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Class Participation

Class discussion will be structured around the idea of a seminar, i.e., each member of the class is responsible for contributing to discussion of the readings, presentations, videos, activities, and assignments. All students are expected to contribute regularly and productively to class discussions and activities. Class participation comprises 15% of the total grade one can receive for the class. Students should come to class prepared to discuss the required readings and assignments and readings should be done prior to the class for which they are assigned. Grades for participation will be determined by the instructor and will be based on the following criteria:

  • Regular class attendance and demonstrated preparation for class discussions (reading assignments, analysis of questions, etc.);
  • Ability to analyze factual and interpretive material so that you can arrive at logical conclusions and identify and explore different relationships;
  • Willingness to participate voluntarily in class discussions in an appropriate manner that contributes to the experience of the class and to the civility of the classroom environment; and
  • Willingness to participate voluntarily in conferences and email correspondence with the instructor in a manner that facilitates and demonstrates your engagement with the class and course curriculum.

At the end of the semester, students will be evaluated on how well they followed the instructions above and will earn the appropriate portion of the available 10% of the total grade. Details on grading for participation are:

  • A-level work = Very good daily preparation for class; having read and studied text or assigned material to analyze, absorb, and understand all material; frequent and thoughtful participation in class. Sought out instructor for discussion after class or via email. Attended individual conferences when requested. Attended class regularly with a minimum of or no absences. Was always prepared.
  • B-level work = Generally good preparation for class, having done most of the items described in "A" most of the time if not all the time. Voluntary participation in class on a fairly regular basis. Attended individual conferences when requested. Was usually prepared.
  • C-level work = Adequate preparation for class but did not feel comfortable in attempting to answer all questions. Could generally answer factual questions but felt less prepared to analyze issues, discuss cause and effect, see connections, etc. Voluntary participation only occasionally but could give a competent answer if called upon. Attended individual conferences when requested.
  • D-level work = Often unprepared. Did not consistently read assigned material prior to class. Seldom offered answers to questions proposed by instructor for discussion. Seldom volunteered to participate in class discussion.
  • F-level work = Usually unprepared. Did not read the assigned materials prior to class, nor prepared in any way for class discussion and participation. Unprepared if called upon in class.

It's important to acknowledge that each of us has different comfort levels for speaking in a group. If you are reluctant to speak in class, please challenge yourself to offer comments. Each person's insights and questions are important to the class's collective success and dynamism . Class discussion will be structured around a seminar concept in that each class member is considered individually responsible for contributing to discussion. The following guidelines will assist you in preparing for and participating in class discussion:

  • Bring a copy of the day's readings to class, as well as something to write with and on.
  • Be prepared to discuss carefully and to listen as well as to speak.
  • Discussion will be grounded in readings and class presentations and we will try to remain focused on the day's topics but not in so stringent a manner as to eliminate the possibility for useful digressions. Remember that respect for the opinions of others forms the basis of all successful discussions.




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