INFO 5306 HR + Finance @UNT

From time to time I take courses. It seems that University Graduate-level courses on HR issues are rare to come by. However, I have opinions on how courses ought to be structured and graded.

This course at UNT has the following issues:

  1. Due dates (times): When an asynchronous course is offered online, and it has assignments which are due before the end of the course, these dates and times should be end of day anywhere on earth.
  2. Ideological commitment to APA citations: It is gobsmacking that the MS-LS program at UNT is committed to APA citation formats in every assignment. First, Chicago (author-date) as a citation and referencing within a document is so much clearer when one needs to cite a diverse set of material types. One would think that librarians would be able to distinguish these diverse types from each other. Second, the way APA gets integrated into the curriculum is amazing. Points get deducted if they are not present (that has never been my problem, thanks to Zotero). But the point is that this should not be the emphasis of a writing assignment. If the level of composition and academic rigor on the part of students requires this then I don't know where the bottom of the barrel is.
  3. Instructions are outdated: That is, as far as courses go they often get recycled though Canvas, Blackboard, Moodle, etc. Multiple times. That is, they get re-used, sometimes from a shell course. The re-use in this case is obvious in the instructions as some things stated in the instructions to be in the assignments tab do not appear in the assignments tab, but elsewhere. Additionally, links are broken and assignment parameters are simply un-reasonable. For example, one assignment asked the student to use budget materials from 10-12 years of history at the library they work at... well some students don't work at a library, and the very library used as an illustration for the assignment only lists the last seven years which is more inline with best practices for non-profit management.
  4. Instructions are marginally relevant: In another assignment on budgeting, there is no training in the course on cost centers.. Budgeting is simple, there is revenue, and expenses, each have their categories for classification of expense/revenue and organizational unit. Then each also has a method of funds transfer. Then reports are run by any factor: revenue, classification, organizational unit, method of transfer, or combination thereof, etc. There is no attempt in the course work to show the student what a section (small organizational unit) budget might look like, what a special project budget (for a grant) might look like, what department budget might look like. One would think that a bottom-up approach to teaching financial management would make sense... I guess that is too far beyond the minimum viable product offered.
  5. Content is outdated: That is, there are a ton of links in the course. The content at one of those links was taken off-line 6 years ago. From an accessibility standpoint this should be illegal. From a consumer protections perspective the University is offering a sub-par product which discriminates against individuals with certain educational support needs.
  6. Assignment Relevance: The general approach to assignments is framed in really old traditional approaches to orienting the librarian as a consumer, instead of a proactive generative member of knowledge production and sharing economies. For example, the budgeting exercise for serials budget focuses on comparing and balancing a spending plan between monographs and serials. However, in today's context libraries are often open access publishers, they are in consortia and they may have access to state purchased information resources. Additionally, they can look at costs of Inter-library-loan costs. These other options are not well structured in the exercises, and therefore not highlighted in the curriculum.
  7. Objective and subjective grading: In this course the rubrics used are funky. The grading scale is something that categorically provides points in the allocation of 3,2, and .5. Such a scale doesn't allow for equatable qualitative gradiance. In a way the rubric forces the bell curve., which is ind of the ideological antithesis of a rubric.
  8. Hidden assignments: The final project is hidden till after over half of the term has passed. This is unacceptable. As a student I have already paid for the project (the course) and am responsible for my best performance. If I feel I need more time to perform the tasks required in the assignment then it should be available for me to review.
  9. Technology use in assignment delivery: some assignments required submission of a .doc file whereas a .pdf should be equally optional. The technology use is not in focus, rather the subjectcality and intellectual merits of the content should be what is in focus and being graded.
  10. Material accessibility: I have difficulty reading and writing. People, including professors who teach reading and literacy, have told me this. This course has no oral lectures. The content must be read in Canvas. This may be good for screen readers, but is not good for humans who have trouble reading. Canvas makes the content flow according to screen width. Some students need static written materials as is seen on paper or PDFs. I am one of these students. I find material access in this course challenging. The fact that the administration of this school doesn't understand this about pedagogy is discouraging.