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The History of Harvard's Commencement, Explained

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Of late years there has been a strong tendency among our instructors to give as much aid to the men in their courses as possible, both by providing them with references for outside reading, and by giving information as to the manner in which their particular courses are to be conducted. In consequence the relations between the students and their instructors have become much more pleasant than they were under the old regime, when the undergraduates had a feeling that their instructors were trying to force them to "make bricks without straw," by giving examinations apparently destined to find out what they did not know about a course, rather than to furnish an opportunity of showing how much they did know of the subject. Recently a fresh instance of thoughtfulness on the part of an instructor for the convenience of the men studying with him has been shown by the instructor in Greek 1, who has had printed for the members of his section a pamphlet in which is published in detail the work to be done by the section during the ensuing half-year, together with suggestions as to how to get the most benefit from the course. In addition to this are given the dates on which the one hour examinations will be held, and the subjects on which the section will be held responsible at those examinations.

The kindness of the instructor in making this provision for the convenience of his section is highly appreciated, and the plan seems such a peculiarly happy one that we are led to ask why it cannot be adopted in other courses. Most instructors at the beginning of the year make a general, and sometimes rather vague announcement of the methods they intend to pursue in conducting their courses, but the men soon forget what has been told them, and there is always a feeling of uncertainty about what is going to take place in one's course, which, to say the least, is annoying.

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