In 6.033, we define participation as follows:
- Coming prepared to recitation. This means doing the reading beforehand, turning in the question before recitation, etc. It does not mean that you need to have mastered the content in the paper before recitation; we expect you to come with many questions.
- Asking questions.
- Paying attention to the person speaking in recitation, whether that's your instructor, your TA, or a fellow classmate.
- Volunteering to answer questions. We know that you might not get called on for every question that you can answer, and we know that sometimes you might answer a question incorrectly (although you'll find that in 6.033, there are many questions that have no correct answer). Both of these things are okay! We aim to foster a space where all students feel comfortable sharing their ideas.
- Responding to other student's comments. We'll do many class-wide discussions.
A - The student comes prepared to and pays attention during almost every recitation. They participate in group work whenever the opportunity presents itself. They volunteer answers to questions -- from the instructor and the students -- and ask their own.
B - The student comes prepared to and pays attention during almost every recitation, participates in group work when the opportunity presents itself, but does not frequently volunteer to answer or ask questions.
C - The student comes prepared to and pays attention during almost every recitation, but rarely participates in group work or volunteers to ask or answer questions.
Below C - The student is infrequently prepared, doesn't pay attention, or doesn't attend the majority of recitations.
Each of these rubrics contains the phrase "almost every recitation" for a reason. We understand that you may need to miss 1-2 recitations during the semester. Missing up to two recitations will not impact your final grade. Missing more, however, will. The easiest way to lower the impact of any absences is to be engaged in and participate fully in the recitations that you do attend.
We don't break your participation grade down into an exact formula because each recitation presents different opportunities for participation. To make up for this lack of specificity, we will issue preliminary recitation participation grades throughout the semester (you can see the exact dates on the calendar). These preliminary grades are the grade we'd give you if we had to assign a final grade at that point.
We know that participating may look slightly different given that we're in a virtual environment, but we highly encourage you to speak up during class. Please reach out to your TA if you have any extenuating circumstances that may prevent you from doing so, or to get tips on how to improve your participation grade.
I have a concern about how my living situation will impact my participation; whom should I contact? Once we've assigned you a recitation section, please get in touch with your recitation instructor. We will work with you to find an individual solution. For example, in 2020 we had a few students who were unable to participate verbally in recitations because of background noise; we developed ways for them to participate in the zoom chat instead.
I don't want to turn my camera on during recitation; will my participation grade suffer? We know that some of you might be uncomfortable turning your camera on for a variety of reasons, which is why we don't require it in recitations (though we strongly encourage it). Not having your camera on makes it more difficult for us to gauge whether you're paying attention, since we lose one of the clearest cues (whether you're looking at the screen or not). But as long as you can demonstrate your engagement in recitation in other ways, this will be fine.
I'm anxious about my participation grade. Whom should I contact? First, some reassurance: the vast majority of students do well with participation in 6.033. We've designed the recitations so that there are lots of opportunities to participate, and while past trends don't always dictate future results, we typically give many A's for participation.
You'll receive preliminary participation grades throughout the semester to let you know how you're doing, but you can always email your TA or instructor for personalized advice on how you're doing and what you could do to improve (if you need to).
I need to miss a single recitation. Can I make it up somehow? In general, no. The majority of participation happens in class, and we don't' have the staff to run off-schedule recitations for students who miss one. Missing up to two recitations will have no impact on your final grade.
I need to miss multiple recitations because of a medical or personal issue. Is that possible? We will do our best to work with you in these situations, especially if we know about them early. Make sure you're in contact with someone at S3, and reach out to your recitation instructor so that we can come up with a plan.