Proposal Title

High Engagement in Science Megacourses

Session Type

Presentation

Room

PAB 106

Start Date

10-7-2013 3:00 PM

Keywords

Large classes, engagement, astronomy, non-science majors

Primary Threads

Teaching and Learning Science

Abstract

Large courses are often said to be bad for learning, offering few opportunities for meaningful interaction between instructors and students. In four years of teaching the largest astronomy course in Canada, with up to 1400 students, this has not been my experience. Moreover, I have yet to see compelling evidence that class size alone is a primary determinant of student success, within the range of plausible university class sizes. Instead, I will suggest that creative teaching techniques can make a large class just as effective as a small one. I will argue that our role as teacher is as much to inspire students to learn on their own as it is to transmit knowledge directly. Using examples from a massive introductory astronomy course for non-science majors, I will demonstrate techniques for making courses with hundreds of students feel intimate and connected, keeping students engaged in the learning process and motivated to manage their own learning.

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Jul 10th, 3:00 PM

High Engagement in Science Megacourses

PAB 106

Large courses are often said to be bad for learning, offering few opportunities for meaningful interaction between instructors and students. In four years of teaching the largest astronomy course in Canada, with up to 1400 students, this has not been my experience. Moreover, I have yet to see compelling evidence that class size alone is a primary determinant of student success, within the range of plausible university class sizes. Instead, I will suggest that creative teaching techniques can make a large class just as effective as a small one. I will argue that our role as teacher is as much to inspire students to learn on their own as it is to transmit knowledge directly. Using examples from a massive introductory astronomy course for non-science majors, I will demonstrate techniques for making courses with hundreds of students feel intimate and connected, keeping students engaged in the learning process and motivated to manage their own learning.