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Students are often unclear about class participation, especially if it counts toward their grade. If you explain what you expect students to do and why participation matters, you will help them learn from their participation.

Consider giving students some sense of their grade while they still can make adjustments to improve it around mid-semester.

Sample Language

Donovan O Schaefer, RELS 102: "Sacred Stuff: Religious Bodies, Places, and Objects"

Participation is a major component of this class, but how you participate is (in part) up to you. In-class discussions, contributions to canvas discussion boards, and correspondence with me will all be factored into participation. Respect for the classroom space—helping to create an environment where other students can learn—will be considered, as well.

Lisa Miracchi, Phil 205: "What is meaning?"

Participation comes in three forms:

  • Clicker attendance and participation.
  • Vocal in-class/section participation (in section or lecture).
  • Reading responses

Please submit responses(1 paragraph/3-5 sentences) about one of the required readings for every lecture. In order to receive full credit, you must do this before the class that the reading is due. Partial credit will be awarded for late responses.

Your responses should critically respond to one of the arguments in the readings, ask a detailed question, etc. A great response is: "I didn't understand the argument because...", not "I didn't understand the argument."

Heather Sharkey NELC 235: "Food in the Islamic Middle East: History, Memory, Identity"

This is a class for talkers, so come expecting to participate actively in all discussions.

Michael Gamer, English 210: "Lyrical Ballads"

We'll meet as a seminar—i.e, as a group of people sharing a common interest and course of readings meeting regularly for discussion and sharing of insights. Our class thus will be discussion-based and often quite hands-on, with only periodic short lectures. I've set up the course so that you will have considerable freedom to come into class with your own agendas and questions. Obviously, with this freedom comes responsibility. On the one hand, as a class, we must agree to honor each other's interests and intellectual tangents, and respect what each other thinks is important; on the other hand, it means responding to one another rather than talking at one another.