Steven Conn writing about "rubrics" and other student guidelines that limits thinking:
Cleaning out some files not too long ago I looked at a syllabus I wrote in my first year teaching. It was four pages long, had a rough-and-ready description of the course, and then a week-by-week schedule of lectures and assignments. The syllabus I just used in that same course ran to 13 pages, including as it now does a two-page explanation of what a “thesis” is and a page explaining each of the assignments.
I am also now required to include pages of administrative boilerplate. My favorite bit is the section where I have to explain my “learning objectives.” Head hung low, I confess that I have no idea what a “learning objective” is, though it sounds like the intellectual analog to having your dad remind you to brush your teeth.
The department of economics must get our (uniform across professors) learning objectives approved by the university level general education social science committee. Luckily, I'm on the general education social science committee.