Teaching large classes better

Date Released: 4 February 2016

As we all know, the last several years’ classes of new students have been unprecedentedly large. As these classes work their way through four years of college, we will need to brace ourselves for the fact that many class sizes will become significantly larger than they were in the past. And this is not going to be a transitory phenomenon since future enrollments are likely to remain fairly high.

While the research is clear that small class sizes in college produce much greater gains in important cognitive areas and in student satisfaction, this by no means implies that large classes will necessarily be intellectual wastelands. In the right hands of people who know how to teach them and are able to counter some of their major negative factors (such as the sense of anonymity and alienation and disengagement), students in large classes can benefit considerably and also feel quite satisfied with their experience, a fact of no small importance when it comes to retaining students through graduation.

All of us can benefit from knowing what these successful teachers of large classes do and how do they do it. At the next UCITE session two such teachers are going to share their tips on what works in large classes and what to avoid doing. They are Chris Butler  (Mathematics), and Corbin Covault (Physics), both former Wittke Award winners for Excellence in Undergraduate Teaching.

Join us for that discussion on Thursday February 4th, from 12:00-1:00 pm in the Herrick Room, which is on the ground floor of the Allen Building (at the corner of Euclid and Adelbert). Please use the Adelbert Road doors. 

Pizza lunch and sodas will be provided at this session. To help us estimate the amount to order, please let us know if you plan to attend this session by replying to this email or sending a message to ucite@case.edu.