© Sandra Rosenberg 2017

Assignment #1: Participation – Your Most Important First Impression

Students are often unsure about how to decide if they will do well in a course. Chances are they have consulted anyone with any knowledge of the course and, importantly, the professor; so it is imperative to be both clear and up front about how the class will run.

The first day is critical, with students assessing how much they like an instructor, and, increasingly, if they will “have fun”. It is the second of these two that worries me enough to ensure “what you see is what you get” in the first assignment, which is typically given before the drop date.

I have found that spelling out clearly exactly how a grade is achieved, with a generalized rubric if possible, helps students know both how to do their best, and why the grade is justified. Complaints are reduced in direct proportion to how clearly the numbers add up.

Here is one version of my participation grade for a skills-based introductory level communication course: Participation