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Large Class Teaching

  • What are some of the differences between teaching large classes and teaching small classes?
    • When teaching large classes, everything needs to be bigger. That includes your voice (you'll probably want to use a microphone), your gestures, your movements (use the aisles to get closer to your students), and your visuals.
    • When teaching large classes, you probably won't be able to learn your students' names. Try to establish a connection with them by asking rhetorical questions, or having them use clickers to answer your questions.
    • When teaching large classes, you'll probably need to give multiple choice exams that can be computer scored rather than short answer or essay exams.
    • When teaching large lectures, to get students to participate, stop your lecture occasionally, pose a question on what you've just covered, and have students discuss their answer with their neighbor for a minute. Then, pull the class back together and discuss the right and wrong answers.
  • The opportunity to cheat is greater in large classes. What should I know about giving exams in large classes?
    The following are some suggestions for giving mass exams:
    • Announce ahead of time that students may not bring backpacks, drinks, books, hats, cellphones, or calculators to the test. They are to have nothing on their desks during the exam.
    • Check student IDs at the door to prevent "ringers" from taking the test for their friends.
    • If possible, seat students every other seat.
    • Have a seating chart. In case you observe a case of cheating, you'll be able to identify which student(s) it is.
    • Have different sections of the course sit together so T.A.s will know who's in their class.
    • Make different versions of the exam and put them on different colored paper.
    • Have plenty of proctors standing/walking around. It's usually a good idea to have 1 proctor for every 50 students.
    • Leave some empty chairs in the front of the room. If you see someone looking around at another person's paper, you can ask the student to please move to the seat in the front of the class.
    • Tell your students to turn their tests over when they're finished. Or, let them know that if there's a line to turn their test in, there should be no talking.
    • Make sure students get only one test and only one answer sheet. Make sure they each turn in one test and one answer sheet.