At Wyoming Catholic College something all students know is that a large percentage of their grade comes from somewhat ephemeral “class participation” scoring. Now there is some variance from professor to professor in exactly how this is measured, but the basic principles are pretty much the same. Since its an important part of the grade and the one least tied to any individual assignment, even a small improvement can go a long way to improving your overall grade in a particular class. And that leads to the frequently asked question of how to improve this grade if you’re one of those “Dolonesque” (according to Professor Washut) who care about their grades.
IIT has had a lot of experience in this respect, and from consultations with experts at being students such as Omnsicens, Omnsicens Nova, and Omnisciens Miles, we’re pleased to offer you five surefire ways to improve your class participation grade without having to actually do any more studying (though that may help too).
1. Talk more (regardless of what you say)
While professors do care somewhat about what you are saying, a little bit of sophistry and a lot of words can cover over your not having finished a reading or not understanding it. Just let the words flow out and let the logic come later, perhaps second semester of senior year. This is the most common suggestion given by professors during Don Rags, so its quite simple: they want words, so give them words.
If you want to get a bit more refined, we suggest mixing in buzzwords/buzzphrases. This means saying “form”, “potency”, “actuality”, or “transcedenticalitiously persuasive rhetoric” in a philosophy class or “fate” or “order” in Humanities. During any class, however, simply saying “(name), I don’t understand that” or if you really want to look smart, “Nescio”, often works to get the professors’ attention.
Other similar ways to look smart and participative include asking guiding questions to appear to be a “seminar leader”. These include saying, “Where are we going?”. “Can you please repeat that?” or “Can we get back on track?”
3. Sit Next to the Professor and Bring Him Coffee
It sounds like bribery, and it may actually be that, but since we won’t know for sure until Ethics during junior year, go ahead and bring coffee to the professor, offer to retrieve his notes (in Dr. Grove’s class) or offer to bring him markers. The professor can’t help but take notice of the attention you’re giving class and the good you’re doing for him and the section as a whole, something that will surely earn some time of reward in the form of good marks for participation.
4. Stand Up During Class and Display an Intellectual Expression while Talking Slowly in a Low Voice
This way, the professor sees you standing out since you’re towering over everybody else, and as he also knows for sure that you’re not sleeping, he won’t have to wonder. Talking slowly in a low voice extends the time you’re speaking, both directly and because you’ll likely have to repeat yourself. Looking smart while doing this helps boost your ethos as well in combination with all this, in some cases even possibly making him think you’re a wonder-filled Convert (from Dr. Holmes lecture on the four types of students), but always wowing the professor with your focus and an appearance of actually caring.
5. Stay after Class and Ask the Professor a Lot of Questions
It doesn’t matter what they are. Just ask questions afterwards, and it’ll create the image that you had a lot of good points to make, but just weren’t able to for some reason. The risk here is that in some cases the professor may think you know more than you do and expect you to present on the answers achieved from your discussion in the next class but in most cases its a risk worth taking.
Bonus: As Omnsicens (the sophomore one …and only one) told us, a larger beard properly kept up, equals wisdom. Therefore if one wants to be truly wise and not just give the experience of wisdom, get a beard.
Note: All of these suggestions require actually attending class, as although several students have attempted telling professors that their missing friends are present but just “invisible” it appears none of the professors at WCC believe the concept of invisibility has any philosophical basis among physically embodied beings. Whilst this idea may work at other colleges that don’t actually believe in particulars, TAC for instance, it doesn’t work here. So come to class!