The general rule of thumb is A-students sit in the front, late students sit behind them, and those uninterested in the class sit in the very back. However, this being an honors seminar, I suspected this may not be the case. So how do we choose where we sit? Is it based on participation, arrival time, major, gender?
On both Tuesday and Thursday I recorded where everyone sat, and on Thursday I also noted what time they arrived. This was made difficult by the fact that on Thursday we had to move to the conference room. However, I think this gives us more accurate data rather than less; early arrivers can be compared in the same room over two class periods, and everyone’s seating preference can be compared in two different room setups.
The seats for Tuesday are given below. The highlighted cells represent seats at the tables. The door was located in the top right corner and the TV behind Dr. Thomas at the bottom of the diagram.
On Tuesday, the larger classroom started filling before we moved to the conference room. The chart for the larger room is given first, then for the conference room. Again, shaded cells represent seats at the table. One of the tables had been moved since Tuesday.
Looking at the first two diagrams representing the classroom, as opposed to the conference room, it can be seen that students tended toward the same seat each week. When we compare these with the arrival times and majors of each student recorded in the table below, we can also conclude that students who arrived earlier in the classroom tended toward the back of the room. In the conference room, the earlier students tended toward the middle of the room, and the later students sat in the back. It is also important to note that we switched classrooms at 4:53, so students arriving at that time or earlier entered the conference room at about the same time.
Looking at majors, not much can be concluded about how that affects seating choice. It can, however, be noted that we have a very diverse class. (Majors were gotten from the online phonebook.) I also wanted to look at year in college (freshman, sophomore, etc.) but since Clemson determines this based on credit, and most honors students bring a lot of credits in with them, I had no reliable way of gathering this data.
Another theory is that students who participate more sit near the front of the room. For this data I only recorded comments that were made as part of the discussion to the entire class. Comparing the table to the figure of the conference room, we can see that this theory holds true. If we assume that the number of comments made per person were similar on Tuesday, the more active students sat near the middle of the classroom. I also noticed that the observers this week (Jonah, Marshall, Vanessa, Maddi, and myself) spoke less when they were collecting data this week. However, I don’t have the data to support this.
One thing of note is that in both rooms four of the five girls sat together. I thought this was a significant statistic. I suggest that other small groups were also formed when choosing seats across the two rooms but aren’t as easy to pick out.
In conclusion, where we sit in either of the rooms is based on when we arrive (with earlier students sitting near the back, not the front), groups, habit, and loosely on participation.