The Mechanics of Class Participation

How to Get Students to Think, Talk, Share, Collaborate, Learn, and Come Back for More

We’ve all been there. Our syllabus specifies that a percentage of the course grade will be based on participation. We’ve presented riveting material or assigned a provocative reading. We show up for class, stand at the front of the room, and begin lobbing questions at the students. And the silence is deafening.

Our intentions are good, but something is missing in the execution. The four pieces offered here offer strategies and ideas for lifting our class discussions out of the doldrums and making them meaningful and efficacious for students.

— From the introduction by Elizabeth A. Lehfeldt, vice president, AHA Teaching Division

Class Participation Forum


By Elizabeth A. Lehfeldt

Points of Interest

Encouraging Class Participation with the Preparatory "Point Paragraph"
By Lendol Calder

Never Too Far Away

Tools for Engaging Students Remotely
By Susan Rhodes Neel

A Dot Matrix

Rewarding Class Commentary
By Charles S. Young

Are We Giving Students Something Worthwhile to Talk About?

By David A. Gerber

From the AHA

Townhouse Notes

One Take on Class Participation
By Allison Miller

Discussion and Debate

What Works in Undergraduate Teaching
By Mary Beth Norton