By weighting class participation as 50%+ of each students final grade, it’s sometime interesting to think about how this impacts class dynamics. It really starts to get on your nerves when…
- Classmates make 2+ comments per class.
- They take minutes to say something that could be summarized in five words.
- Oh, and you know it’s going to be bad when they preface it by saying “I think X for three reasons…”
- It’s also a little amusing that people always seem to preface comments by saying “I completely disagree…” like the fact that they disagree has some inherent content to it.
On the other hand, I find that my behavior isn’t exactly optimal either:
- I take more controversial and dogmatic positions than I otherwise would… because it draws a passionate response from others, which in turn, makes it a “Category 1” comment.
- I also find that I tend to “check out” after making a comment. I don’t want to be one of those impolite people who monopolizes class time with 2 comments, and the incentives to actively listen drop dramatically when your grade isn’t on the line.
- I sometimes have problems timing comments, too. I like to think I’m pretty-forward thinking, but I get excited and offer my (obviously) groundbreaking insight too early in class. Even though it might be a central principle, the professor brushes over it and doesn’t return to until later.
In spite of all that, I talked to someone the other day whose partner goes to MIT Sloan. It sounds like they have to hammer out problem set after problem set. Compared to that, I think I definitely prefer the HBS method…!