Course Policy Brainstorm Activity
My students really responded to this activity. It got everyone talking on the first day, and (I think) it gave them a different perspective of why we have specific policies.
The entire activity takes about 30 minutes if you open up a discussion for most questions and share your insight as the instructor.
On the first day of class, separate the students into 6 groups.
Have each group discuss the question below together and identify a spokesperson to communicate their answers to the class.
Give the groups 5-10 minutes to complete.
Once all groups answered most of the questions, reconvene as a class.
Have each group’s spokesperson provide the answers to the questions and open up a discussion with the entire class.
Group #1 – Attendance Policy
Why is coming to class important?
What would be considered a valid excuse for missing a class?
When and how should you inform the instructor when you will be absent?
Should there be a penalty for unexcused absences? If so, what should it be?
Does the college have an attendance policy? Is so, what is it?
What should you do if you are absent?
Does being absent excuse you from any graded work or assignments that were due that day? Why or why not?
What is the instructor’s responsibility when a student is absent?
Group #2 – Lateness (and Leaving Early) Policy
Why is being on time for class important?
What would be considered a valid excuse for being late or leaving early?
When and how should you inform the instructor when you will be late or have to leave early?
Should there be a penalty for excessive lateness? If so, what should it be?
What should you do if you are going to be late or have to leave early?
How do you think being late affects the rest of the class?
What is the instructor’s responsibility when a student is late or leaves early?
If you were the instructor, how would you respond if someone came in 20 minutes late?
Group #3 – Classroom Behavior and Participation
Does the college have a classroom behavior policy? If so, what does it include?
Why is participating in class necessary?
What behaviors are unacceptable in a classroom environment?
Should you have to interact with other students in the class? Why or why not?
How can the instructor inspire greater participation among all students?
How do you think overall student participation affects the class as a whole?
What is the instructor’s responsibility when the class is not participating?
What would be considered unacceptable instructor behavior?
Group #4 – Cheating/Plagiarism Policy
Does the college have a cheating/plagiarism policy? If so, what does it include?
If you could cheat without getting caught, would you do it? Why or why not?
Is there a victim when someone cheats? Why or why not?
If there is a victim, who is it?
What’s the difference between collaboration and cheating? Can you help other students?
How can the instructor monitor cheating if everyone is doing the same assignments?
How do you think cheating affects the class as a whole?
What is the instructor’s responsibility when they discover a student has cheated?
Group #5 – In Class Technology/Phone Policy
Should you be allowed to have your phone in class? Why or why not?
Is using your phone during class disrespectful?
What is considered a valid reason to use your phone during class time?
Can you pay attention to the instructor when there is a computer in front of you? Why or why not?
How can we limit distractions from technology during class time?
Do any of your other classes have a cell phone policy? If so, what is it?
When working on projects, should students be allowed to use their phones to listen to music? Why or why not?
What is the instructor’s responsibility when students are distracted by technology in the classroom?
Group #6 – Assignment Policy
What percentage of your grade will come from assignments/projects in this course?
Regardless of your grades, why is it important to do your assignments?
Why do assignments have due dates?
Should an assignment be accepted after the due date? Why or why not?
Should there be a penalty when an assignment due date is missed?
What should you do if you know you will not be able to hand an assignment in on time?
Should you be able to resubmit assignments?
What is the instructor’s responsibility when students hands in their assignments late?