Salient: Victoria University Students' Paper. Vol. 25, No. 1. 1962.
How many students last year, while reviewing for their finals, wished that they had some over-all guide to the pattern and meaning of the various parts of their courses for quick reference?
How many students would have had a much clearer idea of the whole year's reading and study if they had been given course orientation guides at the very start?
Very few faculties at Victoria seem to consider it necessary for them to give any more details than are provided by the syllabus to students starting a new year's work. As a result, many students find in July that they still don't have a very clear idea of exactly where the work is leading, or what is going to be studied next. If they are lucky, they can find a past student and ask him just what to expect. If they are high on initiative, and courage, they can badger the department concerned for details. But if they are average students, particularly freshers, they don't get around to either.
Some forgotten but no doubt famous person said that the best way to teach anything is to say what you intend to teach, then teach it, then say what you have just taught. Most faculties give the latter two, but neglect the first.
Course orientation could include a statement of the purpose and scope of the course; a description of the different parts, and when they will be studied, and with whom; lists of reading for the whole year; and an evaluation of the major texts, together with some indication of the amount of detail the student should now from each.
If it is to be of maximum value, it should be available in about January, for students still wavering about their subjects.