Class participation may count for more than students think

By on February 21, 2007

While class participation has always counted toward a portion of students’ grades, some students find that class participation counts for a greater portion of their grades this semester.

“I actually have noticed that most of my classes this semester involve a class participation portion of the final grade,” said Andrew McDonough, a sophomore economics major.

McDonough is not the only student who feels that class participation is increasing in importance. “It’s changed a little bit from last semester,” said Caitlin Lashley, a freshman occupational therapy major. “I think it’s more. It really depends on the class and it depends on the teacher.”

Not all students are experiencing an increased emphasis on class participation, however. “I think it’s the same,” said Aisha Johnson, a sophomore media production major. “I think [it] is valued the same as it was last year.”

Not only do some students note that class participation does not count for a greater percentage of the final grade this semester, some students wish that it would. “I would have to say that class participation is low,” said Katie Frankel, a freshman history and finance major. “I feel it should count more than it does.”

Regardless of whether individual students’ classes are now placing a higher value on class participation, the question remains whether the university has made a concerted decision to increase the relative value of class participation, or if the matter is determined by individual professors.

The answer to this question varies by school.The College of Liberal Arts is trying to increase the weight of class participation, said Johannes Bergmann, the dean of the College of Liberal Arts.

“We do talk about it,” Bergmann said. “We hope the QU course encourages it.” Bergmann went on to talk about the nature of the QU lectures. “The idea of the course is not lecture, but discussion,” he said.

The College of Liberal Arts professors are hoping that the QU curriculum will encourage more students to participate in their classes, Bergmann said.

Another dean, however, said that there is no specific push for this in his department. “There hasn’t been a discussion among faculty,” said Rick Hancock, assistant dean of the School of Communications. “Professors have their own rules.”

While there is no mandated increase in class participation, it is nevertheless generally increasing in several areas, if not unanimously, throughout campus.


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