Participation and Attendance in Class

We will all be members of a learning community this semester. Enthusiastic class participation is essential. All students are expected to participate in a thoughtful, well-prepared manner that is grounded in the course assignments. Daily assignments should be completed before class on the day on which they are listed on the syllabus. Students should come to class prepared to discuss the assignments every day.

Ancient classroom in Alexandria, including stone where (according to historical speculation) students had to stand and recite, answer questions, or face chastisement. (Photo: Schroeder)
Ancient classroom in Alexandria, including stone where (according to historical speculation) students had to stand and recite, answer questions, or face chastisement. (Photo: Schroeder)

All members of the class are expected to reflect critically on they ways in which they can contribute to constructive rather than destructive class dynamics. I often call upon students and may not wait for students to volunteer themselves.

Participation  involves:

  • Bringing class readings and/or notes to class to enable discussion.
  • Possible in-class presentations, graded activities, or providing discussion questions for class.
  • Taking notes.
  • Listening attentively to the professor and the other students.
  • Daily attendance
  • Informed, thoughtful, and respectful engagement in discussions, activities, and in-class writing assignments on a regular basis.
  • Respectful behavior in class.  (Disruptive or disrespectful behavior—including arriving late and leaving early—will lower grades.)

Click here for the grading rubric, which includes class participation.

Absence policy

The work we do in class is an essential part of your learning experience, and your contributions to class contribute to the learning of your peers.  Absences mean a student is missing part of the learning experience and is not contributing to our community’s learning.  Absences therefore will lower a student’s participation grade.

  • Missing three class sessions will not affect a student’s Participation grade.  Every absence beyond three may lower the Participation grade by up to one letter level (A to B, B+ to C+, etc.).
  • There are no excused/unexcused absences.  You have up to three.  More than three reduces your Participation grade. 
  • Students university commitments (sports team, forensics, etc.) that will lead to more than three absences need to give a schedule to the professor at the beginning of the semester and will receive instructions about how to make up work missed.  Any work not made up counts as an absence.
  • Students with serious personal emergencies (e.g., death of child or parent) or severe, extended illness that could lead to more than three absences should contact the professor immediately.  (Note this is for serious, severe emergencies only—not for students who chose to miss class three times earlier in the semester and then come down with a cold at the end of term.)
  • Lying to avoid a penalty is a violation of the Honor Code
  • Make friends: Students who miss class should check the website, read their email messages, and get notes from a peer before coming to talk to the professor about missed material.