Welcome to the brainstorming website, Large Class Strategies. This site will provide a spot for SSU faculty to share ideas, as well as learn from peers. The following pages will ask you to supply any tips, ideas, or methods that you have tried in your classes. You can answer one question or all the questions; it is up to you. After you submit you will be able to see how others responded. You may also edit your response at any time.
Links to the pages of questions are listed on the left.
What are some of the large-class issues facing faculty at SSU?
1. Many students in large classes are not likely to be majors thus may not place the course as their highest priority.
2. Laptops, smart phones, and other devices present distractions causing professors to compete for students' attention.
3. The wide spectrum of abilities and learning preferences require a variety of teaching techniques to capture and hold students' attention.
The following Teaching Large Classes Guide
is based on Zelda Gamson and Arthur Chickering's Seven Principles for Good Practice in Undergraduate Education
The following is a brief summary
of the Seven Principles for Good Practice in Undergraduate Education(PDF) as compiled
in a study supported by the American Association for Higher Education, the
Education Commission of the United States, and The Johnson Foundation.
1. Good Practice Encourages
Frequent student-faculty contact
in and out of classes is the most important factor in student motivation and
involvement. Faculty concern helps students get through rough times and keep on
working. Knowing a few faculty members well enhances students' intellectual
commitment and encourages them to think about their own values and future plans.
2. Good Practice Encourages
Cooperation Among Students
Learning is enhanced when it is
more like a team effort than a solo race. Good learning, like good work, is
collaborative and social, not competitive and isolated. Working with others
often increases involvement in learning. Sharing one's own ideas and responding
to others' reactions improves thinking and deepens understanding.
3. Good Practice Encourages
Learning is not a spectator
sport. Students do not learn much just sitting in classes listening to teachers,
memorizing prepackaged assignments, and spitting out answers. They must talk
about what they are learning, write about it, relate it to past experiences, and
apply it to their daily lives. They must make what they learn part of
4. Good Practice Gives Prompt
Knowing what you know and don't
know focuses learning. Students need appropriate feedback on performance to
benefit from courses. In getting started, students need help in assessing
existing knowledge and competence. In classes, students need frequent
opportunities to perform and receive suggestions for improvement. At various
points during college, and at the end, students need chances to reflect on what
they have learned, what they still need to know, and how to assess themselves.
5. Good Practice Emphasizes
Time on Task
Time plus energy equals learning.
There is no substitute for time on task. Learning to use one's time well is
critical for students and professionals alike. Students need help in learning
effective time management. Allocating realistic amounts of time means effective
learning for students and effective teaching for faculty. How an institution
defines time expectations for students, faculty, administrators, and other
professional staff can establish the basis for high performance for all.
6. Good Practice Communicates
Expect more from students and you
will get it. High expectations are important for everyone--for the poorly
prepared, for those unwilling to exert themselves, and for the bright and well
motivated. Expecting students to perform well becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy
when teachers and institutions hold high expectations for themselves and make
7. Good Practice Respects
Diverse Talents and Ways of Learning
There are many roads to learning.
People bring different talents and styles of learning to college. Brilliant
students in the seminar room may be all thumbs in the lab or art studio.
Students rich in hands-on experience may not do so well with theory. Students
need the opportunity to show their talents and to learn in ways that work for
them. Then they can be pushed to learning in new ways that do not come so