Shifting the Balance Away from Extroversion: Rethinking the Participation Grade

As I noted in a previous post, I’m trying to rethink the politics of loud/quiet, introversion/extroversion in my classroom (in a much less binary form, actually). Part of that means thinking critically about participation and *how* it can be achieved successfully at individual and group levels.

This term, I’ve decided to implement the following participation assignments:

Reading Questions:

For every reading we do in this course, you must submit one substantive question on Twitter at least twelve hours before the class period in which we will discuss it (i.e., by 8pm the day prior to class). These questions should show that you have read and understood the basic topic, argument, and purpose of the text. They should engage with the reading as a part of our bigger discussion. I will be posting questions as well.

(We will be using Twitter quite a bit in this course. I suggest creating a disposable Twitter account rather than using your personal one. You can create a Gmail or Outlook account specifically for this purpose. Please talk to me if you are not sure how to do this.)

Our hashtag for reading questions will be #122readQs

Discussion Leaders Groups

In the second week of class, everyone will sign up for discussion leading groups. When your scheduled day arrives, you and a group of your classmates will lead discussion on the assigned reading and its connection to real issues in the wider world (which you’ll have, at the very least, have explored on Twitter). You will receive more details about this assignment via handouts and discussion with me.


Creative Research Presentations 

For our course final, you will give a group presentation about an aspect of writing we covered in the course. This presentation should explain the concept in a creative (but thorough) way, and should be based on each group member’s understanding of the concept. Rather than the typical presentation, which generally involves reading from a paper directly or using a PowerPoint or Prezi, you will represent your argument with a creative medium (a rap, a short video, a series of illustrated drawings, a song, a skit, an interpretive dance—which you’d have to actually interpret with a voice over or a handout). In addition to this creative presentation, each group member will submit a 1-2 paragraph report detailing (1) how the group came up with the presentation and what method(s) were used, (2) what part of the presentation he or she was responsible for, and (3) what the other members of the group were responsible for.

Participation Assignments

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