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Class Participation…

June 28, 05 by Bharani

One of the unique evaluation methods followed in B-schools is ‘Class Participation’. This is to encourage contributions/ideas/thoughts from Students. The better the quality more the marks awarded..That is, the more impressed the professor is, the more the marks.

For the past 2 months, I have been a witness to some amazing Comments from my classmates. But the number of such comments are easily counted just with your fingers!

Most of the comments given in the class during the Term 1 were recitation of facts/definitions provided in the book. Sometimes, the same opinion that was stated moments ago was re-delivered in a different flavour..All these happened when there was no marks awarded for Class participation in Term 1. But when we compared our section with other sections, we were convinced that our section was a much better place to be in..Occasionally there were brilliant comments and questions, no doubt.

Enter Term 2. Some courses have certain percentage of marks in the form of Class participation. For example, Competitive Strategy(we call CS) has 25% weightage for Class participation. Marketing has certain weightage for Class participation. The style of teaching of CS professor is well-suited to invite ‘arbit’ class participation (When some irrelevant comments or questions are made in the class, we call it as ‘arbit’. If the comment is very ‘arbit’, it will be rewarded with a round of applause. The purpose is to let the person know that he is occupying the valuable air time). Each class was focussing on a particular case. So, the class will begin with collecting key details of the case. It’s easy to make comments or observations in the beginning of the class. So the competition is fierce in the beginning. As the time goes by and as most of the observations are made, the CP level comes down. Much time was spent in thinking about what to answer and what question to ask, than to listen to comments of others or professor! (Some of my classmates concurred with this opinion). As days went by, the intensity of class participation was on the rise..For each question posed, 25-30 hands went up…

Class participation scaled new heights when one of the person who was sleeping, woke up suddenly, and posed a question and then went back to sleep! My good friend, on the other day, was eagerly waiting for an oppurtunity, and as soon as professor approved him he made his comment. Promptly checked whether TA has awarded marks for him and then relaxed his legs and arms in the chair! Gives an idea of competition for CP marks…

Controlling the quality of Class participation while encouraging all students is an art. Unless a professor is adept in that, he shouldn’t try CP evaluation in his class. Otherwise, some percentage of class is bound to go futile!

Nevertheless, it’s great to see occasional ‘gems’ from the classmates. The war of CP has just begun, and one ought to wonder what’s in store for future…

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