Classroom Discussion

In a typical class, one or more class members will be asked to start the session by addressing a specific question.  Anyone who has prepared the case should be able to handle such a lead-off assignment.  After a few minutes of initial analysis and recommendations, we will open the discussion to the rest of the class.  As a group, we will try to build a complete analysis of the situation and address the problems and the issues which it presents.  Occasionally a portion of the class will be a lecture/discussion of concepts and techniques arising in the case which may be useful in a much broader range of situations.  The final portion of the class will sometimes be a lecture/discussion as a basis for the next case.

You are expected to be an active participant throughout the entire class and to contribute to the quality of the discussion.  Please note that the frequency with which you speak in class is not a key criterion for effective class participation.  The classroom should be considered a laboratory in which you can test your ability to convince your peers that you have approached complex problems correctly and that your proposed solution will achieve the desired results. Criteria that we use to measure effective class participation include:

1)     Is the comment clear and relevant to the current discussion?

2)     Does the student support the comment well using case facts and tools developed in the class?

3)     Does the student explore all the implications and the importance of the comment?

4)     Is the comment insightful?  Does it broaden the discussion and clarify the issues?

5)     Are comments complete and concise (does the comment cover the point as well as possible in a few words as possible)?

Average comment satisfies 1 and part of 2.
Good comment satisfies 1-3.
Excellent comment satisfies 1-5.

After every class the professors meet and use the above criteria to assign each comment a 0, 1, or 2 (with an approximate distribution of 10%, 75%, and 15%).  Each student receives credit for only his or her best comment from that class.

During each class, the professor will attempt to call on all students before calling on previous participants.  Students are expected to be well prepared for and to participate in every class.  Unfortunately this is not always possible.  Because we want the quality of comments to be more important than the quantity of comment, at the end of the quarter each student's lowest 9 participation grades (out of the roughly 18 class sessions, although participation is not possible in a few of the lectures) are dropped.  The remaining grades are summed for each student and then normalized ((student's grade - class mean)/standard deviation).  All grades (participation, and both written cases) are normalized to ensure that they can be properly weighted to determine overall grades.

Class participation represents a major component (33%) of your grade in this course.  You will receive a quartile ranking of your class participation just before the half way point in the quarter.