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Teaching Large Classes

Teaching Large Classes

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Teaching Large Classes

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  1. Teaching Large Classes Wayne Hall Vice Provost for Faculty Development (for now), and Professor of English & Comparative Literature Center for the Enhancement of Teaching & Learning – July 2011

  2. Who’s here today? • Roster as of 4:00 PM yesterday: • 8 colleges represented, 27 participants • A&S: 9 • DAAP: 4 • 16 tenured or tenure track • 7 adjunct faculty • 1 grad student • 3 academic staff/administrators

  3. And what do you teach? (from the survey as of 4:00 PM yesterday, with 17 responses): • 13 (81%) teach undergrad courses • 10 teach grad courses • 4 teach intro courses • 3 teach labs • 2 teach clinicals • 1 teaches capstones

  4. So how long have you been teaching at the college level? • 1 for one or two years • 3 for three to five years • 2 for six to ten years • 2 for eleven to fifteen years • 3 for sixteen to twenty years • 3 for twenty to thirty years • 2 for over thirty years

  5. In large-enrollment classes? • 44% yes, ranging from 10 students on up to 333 students • Average seems to be right around 70 - 80

  6. So what are you after today? • More student engagement • Managing the grading • Managing the time in class • Individualizing the class • Putting more emphasis on active learning • Managing the class (and preventing cheating) • Learning/using new technologies • Main thing: develop materials today that you can use tomorrow

  7. Our primary goal: to improve student learning in large-enrollment classes

  8. Secondary (but still overarching) goals: • Improve the quality of the teaching-learning experience for the instructor of large-enrollment classes • Streamline the time required to design and conduct large-enrollment classes

  9. Resources at webh.wordpress.com

  10. What will I get out of this morning’s workshop? • Broad-strokes / fire-hose approaches to large-enrollment classes based on: • Two case studies (winter quarter 2010 and spring quarter 2011) • Current research within the national conversations • Q&A identification of individual problems and general approaches to solutions

  11. What will I get out of this afternoon’s workshop? • One five-word answer to these questions: • Diversity within the classroom (that is, how can I deal with such different levels of preparedness and different learning styles?) • High-volume communication (that is, how can I respond efficiently to all that email?) • Student collaboration (that is, how can I manage student groups, including the “free rider” syndrome?) • The volume of grading (that is, how can I manage all that paper?) • Development of individual solutions / resources • Course redesign of large-enrollment courses • Other as-needed take-aways

  12. What’s our schedule time-wise? • 8:30 to 9:00 – overview and introduction • 9:00 to 10:00 – fire-hose mode • 10:00 to 10:20 – break • 10:20 to 11:00 – fire-hose mode • 11:00 to 12:00 – small groups around the tables • 12:00 to 12: 40 – lunch • 12:40 to 1:00 – small-group reports • 1:00 to 1:40 – fire-hose mode • 1:40 to 2:00 – break • 2:00 to 4:00 – individual project development

  13. What if I just start to feel totally overwhelmed? • Think balance: • Introduce changes gradually • Some risk taking, some tried & true approaches • Use reflective assessment re the future • Think communication: • Articulate strategies to students • Provide rationales for whatever you do

  14. Case studies • English Department pilot (100-120 students) • 200-level literature (non majors) • Tues/Thurs class, winter 2010 • Follow-up version (35 students) • MWF class, spring 2011 • My pedagogy priorities: • small-group learning • not a lecture class • heavy use of technology

  15. Curricular priorities: • General Education / Integrated Core Learning • Critical Thinking • Effective Communication • Knowledge Integration • Information Literacy • Semester Conversion / course redesign

  16. Braunstein 300 (cap. 136)

  17. How hybrid? • Weeks 3 – 9: Tues / Thurs split • Attend one class, complete one online assignment • Advantage: only one class prep • Disadvantage: lots of online assignments to grade • Main advantage: only 60 students in a room that holds 135

  18. Student evals for this feature:

  19. How hybrid for MWF? • Weeks 2 – 9: Wednesday as the “starter” class in a week-long unit • Attend Wednesday plus either Monday or Friday, complete one online assignment • Advantage: no new class prep on Mondays • Disadvantage: lots of online assignments to grade • Main advantage: only 15 - 25 students in a room that holds 40

  20. Student evals remained positive:

  21. Foundational concept: SLO’s • Articulatethe Student Learning Outcomes • Align those SLO’s with • course pedagogy, • assignments, and • assessment

  22. Resources at uc.edu/cetl:

  23. Assessment/Course Evals As instructors report on the course evaluation data that they have received, as a way to document their teaching, they may consider contextualizing the data within the framework of these three inter-related questions:1. What is the nature of the feedback you have gathered from students about your teaching?2. What did you do with this feedback to improve or change your teaching?3. What evidence do you have that demonstrates that these changes were effective in improving student learning?

  24. Five main rooms to be developed in a large-enrollment house: • Lecture modules • Collaborative learning • Instructional technology • Rubrics • Reflection

  25. 1. Lecture modules • No lecture segment longer than 15 minutes • Break up with active-learning • Think-pair-share • Minute paper • Small-group project • IF-AT’s • PRS questions

  26. Instant Feedback Assessment Technique(IF AT) The star indicates a “correct” answer.

  27. Uses for IF-AT’s • Conducting multiple-choice quizzes • Taking attendance • Focusing ideas towards a discussion • Individual answers, then • Group-based consensus answers

  28. http://eclassroom.uc.edu/ucit/eclassroom/prs.asp

  29. 2. Collaborative Learning • Teachers who use collaborative learning approaches tend to think of themselves less as expert transmitters of knowledge to students, and more as expert designers of intellectual experiences for students – as coaches or mid-wives of a more emergent learning process. • Smith & MacGregor (see “Works Cited”)

  30. Structuring Collaborative Learning • Fixed groups after Week Two (4 to 6 students per group) • Specific assignments for the groups, ideally different from one group to the next • Groups create content for the course that has benefits for the whole class • At least one shift into small-group mode per class meeting after Week Two

  31. What worked particularly well? • 40 Tues/Thurs responses, 6 positive mentions about the small-group structure and discussions • 21 MWF responses, 8 positive mentions • Stray negatives: corral the individuals within the groups and make them more accountable

  32. 3. Instructional technology • Blackboard • Quizzes • Discussion board • PowerPoint (then posted to Bb) • WordPress blog • Twitter

  33. http://www.udeducation.org/

  34. Just In Time Teaching • Quizzes to be completed via Bb in advance of a class meeting • Review a sample for fine-tuning a presentation • Motivation to complete reading in advance of a class discussion

  35. All those disruptive snow days!!! • Miss Tuesday? Come on Thursday. • Add another online assignment like the others • Hold class within Blackboard

  36. 160 plus a dozen

  37. The final posting:

  38. Evals of electronic communication

  39. NPOView.Wordpress.com

  40. One student example: 37 comments by the end of the quarter

  41. Evals of the WordPress blog:

  42. Students liked the online textbook:

  43. MWF responses look similar:

  44. Twitter.com

  45. 4. Rubrics (and their advantages): • Communicate to students the key issues with the major project • More up-front explanation for that assignment • Improved student learning and performance • Streamline the evaluation/grading process for instructor • More extensive feedback to students about their performance • More uniform evaluation/grading standards by the instructor • Foster deep learning when built upon reflection

  46. Evals of rubric-based assignment:

  47. Similar responses from MWF class: