Alex Halavais just blogged the unsyllabus for a class he’s teaching this semester on communication, media and society. I take it the idea of an unsyllabus is taken from the unconference concept, where participants brainstorm topics and organise discussions instead of listening to predetermined speakers neatly orgranised in a fixed order. I attended an unconference last May; the second day of the Personal Democracy Forum in New York was set up that way, and it worked pretty well, really. I imagine a course with a student-built syllabus could also work really well, though as Alex notes in the syllabus, it’s not going to be less work for the teacher.
Alex has a history of innovative teaching – and grading. Back in 2002 he had students give each other’s contributions karma points, much as Slashdot and other discussion boards allow. This didn’t entirely work, as he explained in this blog post, but, well, don’t you love people that not only try out interesting ideas like that but also blog about them so the rest of us can see how it worked, and what worked, and what didn’t work?