Teaching Large Classes Ron Eaglin
Large Class Issues • Managing the classroom • Managing the workload • Creating an effective learning environment • Assessing the students learning (our job)
Objectives of Teaching • How can you increase the effectiveness of LEARNING in this environment? • How can you manage the load of such a large number of students?
Lectures Class discussion Homework problems Case studies Reading textbooks Library research Group projects Individual projects Faculty office hours Cramming the night before for the exam Reviewing the results of an exam Follow-up materials that reinforces Chapter questions/terms Faculty/student interaction Student/student interaction Where Does Learning Occur?
The Classroom • Classroom time is “gold” do not waste it (most faculty do). • Understand just how effective lecture is with students (and in large classrooms – you are not going to be able to engage all the students).
The Classroom • Taking attendance – not! Instead give a short (1 or 2 question quiz) that students take at the end of class. • Use these quizzes to double check attendance. • I only check attendance on students who are borderline (and I let them know).
The Classroom • You can engage students by having prepared questions and a list of students in the class. • Give random questions to students from the list (randomly selected).
The Classroom • Make the lecture relevant • The 2 Phase Assignment : Give students an assignment on material before the material is covered. On the day the assignment is due cover the material and let the students redo the assignment. • This accomplishes self learning, and student see much more relevance to the materials once they have worked with it.
The Classroom • Good lectures move fast • Real learning takes place outside the classroom • When you show a student how to do something, you have a student who now knows how to watch you do something.
Learning Outside the Classroom • So what do you have available to you to assist in facilitating learning outside the classroom?
Email Forums Chat Video tape Radio Projects Interaction Course content Group projects Quizzes/Surveys Assignments WebCT calendar Real guests CD-ROM Available Tools • Scavenger hunts • Virtual guests • Streaming audio/video • Live Video conferencing • Course materials • online
Managing the Workload • Step 1: Establish policies and procedures for students (examples) AND ENFORCE THEM! • Students should only send you personal e-mails on issues concerning their grade or personal evaluation. • Create bulletin board divisions; BB’s you will read (and answer) and BB’s you will not read. • Policy for office hours; Questions on BB first, then office visit.
Managing the Workload • Tame high maintenance students • Students who desire attention are most common, give them tasks such as; “Find all students having problems with this part of the text and have all of them meet me in my office at 4 PM for a discussion.” “Find one extra resource for this assignment from the library and bring it to me to cover”
Managing the Workload • High Maintenance Students • Make sure these students follow your procedures and rules – send them away to do this if they have not. • These students are also usually looking for a shortcut, this can be tamed.
Managing the Workload • Learn the ability to cut and paste – and learn how to EFFECTIVELY use the management tools of WebCT. • A little bit of learning on your part can save you lots of time.
Upload and Download • Ability to transfer records from WebCT to Excel (and vice versa) will save time. • Why record transfer to Excel? • Learn how to work with Comma Delimited Files (CSV or TXT).
Beyond paper • Electronically turning in assignments
Quizzing and Testing • Moving beyond Scantron • Use of WebCT allows for richer testing and still simplistic grading by adding Short Answer, Matching, and Formula Based Calculated Questions. • Issues: Security, Accessibility
Testing Issues • Security: • Use formula based numeric questions • Use randomized (different order) • Use question Sets (randomized groups of questions) • Require students to take exam from specific computer lab (and have GTA available)
Accessibility • Have a testing window (ex. 4 hour time block for a 2 hour test) • There are plenty of labs on campus and lots of points of access.
Managing the Workload • Learn from those who work efficiently – such as how to manage lots of email.
Learning Environment • The best learning environment is one where the student is rewarded for learning. • You define what learning is – but it is more than just course materials • Teamwork, Research Ability, Critical Thinking, ….
Rewarding Learning • What is the primary reward (student perspective)? • Grade • What are other rewards? • Job related skills • Satisfaction • More?
Summary • Large classes can be effective learning environments. • You must learn to manage the classroom. • You must learn to manage the workload. • Share ideas that you can try ……