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Classroom discussion is a key aspect of learning, but class discussion is often dominated by extroverted students. Further, research shows that students from underrepresented groups are often less likely to participate in classroom discussion. While instructors may attempt to broaden participation by calling on students to participate, instructors are often subject to unconscious biases which cause them to call more often on students with certain characteristics. To address these issues, I recommend a random calling technique using a random number generator to create an advance list of students to call on during class. This random approach addresses the issue of unconscious bias and provides all students with an equal chance to participate, regardless of their background or assertiveness. Additionally, since students do not know in advance if they will be called upon, this practice encourages students to adequately prepare, which increases overall student engagement. I discuss how to implement this strategy, including how to reduce student anxiety regarding the process. Student feedback indicates that while some students are uncomfortable with being called on randomly, they come to understand the process and acknowledge that it helps motivate them to prepare for class and increases student engagement.

Publisher Location

Las Vegas (Nev.)

Publication Date



UNLV Office of Faculty Affairs




Participation; Engagement; Randomness; Equity; Bias; Preparation; Discussion


Education | Higher Education | Scholarship of Teaching and Learning

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513 KB


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Promoting Equity and Engagement with Randomness