Image: Humans write syllabi, which means they make subjective choices about words, tone and content. And students read them—or not, depending on whether they have access, find them approachable or understand their significance. Even when students read these documents, their past experiences may influence how they make sense of them.
Some professors who recognize that syllabi are not neutral documents have experimented with creating liquid syllabi—public, accessible, mobile-friendly websites that include traditional syllabus ingredients along with humanizing elements that ensure students feel supported. Many report that their efforts to create liquid syllabi pay dividends in terms of student retention and success, especially for those who need frictionless access.
But some colleges do not recognize these innovative, tech-enabled syllabi. That means that some instructors perform this work on their own time, sometimes at their own expense, and in addition to writing and submitting traditional syllabi. Also, in bypassing the university’s website and learning management