Examining Class Participation @ Nanyang Technological University

Abstract: Purpose – The main objective of this study was to explore students‟ perceptions of class participation and its benefits, barriers to their participation, and the motivational factors that may improve their class participation.
Design/methodology/approach – Data were collected through a pre-tested questionnaire survey participated by 172 graduate students from three graduate programs offered by Wee Kim Wee School of Communication & Information, Nanyang Technological University, Singapore. Interviews with 8 participants were also conducted to understand some trends emerging as a result of data analysis.
Findings – It was found that a majority of the students agreed that class participation was helpful in their overall learning process as it provided them an opportunity to listen to and appreciate diverse viewpoints, develop social and communication skills, and learn how to organize and present their ideas. It was interesting to note that over 90% of the students said that instead of talking in a big class, they usually preferred participating in small group discussions. They also indicated that they were more likely to participate in classes taught by friendly and approachable instructors. The major barriers to class participation, identified by the respondents, were: low English language proficiency, cultural barriers, shyness, and lack of confidence.
Originality/value: As many non-English speaking Asian students go overseas for library and information science education, this study will help academics to understand students‟ perceptions of class participation. It also outlines certain factors that may either stimulate or create barriers to their class contribution. This paper suggests certain measures for improving effectiveness and usefulness of students‟ class participation.

Keywords: Collaborative Learning, LIS Education; Class Participation; Students Perceptions; Sharing Barriers; Singapore

Shaheen Majid, Cheng Wei Yeow, Chng Swee Ying Audrey, Lim Ruey Shyong: Enriching Learning Experience through Class Participation: A Students’ Perspective. In: Cooperation and Collaboration in Teaching and Research: Trends in Library and Information Studies Education, IFLA-ALISE-EUCLID Satellite Meeting at the IFLA World Library and Information Congress (WLIC), August 8 – 9, 2010, Borås, Sweden.

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