In a conversation with a friend about a class that we are both optionally enrolled in he shared with me an interesting revelation.
“If this class was required, I mean if it was actually a class, I would have dropped it a long time ago.”
This friend of mine is incredibly engaged with the material and I have the pleasure of being a member of his team on the semester long project with which we are both engaged. Theoretically you would thing that nothing about the class would change if it was required or an elective. It is simply an administrative formality. Yet something inherently different happens when students are forced to take a certain subject. It is as if they shut down. They refuse to engage. They subconsciously decide that the body of work that the class is asking them to engagement is worthless. Yet if they have willingly chosen to participate in this class their attitude changes. Something is placed on the line when you as a student choose a class. Are you more engaged because of the material or because you are genuinely interested in participating.
I view this class in which I am enrolled as one of the most important classes I have taken during my time at Virginia Tech yet I agree with my teammate and feel that requiring every student to take the class would ruin everything that I have been able to attach to.