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Quiet (But Engaged) Participation (CTE798)Export this event to calendar

Tuesday, March 20, 2018 — 10:00 AM to 11:00 AM EDT

Quiet (But Engaged) Participation (CTE798)

Date: Tuesday, March 20, 10:00 - 11:00 am

Location: EV1 241

Facilitators: Rachel Milner and Christine Zaza (CTE)

Workshop description

In many small classes, students have a chance to share their thoughts by engaging in class discussions. While this is motivating for some, it can be terrifying for others. Nonetheless, it is common for instructors to gauge understanding and assign grades by assessing students’ verbal contributions to class discussions. This way of measuring participation raises several questions about inclusivity. For example, what about students who, for a variety of reasons, struggle with speaking up in class but excel in other ways of contributing to discussion? Is there an assumption that quiet students have less to contribute than those who are comfortable with, and able to negotiate, the demands of verbal discussion? Is it fair to base participation grades on the ability to speak up in class in front of peers? How can instructors engage students in discussion and measure participation in ways that account for diversity?

In this workshop we will describe how instructors can apply Universal Design principles to the design of class discussions. We will present, and model, examples of alternatives to discussion and provide instructors with tools to design a course that does not rely on verbal discussion as the only means of grading participation. Participants will have the opportunity to experience some of these alternatives during the workshop.

Learning outcomes:

By the end of the workshop participants will be able to

  • Describe alternatives that promote inclusivity when designing and assessing participation activities in small classes
  • Identify and appreciate the diverse needs and strengths of students’ ways in which they participate
  • Describe how to incorporate Universal Design principles when engaging students in small classes.



The University of Waterloo is committed to achieving barrier-free accessibility for persons with disabilities who are studying, working, or visiting at Waterloo. If you have questions concerning access, such as parking, building layouts, or obtaining information in alternative formats, or wish to request accommodations for a CTE workshop or event, please contact CTE via email (cte@uwaterloo.ca) or phone (ext. 33857) and include the session’s title and date. Our workshops typically involve a mix of presentation and discussion-based activities, and we encourage a scent-free environment. We also welcome accompanying assistants, interpreters, or note-takers; notify us if accommodations are needed in this regard. Please note that some accommodations may require time to arrange.

EV1 - Environment 1
200 University Ave West

Waterloo, ON N2L 4G1