I had my first full week of classes this week. One story in particular is worth sharing: I am taking one class that I know is going to be very difficult, but I am excited to dive into a whole new world (new to me, that is) of microbiology. For each class our homework is to read an assigned published research paper very thoroughly. Part of the grade for the course is class participation. So far this all makes sense. When I learned how our class participation was going to be evaluated I was at first annoyed, but almost immediately welcomed it in the way you might welcome retribution from a friend for forgetting their birthday. The professor is going to call on us randomly and ask us very specific questions about the assigned paper. She is also going to record whether we answered correctly or not, and this becomes part of our participation grade.
This seems incredibly intimidating, but the goal is to force accountability and participation. How am I so sure I know what the goal is? Well, she told us, but also... I did EXACTLY the same thing to my students last year. I called on them randomly and asked them their homework questions, and recorded their answers as a reading quiz grade. Most of my students thought this was unfair. Hopefully they will take some pleasure in knowing that I am going through the same thing now! I can't wait to visit and tell them.