Example from a Stanford University syllabus:
You are expected to be an active participant
throughout the entire class and to contribute to the quality of the discussion.
Please note that the frequency with which you speak in class is not a key
criterion for effective class participation. The classroom should be considered
a laboratory in which you can test your ability to convince your peers that you
have approached complex problems correctly and that your approach will achieve
the desired results.
Criteria that we use to measure effective class
Is the comment clear and
relevant to the current discussion?
Does the student support the
comment well using case facts and tools developed in the class?
Does the student explore all
the implications and importance of the comment?
Is the comment insightful?
Does it broaden the discussion and clarify the issues?
Are comments complete and
concise (does the comment cover the point as well as possible in a few words
An average comment satisfies 1
and some of 2. A good comment satisfies 1-3. An excellent comment satisfies 1-5.
Class participation represents a major component of your grade in this course
You might even specify a class rule: "You are not
allowed to say ‘I don’t know’ in this class when asked a question. You are
not required to know, but you are expected to think. So if I ask
you a question and you don’t know the answer, you are responsible to think of
an answer, to guess, to speculate, to wonder aloud."