Class Participation

ET 690 is a discussion and issue oriented class. 30% of your grade will count toward class participation. That's a big chunk to assign to such a fuzzy category. Although class participation will always be a bit subjective, this document will attempt to make explicit what it means. There are two categories of class participation: negative and positive.

Negative areas are mainly discipline areas and, for the most part, will not be an issue in a graduate-level class. You are all adults and know not to:

Anything else negative (and most of the above) goes without saying in a graduate-level class. But these kinds of things could negatively impact your class participation grade.

Now that you know what not to do, let's look at what you should do. Class participation involves being an active and responsible participant in class discussions and activities. Think of the following as a checklist. If you can check off each of the following during each class discussion, you probably are fully participating:

More specificially, you will be getting up to 10 points each class for:
It is rare that anyone earns 10 points any given week. The final grade for class participation will be based on a curve, but studetns with an average of more than 7 points tend to be in the A category.

At the end of each class period, reflect on your own participation and make an effort to improve if you do not feel your participation is adequate. Remember that this is partly about the amount of participation and largely about the quality of participation.

Online Participation

Requirements for online participation are largely the same. However, quantity of participation will be judged more flexibly due to the open-ended nature of an asynchronous discussion. That is, you should plan to participate about the same amount as you would in class, but don't worry if a couple of people with extra time post far more than what is expected; this won't affect your participation grade. However, keep in mind that some people are better at responding in person and others are better at responding online. You might have to push yourself to keep involved with the conversation when it is in a medium for which you are less comfortable.

Email Requirement

Another component of class participation is email. Many of our discussions will take place during class. However, you will all be part of the class email list. You are expected to check your email regularly and make positive contributions to the discussion on the list. Each class member is required to send at least two messages to the class that are relevant to the readings. That's two for the entire semester, not for each class.

Email As Extra Credit

If you feel that you have a hard time participating in the class discussion, you may supplement your class discussion with additional email participation. This is not a substitute for class participation, but it is a way to boost your class participation grade. Feel free to continue the discussion after class through the class email list, and this will be taken into consideration in grading if your in-class participation is below average. Points, as described above, are regularly earned for quality email participation.

Email As a Make-Up

In the unlikely event that you must miss a class during the semester, you must make up that class by submitting a detailed discussion of the reading that you missed. This should be in the form of an email to the class email list. The email should be approximately 750 words in length (that's not a strict number, but it should give you a good guideline). Additionally, you should make an effort to respond to any email messages that respond to your comments.


The final component of the class participation grade is participation in in-class assignments and activities. This will include being prepared to participate in issue discussions and other activities taking place during class.

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This page was prepared by Dr. David M. Marcovitz.

Last Updated: August 12, 2015