Attendance, Participation, & Leadership

Redlands provides small classes because our model of education emphasizes active learning.  Though led and structured by professors, Redlands courses – even introductory ones – encourage students to bring their own experiences, insights, and intelligence to bear on the course topic.  Participants are all teachers as well as learners.

Participation & Leadership

There are many ways to engage in course leadership — enough to suit all personality types.   Here are some of the ones that I value.

  1. Coming to class on time and prepared.
  2. Asking questions in class, participating in discussions, summarizing material so that others can understand it, and so on.
  3. Providing leadership to your presentation groups.
  4. Posing questions about the topic and the reading, both to me and to the class as a whole.
  5. Helping other students learn by taking good notes and posting them on the course Collaborative Class Notes Wiki (on Moodle).

The last two of these favor quiet students as much as louder ones, so they are specifically required:

  • Prepare two questions for each day of class, that you would like to see answered or discussed.  They are due at the beginning of the class period.  Bring a copy for me and one to keep for yourself.  Get to class early, so you can write your questions on the board.
  • Each week starting with Week 2, two students will be responsible for posting their class notes on the Collaborative Class Notes Wiki (on Moodle).  Other students will add their edits, whle contributing their insights, comments, questions, and so on.  

Both of these assignments contribute to others’ learning, while also contributing to your own  Doing them well raises your participation and leadership grade.


Absence from class not only deprives you of the opportunity to learn from others; it deprives others of the opportunity to learn from you.  Absence, non-participation, or other irresponsibility will thus seriously lower your course grade.  Specifically:

  • Missing more than two classes will lower your course grade by 1/3 grade point. (For example, a “B” will become a “B minus”.)
  • This includes illness. We all get sick sometimes.  Please schedule your illnesses for the weekends or for Spring Break, when we do not meet.
    • Note:  I do cut parents some slack.  You can’t control when your kids get sick.
  • Warning: Brain-dead presence is only a little better than being absent. Trying to BS me when you didn’t do the reading is worse.  I reserve the right to count your “presence” as an absence, when there is no discernible difference.