Ohio State’s Undergraduate Student Government passed a resolution supporting the access to course syllabi prior to scheduling for students. The resolution was brought Jan. 20 to the general assembly floor and passed unanimously with 41 aye votes to 0 nay.
The opportunity to make textbooks more affordable weighed heavily in the decision to pursue and propose the resolution. According to OSU Undergraduate Admissions, the average estimated cost of textbooks is $1,234 for two semesters of full-time enrollment per student. However, the hope is that Resolution 48-R-30 would offer avenues to lower those costs.
“We hope that the resolution will encourage professors to lower cost, open source or even (not require a) textbook,” said Mario Belfiglio, a second-year in biology and primary sponsor of the resolution. “Knowing ahead of time will also help students find the most affordable options available to them.”
In addition to textbook affordability, simply understanding classes before enrolling would be a benefit of the available syllabi, Belfiglio said.
“When you just see a very generic description of the course online, you are going to make a very generic decision,” he said. “It would definitely help students sign up for classes that are appropriate for them.”
The Departments of Accounting and Management Information Systems, Engineering and Computer Science and Engineering, all offer their syllabi on their websites. However, getting the syllabi on Buckeyelink is the ultimate goal of the resolution.
“We would want the syllabi to be centralized. People have no idea that syllabi are available on the Department of Accounting’s website,” Belfiglio said.
While the officials in the Office of Academic Affairs were not available for comment, they did say in an email that “they are still studying the resolution and how it might be implemented.”
USG collaborated with other Big Ten student governments when preparing the resolution. It found that many had heard and brought forward similar concerns as the students at OSU.
“We heard a lot of the same concerns, but not many have made much progress,” said Emmy Wydman, a third-year in human resources and psychology who worked with other Big Ten student governments in discussing these issues.
The University of Oklahoma currently has a policy in place that mandates course syllabi and textbook requirements be made available 10 weeks before the first day of class. Wydman said she believes that OSU can start a trend of its own.
“It’s important when a school like ours does something like this because then other schools can follow in our footsteps,” Wydman said.
With the resolution passed, USG will now go to each department, as well as the university registrar, to discuss the plan’s feasibility.