Large Classes: The Century Club
Making Bigger, Better. This catchy phrase has been used to describe UNT's efforts at course redesign and support for large classes. The nature of teaching at a large university is that there will inevitably be a need to have large sections of students in certain disciplines and courses. There is nothing inherently wrong with a large course, however the challenges all instructors face in their regular size classrooms or online environments seems to be multiplied (literally and metaphorically) when larger numbers of students are involved.
How large is large? Well, there is no magic number here, but for the sake of delineation, we are designating sections with over 100 students as large. However, the tools, tips, and resources here are applicable to courses of all sizes. What we are attempting to to do is provide some resources and support for teaching and learning issues of scope, and scale. We've found it to be true that great educational ideas only work when they can be practically applied. For example, a well-crafted and deftly led classroom discussion and interaction between faculty and students which words well with 15 students does not translate to 300 students. So, these resources attempt to get at the principles behind the activities then explore ideas for how to scale activities based on the principles. As an example, engagement, interaction, and meaningful assessment are wonderful principles upon which to base a course.
If you are teaching a large course CLEAR is happy to provide these resources and ideas for your consideration but we would also love the opportunity to work with you directly to provide support. Contact Jenna Ledford (firstname.lastname@example.org), Dr. Nancy Fire (email@example.com), or Dr. Mike Simmons (firstname.lastname@example.org) for more information or support.