Teaching Large Classes: 115 Ideas from 18 3M Teaching Fellows


Edited by Aline-Germain Rutherford
Centre for University Teaching, University of Ottawa.



LargeClassesCoverModified_390Epigraph”

  1. Are we born good teachers or are we made good teachers – Harry Murray: University of Western Ontario

Introduction: What is a large class?

  1. A large class is not a social group but an audience. How to transform an audience into social groups. – Alan Gillmor: Carleton university
  2. Is there a difference between teaching large classes and small seminars. – Don Westwood: Carleton University
  3. The challenge is to find the added value of a large class. What can students do in a large class that they cannot do on there own? – Marty Wall: University of Toronto
  4. What is a large class for a language course? – Roger Moore: St. Thomas University
  5. A large class for me is when I cannot make good eye contact. – Shannon Murray: University of Prince Edward Island
  6. Being approachable is the key in teaching a large class. – Michael Collins: Memorial University

Theme 1: The physical space

  1. The power of the room to “make” the class – Shannon Murray: University of Prince Edward Island
  2. Knowing well the layout of your classroom – Shannon Murray: University of Prince Edward Island
  3. How to transform the layout of your classroom – Shannon Murray: University of Prince Edward Island
  4. Walking the room – Clarissa Green: University of British Columbia

Theme 2: Lecturing

  1. A well delivered lecture can be a powerful pedagogical tool to excite students and bring learning; the function of a lecture is not only the transfer of information, it is the catalyst for further activity. – Alan Gillmor: Carleton University
  2. Enthusiasm, clarity and interaction are three big factors in teachers’ effectiveness. – Harry Murray: University of Western Ontario
  3. The challenge is to be very organized in order to teach a large class – Anna Lathrop: Brock University
  4. Consistency, timing and pacing are three important factors in teaching a large class. – Anna Lathrop: Brock University
  5. Starting off on the right foot. – Marty Wall: University of Toronto
  6. The importance of pace in a lecture course. – Ronald Stoltz: University of Arizona
  7. Splitting a lecture into 3 mini-lectures. – Michael Collins: Memorial University
  8. Cutting my lecture into content chunks. – Arshad Ahmad: Concordia University
  9. Rituals to start a lecture. – Marty Wall: University of Toronto
  10. How to start your lecture? – Shannon Murray: University of Prince Edward Island
  11. How to start your lecture in an engaging way? – John Young: Saint Mary’s University
  12. The set, body and closure of a lecture with a focus on maintaining students’ attention and engagement. – Clarissa Green: University of British Columbia

Theme 3: Being a professor

  1. A good performance is being authentic – Anna Lathrop: Brock University
  2. A good performance engages students’ attention – Chris Knapper: Queen’s University
  3. You have to find your qualities and work on these qualities – Roger Moore: St. Thomas University
  4. How to deal with stage fright before each class? – Shannon Murray: University of Prince Edward Island
  5. Anxiety saved by professionalism. – Marty Wall: University of Toronto

Theme 4: How to connect

  1. Students learn best when they feel a connection with their teacher. – Chris Knapper: Queen’s University
  2. How to keep the students connected? – Chris Knapper: Queen’s University
  3. How to involve all students in a large class? – Chris Knapper: Queen’s University
  4. How to use the space to connect with students? – Anna Lathrop: Brock University
  5. Sending a personal letter to keep students connected and motivated. – Marty Wall: University of Toronto
  6. “Me,” connecting with 150 students, and 150 students connecting with me. What can I do for the latter to happen? – Lee Gass: University of British Columbia
  7. Reading the class and looking for signs which show that the connection is made. – Arshad Ahmad: Concordia University
  8. Connecting before and after class time. – Arshad Ahmad: Concordia University
  9. Connecting with groups of students using office hours. – Shannon Murray: University of Prince Edward Island
  10. Creating a sense of community from the first class. – John Young: Saint Mary’s University
  11. Questions are essential for learning. – Roger Moore: St. Thomas University
  12. How to handle students who participate too much or those too shy to participate? – Peter taylor: Queen’s University
  13. Listening to the students learning as an effective way to stay connected. – Don Westwood: Carleton University
  14. Creating intimacy by connecting the content to real life. – Shannon Murray: University of Prince Edward Island
  15. Contextualization of the content to connect with students. – Ronald Stoltz: University of Arizona

Theme 5: Learning students’ names even in a large class.

  1. Using mnemonic tricks to learn students’ names. – Gosha Zywno: Ryerson University
  2. Knowing the names of your students. -Roger Moore: St. Thomas University
  3. Using group photos to learn the names of your students. – Shannon Murray: University of Prince Edward Island
  4. How to remember 100 names in three weeks. – Clarissa Green: University of British Columbia

Theme 6: Engagement

  1. The most important goal of the teacher is to foster engagement in the student’s learning. – Chris Knapper: Queen`s University
  2. Engaging to reduce the number of individualities. – Lee Gass: University of British Columbia
  3. Engagement is visceral; the medium is conversation. – Lee Gass: University of British Columbia
  4. Asking questions that engage students and being authentic. – Anna Lathrop: Brock University
  5. Bringing relevance, respect and fair evaluation keeps students engaged in their learning – Anna Lathrop: Brock University
  6. Engaging strategies where students feel valued – Anna Lathrop: Brock University
  7. The use of skits and enactments even in a super large class – Marty Wall: University of Toronto
  8. I’m here to help you learn (part 1). – Gosha Zywno: Ryerson University
  9. I’m here to help you learn (part 2). – Gosha Zywno: Ryerson University
  10. Engagment through collaborative, active learning. – Gosha Zywno: Ryerson University
  11. Engaging students by surprising them. – John Young: Saint Mary`s University
  12. The technique of Questcussion to engage debate on a topic. – Clarissa Green: University of British Columbia
  13. Engaging the students by recognizing their different learning styles. – Michael Collins: Memorial University

Theme 7: Active learning strategies – a. The Buzz group technique

  1. The technique of the Buzz group to maximize student’s engagement in a large class. – Chris Knapper: Queen`s University
  2. Using buzz groups for the first time. – Chris Knapper: Queen`s University
  3. How to choose the right questions for the Buzz group. – Chris Knapper: Queen`s University
  4. How to debrief at the end of a Buzz group activity – Chris Knapper: Queen`s University
  5. Being a member of a learning community. – Pete Taylor: Queen`s University
  6. Developing good problems for problem solving activities in a large class. – Pete Taylor: Queen`s University
  7. A concrete example of problem solving activity in a large class. – Pete Taylor: Queen`s University
  8. The difficulty to find good problems – Pete Taylor: Queen`s University
  9. Asking groups to report their work – Pete Taylor: Queen`s University
  10. Participatory techniques allowing quiet students to engage – Clarissa Green: University of British Columbia
  11. Buzz group activities in a lab environment and in a large class – Michael Collins: Memorial University
  12. The technique of the learning circle. – Michael Collins: Memorial University

Theme 7: Active learning strategies – b. Think/Pair/Share Technique

  1. Step 1 of the technique. – Timothy A. Pychyl: Carleton University
  2. Step 2 of the technique. – Timothy A. Pychyl: Carleton University
  3. Step 3 of the technique. – Timothy A. Pychyl: Carleton University
  4. A “Sharing writing” activity to expand on the “Minute paper”. – Clarissa Green: University of British Columbia

Theme 7: Active learning strategies – c. Group/Team work

  1. Establishing a dynamic of group work in a large class setting. – Gosha Zywno: Ryerson University
  2. What can students do to help them make meaning? They can learn from each other. – Ronald Stoltz: University of Arizona
  3. Group work in a 800 student Health Science course: (1) An overview of the technique. – Joan Loomis: University of Alberta
  4. Group work in a 800 student Health Science course: (2) The team. – Joan Loomis: University of Alberta
  5. Group work in a 800 student Health Science course: (3) The choice of the question and of the task. – Joan Loomis: University of Alberta
  6. Group work in a 800 student Health Science course: (4) The role of the facilitator. – Joan Loomis: University of Alberta
  7. The systematic approach to group work: (1) The rationale. – Shannon Murray: University of Prince Edward Island
  8. The systematic approach to group work: (2) Setting up the groups. – Shannon Murray: University of Prince Edward Island
  9. The systematic approach to group work: (3) The role of the teacher while the groups are working. – Shannon Murray: University of Prince Edward Island
  10. The systematic approach to group work: (4) The tasks to perform during work. – Shannon Murray: University of Prince Edward Island
  11. The systematic approach to group work: (5) Assessing the group work. – Shannon Murray: University of Prince Edward Island
  12. The systematic approach to group work: (6) Ensuring that the group dynamic stays constructive. – Shannon Murray: University of Prince Edward Island
  13. The systematic approach to group work: (7) How to deal with group dynamic problems. – Shannon Murray: University of Prince Edward Island
  14. The systematic approach to group work: (8) What do students think about this group work technique. – Shannon Murray: University of Prince Edward Island
  15. Group techniques to motivate students to do their reading assignments. – Shannon Murray: University of Prince Edward Island

Theme 8: The use of technology in teaching large classes

  1. The death of learning with Power Point for delivery of content. – Gosha Zywno: Ryerson University
  2. A tool to make the link between lectures and the collaborative work. – Gosha Zywno: Ryerson University
  3. Using a variety of multimedia technologies to trigger discussion, not replace it. – Anna Lathrop: Brock University
  4. A careful use of technology, reinforced by good communication to the students. – Gosha Zywno: Ryerson University
  5. The added value of using technology. – Marty Wall: University of Toronto
  6. What can online interaction bring? – Marty Wall: University of Toronto
  7. Engaging students to contribute to the online forum. – Shannon Murray: University of Prince Edward Island
  8. When the learning goes beyond the classroom. – Shannon Murray: University of Prince Edward Island
  9. Using online resources to complement your course material. – Roger Moore: St. Thomas University

Theme 9: Diversity

  1. Using the diversity of prior knowledge to create teams. – Shannon Murray: University of Prince Edward Island
  2. Using the ethnic diversity of the class to enrich the learning experience. – Marty Wall: University of Toronto
  3. Teaching in a large lab with students at different levels – John Young: Saint Mary’s University
  4. Using well trained TAs to help deal with the diversity of levels. – John Young: Saint Mary’s University
  5. The different aspects of diversity and how to draw from them. – Clarissa Green: University of British Columbia
  6. “Diversity around knowledge: it’s a dance” – Anna Lathrop: Brock University

Theme 10: Assessment

  1. The Shoe Box Technique as a Classroom Assessment Technique (CAT) – Chris Knapper: Queen`s University
  2. The one minute paper to assess informally the students’ learning and to engage them in their learning – Clarissa Green: University of British Columbia
  3. “To reduce your workload increase the number of tests” – Michael Collins: Memorial University
  4. Pre-test review classes – Michael Collins: Memorial University
  5. The dilemma of being facilitator and judge at the same time – Roger Moore: St. Thomas University
  6. Using written assessment even in a very large class – Marty Wall: University of Toronto

Conclusion: A few lasting words…

  1. Willing to take risks in teaching – Marty Wall: University of Toronto
  2. The ultimate example of a learning experience for a drama class of one hundred students – Chris Knapper: Queen`s University
  3. How to use the “Teaching Behaviours Inventory” – Harry Murray: University of Western Ontario

Credits:

This project was made possible by funding from: Le Consortium Nationale de Formation en Santé and the Centre for University Teaching, University of Ottawa.
Conception and Editing: Aline Germain-Rutherford
Technical Development: Vision Media and The Institute for the Advancement of Teaching in Higher Education
Videographers: Kevin Burke, Trevor Holmes and Adam Caron
Web Page Design and Development: Jon G. Houseman

 

Edited by Aline-Germain Rutherford
Centre for University Teaching, University of Ottawa.



LargeClassesCoverModified_390Epigraph”

  1. Are we born good teachers or are we made good teachers – Harry Murray: University of Western Ontario.

Introduction: What is a large class?

  1. A large class is not a social group but an audience. How to transform an audience into social groups. – Alan Gillmor: Carleton university.
  2. Is there a difference between teaching large classes and small seminars. – Don Westwood: Carleton University
  3. The challenge is to find the added value of a large class. What can students do in a large class that they cannot do on there own? – Marty Wall: University of Toronto.
  4. What is a large class for a language course? – Roger Moore: St. Thomas University.
  5. A large class for me is when I cannot make good eye contact. – Shannon Murray: University of Prince Edward Island.
  6. Being approachable is the key in teaching a large class. – Michael Collins: Memorial University.

Theme 1: The physical space

  1. The power of the room to “make” the class – Shannon Murray: University of Prince Edward Island.
  2. Knowing well the layout of your classroom
  3. How to transform the layout of your classroom
  4. Walking the room

Theme 2: Lecturing

  1. 1the catalyst for further activity.
  2. Enthusiasm, clarity and interaction are three big factors in teachers’ effectiveness.
  3. The challenge is to be very organized in order to teach a large class
  4. Consistency, timing and pacing are three important factors in teaching a large class.
  5. Starting off on the right foot.
  6. The importance of pace in a lecture course.
  7. Splitting a lecture into 3 mini-lectures.
  8. Cutting my lecture into content chunks.
  9. Rituals to start a lecture.
  10. How to start your lecture?
  11. How to start your lecture in an engaging way?
  12. The set, body and closure of a lecture with a focus on maintaining students’ attention and engagement.

Theme 3: Being a professor

  1. A good performance is being enthusiastic – Anna Lathrop: Brock University.
  2. A good performance engages students’ attention – Chris Knapper: Queen’s University.
  3. You have to find your qualities and work on these qualities – Roger Moore: St. Thomas University.
  4. How to deal with stage fright before each class? – Shannon Murray: University of Prince Edward Island.
  5. Anxiety saved by professionalism. – Marty Wall: University of Toronto.

<Theme 4: How to connect

  1. Students learn best when they feel a connection with their teacher.
  2. How to keep the students connected?
  3. How to involve all students in a large class?
  4. How to use the space to connect with students?
  5. Sending a personal letter to keep students connected and motivated
  6. “Me,” connecting with 150 students, and 150 students connecting with me. What can I do for the latter to happen?
  7. Reading the class and looking for signs which show that the connection is made
  8. Connecting before and after class time.
  9. Connecting with groups of students using office hours.
  10. Creating a sense of community from the first class.
  11. Questions are essential for learning.
  12. How to handle students who participate too much or those too shy to participate?
  13. Listening to the students learning as an effective way to stay connected.
  14. Creating intimacy by connecting the content to real life.
  15. Contextualization of the content to connect with students.

Theme 5: Learning students’ names even in a large class.

  1. Using mnemonic tricks to learn students’ names. – Gosha Zywno: Ryerson University.
  2. Knowing the names of your students. -Roger Moore: St. Thomas University.
  3. Using group photos to learn the names of your students. – Shannon Murray: University of Prince Edward Island.
  4. How to remember 100 names in three weeks. – Clarissa Green: University of British Columbia.

Theme 6: Engagement

  1. The most important goal of the teacher is to foster engagement in the student’s learning. – Chris Knapper: Queen`s University.
  2. Engaging to reduce the number of individualities. – Lee Gass: University of British Columbia.
  3. Engagement is visceral; the medium is conversation. – Lee Gass: University of British Columbia.
  4. Asking questions that engage students and being authentic. – Anna Lathrop: Brock University.
  5. Bringing relevance, respect and fair evaluation keeps students engaged in their learning – Anna Lathrop: Brock University.
  6. Engaging strategies where students feel valued – Anna Lathrop: Brock University.
  7. The use of skits and enactments even in a super large class – Marty Wall: University of Toronto.
  8. I’m here to help you learn (part 1). – Gosha Zywno: Ryerson University.
  9. I’m here to help you learn (part 2). – Gosha Zywno: Ryerson University.
  10. Engagment through collaborative, active learning. – Gosha Zywno: Ryerson University.
  11. Young02_Classcharact (2:35) START AT 1:03 with “Engineering students are…” Engaging students by surprising them.   – John Young: Saint Mary`s University
  12. The technique of Questcussion to engage debate on a topic. – Clarissa Green: University of British Columbia.
  13. Engaging the students by recognizing their different learning styles. – Michael Collins: Memorial University.

Theme 7: Active learning strategies – a. The Buzz group technique

  1. The technique of the Buzz group to maximize student’s engagement in a large class. – Chris Knapper: Queen`s University.
  2. Using buzz groups for the first time. – Chris Knapper: Queen`s University.
  3. How to choose the right questions for the Buzz group. – Chris Knapper: Queen`s University.
  4. How to debrief at the end of a Buzz group activity – Chris Knapper: Queen`s University.
  5. Being a member of a learning community. – Pete Taylor: Queen`s University.
  6. Developing good problems for problem solving activities in a large class. – Pete Taylor: Queen`s University.
  7. A concrete example of problem solving activity in a large class. – Pete Taylor: Queen`s University.
  8. The difficulty to find good problems – Pete Taylor: Queen`s University.
  9. Asking groups to report their work – Pete Taylor: Queen`s University.
  10. Participatory techniques allowing quiet students to engage – Clarissa Green: University of British Columbia.
  11. Buzz group activities in a lab environment and in a large class – Michael Collins: Memorial University.
  12. The technique of the learning circle. – Michael Collins: Memorial University.

Theme 7: Active learning strategies – b. Think/Pair/Share Technique

  1. Step 1 of the technique. – Timothy A. Pychyl: Carleton University.
  2. Step 2 of the technique. – Timothy A. Pychyl: Carleton University.
  3. Step 3 of the technique. – Timothy A. Pychyl: Carleton University.
  4. A “Sharing writing” activity to expand on the “Minute paper”.

Theme 7: Active learning strategies – c. Group/Team work

  1. Establishing a dynamic of group work in a large class setting.
  2. What can students do to help them make meaning? They can learn from each other.
  3. Group work in a 800 student Health Science course: (1) An overview of the technique.
  4. Group work in a 800 student Health Science course: (2) The team.
  5. Group work in a 800 student Health Science course: (3) The choice of the question and of the task.
  6. Group work in a 800 student Health Science course: (4) The role of the facilitator.
  7. The systematic approach to group work: (1) The rationale.
  8. The systematic approach to group work: (2) Setting up the groups.
  9. The systematic approach to group work: (3) The role of the teacher while the groups are working.
  10. The systematic approach to group work: (4) The tasks to perform during work.
  11. The systematic approach to group work: (5) Assessing the group work.
  12. The systematic approach to group work: (6) Ensuring that the group dynamic stays constructive.
  13. The systematic approach to group work: (7) How to deal with group dynamic problems.
  14. The systematic approach to group work: (8) What do students think about this group work technique.
  15. Group techniques to motivate students to do their reading assignments.

Theme 8: The use of technology in teaching large classes

  1. Death of learning with Power Point for delivery of content.
  2. A tool to make the link between lectures and the collaborative work.
  3. Using a variety of multimedia technologies to trigger discussion, not replace it.
  4. A careful use of technology, reinforced by good communication to the students.
  5. The added value of using technology.
  6. What can online interaction bring?
  7. Engaging students to contribute to the online forum.
  8. When the learning goes beyond the classroom.
  9. Using online resources to complement your course material.

Theme 9: Diversity

  1. Using the diversity of prior knowledge to create teams.
  2. Using the ethnic diversity of the class to enrich the learning experience.
  3. Teaching in a large lab with students at different levels
  4. Using well trained TAs to help deal with the diversity of levels.
  5. The different aspects of diversity and how to draw from them.
  6. “Diversity around knowledge: it’s a dance”

Theme 10: Assessment

  1. The Shoe Box Technique as a Classroom Assessment Technique (CAT)
  2. The one minute paper to assess informally the students’ learning and to engage them in their learning.
  3. “To reduce your workload increase the number of tests”
  4. Pre-test review classes
  5. The dilemma of being facilitator and judge at the same time.
  6. Using written assessment even in a very large class.

Conclusion: A few lasting words…

  1. Willing to take risks in teaching
  2. The ultimate example of a learning experience for a drama class of one hundred students
  3. How to use the “Teaching Behaviours Inventory”

Credits:

This project was made possible by funding from: Le Consortium Nationale de Formation en Santé and the Centre for University Teaching, University of Ottawa.
Conception and Editing: Aline Germain-Rutherford
Technical Development: Vision Media and The Institute for the Advancement of Teaching in Higher Education
Videographers: Kevin Burke, Trevor Holmes and Adam Caron
Web Page Design and Development: Jon G. Houseman