Teaching Large Classes
Return to teaching resources
Large classes require appropriate teaching methods to be successful and a lot of planning to achieve learning outcomes. Serious problems can befall a poorly managed large class—student anonymity & loss, lack of student involvement, poor communication. In a large class, problems with basic course management can quickly produce a chaos difficult to defeat. It goes without saying that before you undertake your first large class, take steps to prepare yourself thoroughly for the experience.
Preparing diligently for large class teaching means taking advantage of available resources both on and off campus. Seek out experienced colleagues, mentors, outstanding or master teachers for advice and permission for you to audit a few of their classes. Consult an instructional designer who can help you rethink a course for a large setting and suggest activities, technologies appropriate for your course. Resources exist on the web (excellent ones listed below) that can augment campus resources. A large class that is thoughtfully planned is bound to provide a memorable experience for both you and your students.
From our library--
McKeachie, W. J., & Svinicki, M. (2006). Teaching large classes (You can still get active learning!). In W. J. McKeachie & M. Svinicki (Eds.), Teaching Tips: Strategies, research, and theory for college and university teachers (12th ed., pp. 254-265). Boston: Houghton Mifflin.
Tools for Teaching by Barbara Gross Davis; Jossey-Bass Publishers: San Francisco, 1993. Linking to this book chapter from other websites is permissible. However, the contents of this chapter may not be copied, printed, or distributed in hard copy form without permission.
We offer a variety of teaching skills handbooks and also main a vertical file of literature collected over the years.
Online Resources: Tips and
Teaching Large Classes. A 15-minute video offering practical suggestions for facilitating learning in large classes, featuring Graham Gibbs, Open University (U.K.), produced by the Centre for Learning and Teaching at Dalhousie University.
Large Classes: A Teaching Guide (Univ of MD)
Large Class Teaching from the Teaching Effectiveness Program, Univ of Oregon. Addresses all aspects of teaching large classes from outcomes, assessment, presentations, technology to management, etc.
Online Publications: Viewpoints,
Beating the Numbers: Effective Teaching in Large Classes, Richard Felder, North Carolina State University. Describes specific activities and methods for handling large classes.
A Survival Handbook for Teaching Large Classes, Dr. Sallie M. Ives, Director, UNC Charlotte Faculty Center for Teaching. Covers all the basics of large class management.
Teaching Large Classes is a collection of links to faculty essays on their experiences teaching large.