PACS 1 is a seminar, and its primary classroom activity is discussion; this is why participation counts for 20% of the course grade. The components of class participation are attendance, attentiveness, and contributions.
Attendance means being present, mentally as well as physically, AND being prepared with the day’s materials—like having read the day’s assignment carefully. Working on other courses, surfing the web, texting friends, napping, etc., mean that you’re not really mentally present. Note that the course has an attendance policy.
Attentiveness means listening carefully, being a good audience for whomever is speaking, incorporating ideas into your own thinking, and preparing to respond with your own contributions.
Contribution means adding something worthwhile to the class’s progress. Obvious examples are speaking up to engage ideas from the readings or to respond to other students, or to the instructor’s questions. Less obvious but also valuable contributions might be to ask questions to clarify meaning—a passage in the text, another student’s remark, or something the professor said.
Example of a question: “What does the author mean by______?”
Example of an interpretation: “I think the author means ______ where she writes ______.”
The A is earned when a student almost always contributes thoughtful ideas, asks interesting questions, and responds reflectively not only to the professor’s questions but to other student comments as well. These students are highly attentive. A-level participation can be recognized as offering insightful connections between ideas and/or readings, as being well grounded in the readings, and as provoking more discussion without dominating the discussion.
The B is earned when a student usually contributes thoughtful ideas, asks relevant questions, and responds not only to the professor’s questions but to other student comments as well. These students are reliably attentive. Their engagement is evident but the analysis may not be as deep or wide-ranging as an A-level student’s. They will have almost always completed the readings and other course materials and be prepared with questions and interpretations.
The C is earned when a student comes to class and listens and occasionally offers an observation, question, or critique. These students are unevenly attentive. They may show minimal engagement with course readings and other materials. They may occasionally show lack of respect for other students and instructor by not paying attention, such as texting or surfing the Internet, or studying for other classes.
The D stands for deficient participation. This may be a result of not having done the reading, of being inattentive in class, of not interacting with classmates respectfully, sleeping or doing other work during class, or some combination of these and similar poor classroom performance.
The F is for unacceptable participation; it is a failing grade.