How I Grade Course Participation

As you’ve noticed from elsewhere on this website, this course uses an unusual instructional model.  The course is based on an androgogical rather than a pedagogical model

  • In child-style learning, the teacher is responsible for everyone’s learning.
  • In adult-style learning, the student is responsible for making sure that everyone else in the group learns too.

I’m not passing responsibility to you; I’m sharing it.  That’s what adult learning is all about — and you’ll be doing it the rest of your lives.  As a result, shouldering your responsibility for the success of this course constitutes 20% of your grade.

What does this mean, in practice?  I’ll be looking for the following things:

  1. Your presence, both physically and mentally in the classroom.  This means full participation in discussions, etc. — the stuff that gives you a good participation grade in a normal course.
  2. Your intellectual leadership, esp. the degree to which you bring organization and energy to our projects and to your group presentations, new information and new ideas to class, and provide a sense of direction to our efforts.
    • NB: So that I’m not just rewarding extroverts, this can also include conversations with me outside of class about the course direction and the topics we are covering.
  3. Your attention to others’ learning, and your active efforts to make sure that others in the group benefit from the course.  This might include your direct interventions, but it also might include conversations with me outside of class.
  4. The depth and quality of your  comments on other students’ blog posts.
  5. The amount and quality of the data that you bring to our various collaborative data exercises.

These matters are not mutually exclusive, of course.  But they give you an idea of the kinds of things that I’ll be thinking about as I evaluate your work.

— JS