The Challenge of Large Classes

As if it weren't enough that university leadership keeps banging on about making our large "lecture" classes more about active learning, now we have to take them online. Immediately. What are your options?

Photo by Nathan Dumlao on Unsplash

You can go with the lectures you were already planning, and capture them as voice-overs of your slide deck, either in an empty lecture hall or from the comfort of your own desk, using Yuja (which can embed your videos directly into Canvas). You can also just post your slides with detailed speakers notes that students can read (keep each note to about 250 words, though). Or you can present the lecture material in shorter segments, punctuated by student work: quizzes or short writing assignments in Canvas; breakout sessions for discussion using Zoom; or real time or asynchronous discussion board posts, for example.

One way to keep remote students engaged and build a sense of community is to assign students to groups of 8 or 10 for the entire quarter. Whether it’s responses to “lecture” material or reading, low-stakes homework together, or a full-blown group project, building in a sustained community will help keep remote students supported and engaged.

Laura Mitchell
Director of Pedagogical Development in the School of Humanities