Participation constitutes 10 percent of your final grade and will evaluate:

  • in-class engagement
  • in-class writing
  • reading quizzes
  • use of office hours or scheduled meeting times
  • attendance at FI functions, Common Book events, or Writing Center workshops
  • use of the writing center for writing support.
You and your classmates are responsible for one another in this class and online. Your conduct means everything. Be mindful of the power you have in the classroom. My challenges to you for are to:

  • be thoughtful and challenging to your classmates. You can teach others as much as I can.
  • listen others with a forgiving ear.  When another student says something that strikes you as misinformed or offensive try to respond kindly and productively.  Remember that it is often very difficult to say exactly what we mean. Give your classmates the benefit of the doubt, and help them find the language that accurately represents them as someone who does not wish to offend.
  • be open to the ways your classmates respond to what you have said. We are often unaware of how our words affect others. If you feel someone has misunderstood you, clarify your intent kindly, and with an awareness of others.  You have the right to be understood.  If at any point you feel deliberately attacked or uncomfortable in a class debate, let me know; when I am aware of how you feel I can better make the classroom comfortable.
  • be informed. This means doing the reading so your contributions to discussion are more productive.
  • encourage others, either openly or by making your contributions something others can and will want to respond to.

Students often ask me what they can do if they’re afraid to talk in class. If this applies to you know that our class is small and designed to be a low-impact space to practice more classroom assertiveness. Let me know if you want assistance or feedback on how to participate more verbally.  If you want to  supplement  your contributions to class discussion, however, you can do this: come to office hours or email when you come across things in your daily life that you think tie into our course material. In past semesters I’ve had students send in a huge variety of things, from academic articles read in other classes to references to Law & Order. If you can tie something in the outside world thoughtfully to our class work that will help your participation grade.