Attendance is required, but certainly illnesses and personal emergencies are times when absences in class will be exempted—if possible, always contact Jennifer in advance or shortly after-the-fact if you need to miss class. Mental health days are also a consideration, so it is expected that you will have two personal days off if you need them (this does not include Mountain day).
Participation is a tricky subject; certainly smaller classes depend on student participation for lively discussions, and as much as I would love to hear myself speak and lecture to you for the entire class period, students learn better through a shared interaction with their peers and their professor. Therefore, active participation in class is not only encouraged, it is mandatory.
However, participation can be achieved in two ways:
The first is oral, the latter is written. The Web CT discussion board is designed for students who want to contribute to the class but feel shy, constrained verbally, or haven’t had time to collect their thoughts in oral form during our class period. Active participation in at least one of these forums is necessary to receive full credit towards the class.
Halfway through the semester, the class will determine how much in-class participation should weigh against Web CT discussion. For example, in the last seminar that I taught, students decided that of their 15% participation grade, 45% of this portion should be based on Web CT discussion and 55% should be based on in-class discussion. Previous courses have also split it 50/50. We can discuss this more as the semester proceeds.