When teaching large courses, instructors are often faced with a unique set of challenges. For example, when you have so many students in a course, it can be difficult to incorporate active learning in your classes or get to know your students on a personal level. Courses of this size can also pose challenges for students, who might feel anonymous because they don’t often interact with other students or the instructor one on one. Fortunately, there are ways to mitigate the challenges of teaching large courses for both students and instructors.
With so many students, you’ll need to stay on top of things. You can try strategies like using only your LMS to send announcements and emails to students – this will ensure that you have a record of all of your communications in one place. You can also use your syllabus to provide a detailed course calendar along with expectations for student work and behavior.
Use Technology to Your Advantage
Clicker systems like Top Hat and iClicker can work to promote student engagement in your classes. Your learning management system can help you stay on top of grading, and incorporating technologies that students already use (cell phones, social media, etc.) into classroom activities can increase student participation.
Get to Know Your Students
Just because your class is large, you don’t have to forgo connection with your students. You should still make the effort to learn your students’ names and be accessible to them through your office hours or email.
- Center for Innovation in Teaching and Learning (University of Illinois): Teaching and Learning: Large Classes
- Center for Research on Learning and Teaching (University of Michigan): Teaching Strategies: Large Classes and Lectures
- Center for Teaching (Vanderbilt University): Teaching Large Classes
- Center for Teaching and Learning (University of North Carolina Charlotte): Teaching Guides: Teaching Large Classes
- Faculty Innovation Center (University of Texas at Austin): Teaching LARGE Classes
- Jungic et al (2006). Teaching Large Math Classes: Three Instructors, One Experience
- Marc (2009). Clickers in Large Classes: From Student Perceptions towards an Understanding of Best Practices
- Mulryan-Kyne (2010). Teaching Large Classes at College and University Level: Challenges and Opportunities