Graduate Classroom Culture

Here are some helpful tips about academic life at Ohio State:

Class Participation

  • It is acceptable for students to ask questions and discuss topics with the instructor during class.
  • Raising your hand to ask a question or make a comment is encouraged.
  • If a professor calls on you to answer a question, you should say something—you could even say that you do not know the answer. In most classes, it is okay to give a wrong answer.
  • Class participation is almost always included in your grade. Asking one or two questions per semester can be one way to participate.


  • You will receive a syllabus the first day of class. If the syllabus is posted online, remember to bring it or have access to it for the first day of class.
  • The instructor will let you know if there are specific rules for that class such as if food or drinks are permitted.
  • The syllabus will tell you when assignments are due.
  • Dress is informal in the classroom.
  • Smoking is not permitted in classrooms or on the Ohio State campus.
  • You are expected to go to class on time. It is better to be late than to miss class.
  • If you miss a class because of illness, especially a long illness, a doctor's excuse/note should be submitted to your instructor (s). If you need help, the Student Advocacy Center can contact instructors, etc.

If you are overwhelmed or stressed, continue to attend class and get help. The biggest mistake students can make is to stop going to class.

  • If a student stops going to classes, it can result in dismissal from the University.
  • Most instructors have office hours specifically for students to seek assistance.
  • Your instructor may refer you to someone you can hire as an ECE tutor for a specific course.
  • Your advisor can be a great help in establishing a plan if you are concerned about the course workload.
  • You can discuss classroom culture or other resources with the Graduate Program Coordinators; students are expected to seek solutions, not be passive.
  • The Dennis Learning Center offers a free one-hour Academic Coaching Session for enrolled students.
  • For course-specific help, please remember to meet with your instructor.
  • Your ECE Program Coordinators can assist with finding resources.

International students might also be interested in the Office of International Affairs (OIA) Cultural Preparation resource