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Random Thoughts on Comments…

November 11th, 2008 · 3 Comments · Uncategorized

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…

  1. Classmates make 2+ comments per class.
  2. They take minutes to say something that could be summarized in five words.
  3. Oh, and you know it’s going to be bad when they preface it by saying “I think X for three reasons…”
  4. 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:

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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…!

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