CSU departments leave decision to share materials up to professors

Imagine you’re in the middle of your history class, taking notes during a lecture. You see a slide on the screen that is the same one you saw in your 9 a.m. class. The repeat of information ensures that you’ll get a good grade in both classes, but are you really learning anything?

Some CSU students experience this type of déjà-vu in their classes when professors share materials.

According to Dale DeVoe, dean of the department of Applied Human Sciences, review in classes is common, especially before the new material is covered.

“We leave it to the department to make sure courses don’t have any significant overlap,” Devoe said, “Credit won’t be given if classes are too similar.”

Professors may not be aware that they are covering the same material in their classes. They teach a curriculum that was previously approved.

“Instructors only have certain freedoms within a framework of a course,” said journalism instructor Kim Spencer.

Professors are given a list of course expectations at the beginning of each semester, and they must teach the specific concepts listed. Most of the same concepts are listed on the curriculum.

“It is a long drawn-out process to get a course approved or changed,” DeVoe said.

The proposed changes must go through the department head, the College Curriculum Committee, and the University Curriculum Committee before it is approved.

In terms of shared slides, some professors collaborate and provide that material to students, while others create their own within the framework of their class structure. It all depends on the class being taught and the knowledge that students have demonstrated.

“Faculty members are unique in the classroom,” Devoe said, “They bring in their past experiences and own perspectives.”

Elliot Bernstein, a professor in the chemistry department at CSU, said that the department has no policy against sharing slides. Instead, it’s regulated on an individual basis.

Journalism instructor Clarissa Crozier uses information for one class from a previous professor.

“When I took over JTC 310, a professor gave me all of her files of assignments and slides,” Crozier said.

From there, she tweaked the information to fit each class and to fill the gaps in students’ knowledge of the topic.

Spencer said she usually produces her own content.

“I generally create my own slides for all my classes, except JTC 210, which is entry-level,” Spencer said.

Students will likely review some of the same material in their classes because their professors may share information. If students see a problem with this, there is a simple solution.

“If any problems arise, students should go talk to the department head,” DeVoe said.

City beat reporter Amanda Zetah can be reached at news@collegian.com.