Singham, M. (2007, Fall). Liberal Education, 93(4), p. 52-56. Retrieved July 10, 2009, from http://www.aacu.org/liberaleducation/le-fa07/...
This is a convincing argument against using syllabi in teaching.
A quote I particularly like:
I have seen long and highly detailed syllabi that carefully lay out rules for attendance, punctuality, extra credit, grades, and penalties for missing deadlines, as well as detailed writing assignment requirements that specify page and word length, spacing, margins, and even font style and size. The syllabi use boldface, underlining, italics, and exclamation points for added emphasis; the net effect is that of the teacher yelling at the student. What such syllabi often omit is any mention of learning. They list the assigned readings but not reasons why the subject is worth studying or important or interesting or deep, or the learning strategies that will be used in the course. The typical syllabus gives little indication that the students and teacher are embarking on an exciting learning adventure together, and its tone is more akin to something that might be handed to a prisoner on the first day of incarceration.