When I was taking courses at Kent, I struggled with professors who left out portions of the course because I like to know everything involved before I begin a course. One of my professors has all her content accessible a few days before the course begins and my personality really likes that. I have had other students note that a very detailed syllabus is overwhelming. So how does one accommodate someone like them and someone like me? Do I make the syllabus shorter as you suggest, leaving out some of the detail?…or is the compromise that the syllabus is shorter like you propose but yet the entire course is available for people like me who need the detail to plan their time?
This is probably less of an issue with undergraduate, younger students, but I am very specific about what I want to do with my degree and how I plan to use it. I’ve dropped three courses because the syllabi were so vague and the instructor was unattainable or otherwise couldn’t explain what we would actually be doing in class. I want to be sure it meets my needs. And if I’m not sure, I don’t take the class. I did make an exception. I wanted to take the Photoshop workshop but I didn’t want to retouch photos and that sort of thing; my interest is in the graphic design techniques and typographic effects that can be accomplished with Photoshop. The instructor refused to give out any details before the class began, not even a short syllabus like you suggest. I took the course anyway thinking in an instructional technology degree that the emphasis was hopefully on design rather than photography. I was wrong. The course is well thought out and professionally done (impressive actually). But 3/4s of the class are techniques used in photography and photo retouching. I have no interest or use for that. So I spent a thousand dollars on a course that is meant for photo hobbyists (workshops are 100% cost, day one.) I’m learning new things but I can do that on my own. A syllabus would have steered my toward a course more useful to my goals. So I am very sensitive to what is offered in a Syllabus. I don’t think there is a need to surprise students. If it is too much to read, then they don’t have to read it, right?