Transforming large lecture classes

Professors across the College of Arts and Sciences are changing the structure of large introductory classes to enhance student learning. Faculty instructors are providing information through podcasts, videos and readings that students can review between classes, and bringing into the classroom more discussion, hands-on work, problem-solving and interactive polls. 

Karen Gil, dean of the College, said faculty are encouraged to use the best techniques and technologies to make their classes more engaging, experiential and effective.

These innovations also can result in better grades.  Kelly Hogan has tracked the improvements she’s implemented in her biology 101 classroom. She reports the achievement gap for first-generation college students in this class has disappeared, and the achievement gap for African American students has been cut in half. 

Classes discussed or featured in the video include anthropology, biology, chemistry, economics, English and physics. The department of physics and astronomy has been a pioneer in creating new designs for classroom space and other instructional improvements that encourage small-group interaction and engagement among students and professors.

The Center for Faculty Excellence, which provided some of the classroom footage for this video, is an outstanding resource for faculty development, and has been instrumental in helping faculty across the campus to re-design their large classes.

[Text and video by Beth Lawrence '12 ]