Search This Blog

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

After First Impressions: Should they come to class?

Olympiastadion Seats
I've been thinking about attendance and it's effect on grades and then the online corollary - frequency of access to the course shell and participation in discussions.  Today @Busynessgirl tweeted a Chronicle article: on the same topic.  

The majority of my teaching career has been with adult students - not the 18 to 19 year old crowd, but the 28-34 year old crowd.  In my mind they are all adult enough to decide for themselves whether or not they are coming to class.  And yet.....  I don't have a formal study across many classes regarding participation and login frequency and their relationship to class success, but just in my own classes the students who login 3 to 4 times a week and are active on the discussion board do complete successfully at a higher rate than those who do not login. 

That means I require participation on the discussion boards and I tie that participation to course grades.  lately it hasn't been a lot of points, not even the difference between and A and a B, but still, there are points involved.

As a side note:  attendance and participation aren't quite the same thing.  Attendance in a F2F course means seat time and seat time is a proxy for things like learning outcomes, knowledge, etc.  Participation is probably a better proxy for learning outcomes and knowledge attained.  Clearly you can have attendance without much participation (especially in 8:00 am classes).  But participation requires attendance.

Also relevant:  The Two Lies of Teaching from Dy/Dan,


(Photo credit: From Hey Mr Glen,

No comments:

Post a Comment