The idea of capital appears to have many definitions, and the definitions depend on the application of the idea. From a review by Nan Lin (Connections, 22, 1999, 28-51) capital is an investment, but it is also a product. The idea of capital can be applied to finances or economies, individual humans, cultural values, or social entities (networks!). Reading about social capital reminds me of the parable of the blind men and the elephant. The definition that sticks with me comes from Lin: Individuals engage in interactions and networking in order to produce profits...Social capital is the investment in social relations.
Ok, so how does this relate to a chemistry classroom? Many - most - chemistry classes at colleges and universities are large classes. At VCU, general chemistry classes range in size from 200 to 400 students. Even upper level chemistry classes at VCU are large with 60-130 students. Typically, a chemistry classroom looks like this: