Best practices for large lecture courses with diverse student learners


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Best practices for large lecture courses with diverse student learners

  1. 1. Best Practices for Large Lecture Courses with Diverse Student Learners 1. Put together a complete, full-disclosure learner-oriented syllabus ( 2. Foster active learning whenever possible ( 3. When you lecture, make them captivating and memorable ( 4. Make your large class feel small a. Move around the room while you lecture or during discussion b. when answering questions move closer to student c. have TAs present and interacting with students d. have students form small groups e. learn as many student names as you can and use them in class f. try to connect in some way with each student at least once during the term (can be in class, a comment or some feedback on a test or assignment, short office meeting, etc.) 5. Encourage questioning a. Student to student (easiest through use of small groups) b. Student to instructor (helps if students have asked each other first; always respond positively to Qs and let students know asking them is important— body language is as important as verbal response here) c. You can provide problems, scenarios, etc. that are specifically designed to generate questions 6. Bring student backgrounds and experiences into the course where appropriate a. Collect appropriate background, experience, and interest information anonymously and draw on it whenever you can to help students relate to or enrich course principles and concepts b. Ask students to share relevant experience or background when appropriate 7. Connect to other ways of knowing whenever possible a. Always be searching for analogies from other disciplines and connect to them whenever you can b. Ask students from other majors if they have used some version or analog of the concept you are discussing—maybe have them explain it 8. Cultivate multicultural learning (incorporating #5 and #6 above jumpstarts this practice multicultural/whatis/index.html) 9. Be available and let students know that you are
  2. 2. 10. Lookout for students who may be struggling and reach out (word travels and students recognize that you care) a. Students who are reluctant to participate in class (a friendly “how’s it goin’ can help you discover if the cause is struggle, learning style disconnect, cultural difference etc) b. Attendance troubles (if you track attendance) c. Poor test results or poor performance on assignments 11. “Humanize” yourself and personalize your course (leave out the personal intimate details, but . . .) a. reference your own learning struggles or insights where appropriate b. don’t soap box, but let them know your personal philosophy behind your course structure and policies 12. Create opportunities for students to give you feedback on how the course is going and use that feedback to adjust what you do ( Resources: University of Minnesota, Center for Teaching and Learning University of Maryland, Center for Teaching Excellence: Penn State University, Schreyer Institute for Teaching Excellence University of Northern Iowa, The Center for the Enhancement of Teaching