House committee looks at making universities post course content online
JEFFERSON CITY - The House's Higher Education committee held a public hearing Wednesday on House Bill 814, which if passed, would require course content at public colleges and universities to be posted online.
Bill sponsor Rep. Jason Chipman, R-Steelville, said the bill aims to increase transparency between students, parents and universities.
The bill would require university websites to include course syllabi, reading lists, attendance requirements, extra credit opportunities and required assignments descriptions for all courses listed in the course catalog.
Chipman said the requirement would help inform the public about what courses tax dollars are funding. He also said it will help students decide which courses to take.
"If I have a specific interest and I know a professor will teach to that interest, I will probably take that class," he said.
Chipman said knowing course content upfront could save students money.
Paul Wagner, who works as the executive director of the Council in Public Higher Education opposes the bill.
"It really inhibits the flexibility that faculty have to keep the content of their courses current and up to date," he said.
Wagner said competition between universities to find talented faculty also weighs into his opposition.
"They put a lot of work and talent into developing their syllabus," he said. "The courts have found that is their intellectual property and we believe it's important to protect that."
The bill is currently awaiting further action by committee chair, Rep. Donna Lichtenegger, R-Cape Girardeau.