Participation & Commitment
Education follows attention. Whatever you pay attention to, you will learn. If you pay attention to the material in this course, you will learn it, and so in grading you in this course I place considerable value on your focus on the course and its central issues. I am much less concerned about the depth or speed of your learning; if you start with genuine interest in the material, then the learning will take care of itself. For this reason, the largest single grade in the course is the "participation and commitment" grade, which constitutes 30% of your overall grade.
The "participation and commitment" grade is based on my own judgment—a subjective judgment, in the end, but still informed by various objective factors: your attendance record; evidence from class discussion that you have read the material and thought about it; and your participation in the class discussion.
Some people feel shy of participating in class, and if you are one of them, you should consider an alternative form of participation: sending me emails or giving me notes in which you react to the course. This could take the form of your responding to the reading material, or finding related material, or noticing times and situations in which the real world throws up the course issues for you.
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