This article was originally published in De Minimis, Melbourne Law School’s student newspaper.
This semester, I reckon I’ve had the same two conversations with about fifty different people. The one about how the required readings in Trusts are outrageously long and (in many cases) stand for single sentence propositions; and the one about how the property textbook is a vile, cancer-causing, largely-irrelevant-if-you-attend-class waste of time riddled with contradictions, grammatical errors and poor referencing.
If you talk to our predecessors, they will echo the same sentiment: “Are they still prescribing 30-page cases for a single sub-principle?” a grad asked me the other day.
It’s funny then that at the end of each semester, our teachers have to beg us to provide some feedback through the feedback survey. Its funny how we ignore them like they’re handing out pamphlets for the Socialist Alternative on main campus.
Students do not build this curriculum. We are to take the compulsory subjects prescribed for us, and if we get through the “fear years” in which they are imposed, are permitted to take seven electives over the second half of our degrees.
But that shouldn’t mean that we just accept that what is prescribed in the compulsory units is the only way of doing things.
Our readings are too long. TELL YOUR LECTURER IN THE SURVEY.
The textbook in property is awful. TELL YOUR LECTURER IN THE SURVEY.
You’ve got ideas about what could be cut out. TELL YOUR LECTURER IN THE SURVEY.
Last year my Legal Theory tutor lamented that barely a fifth of his 2013 class took the five minutes required to provide some constructive feed-back. What the hell were the other 80% doing? Certainly not doing the readings. I mean how could we? They were too long according to everyone I spoke to!
I mean the whole thing is anonymous – so literally the ONLY thing you have to lose is the 8 minutes it takes to put in a meaningful response.
I procrastinate so much I’d provide feedback three times a week if I could – and from the discussions I’ve had people are harbouring the same feelings. But my teacher’s are still perplexed when only a few people out of 60 got through the prescribed readings.
Whilst some of it might be chalked up to wilful blindness, we owe to ourselves and our teachers to give feedback so there’s no excuse.
Surely there’s merit in a more collaborative academic environment. And for eight minutes what do you have to lose?
Do your SES feedback survey and save the 2016 class from what we went through. Do what last years’ class didn’t do for us.
Because if 300 students say “get rid of the property textbook”, I reckon they might just consider it.