Majmudar, a senior, has worked at Syllabus Bank since the fall of his freshman year at Duke.
DSG members who have worked on the Syllabus Bank hope the resource will help students in a number of ways, including previewing courses they are interested in, finding professors to research with, and exploring recommended readings from others. classes.
The Syllabus Bank is also a resource for teachers.
“It’s also a great resource for them to be able to watch what their peers are doing in different departments and pull from different textbooks and readings,” Majmudar said. “Overall, we’ve seen tons of faculty buy-in.”
While the program bank now contains more than 1,000 lesson plans, teacher participation is voluntary and the repository is not complete.
Majmudar said there were several reasons for the lack of faculty participation, including the added difficulty of uploading course syllabi to the web and hesitation about having their intellectual property so widely available. However, he said, DSG members are currently in talks with faculty heads and administrators about ways — “incentive structures or otherwise” — to maximize downloads.
The Syllabus Bank began as a Duke Box folder of lesson plans that DSG Senators collected, hand-tagged, and individually uploaded. However, Majmudar explained, they quickly realized this would not be a sustainable system, both because of the effort it took to add to the bank and because “frankly, it wasn’t the best way to associate with faculty.
“Some professors, I think, were very disappointed that students were uploading their own programs to the Bank without consulting them,” Majmudar said.
This new format, Majmudar said, is a way to provide access to course curricula while partnering with faculty members and campus administrative bodies.
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Anna Zolotor is junior editor of Trinity and editor of the 117th volume of The Chronicle.