Class Size Matters

Ideas vary as to what constitutes large classes. Some people say it’s the 200-person chemistry class or the 400-person nutrition class at a major research university. At a smaller liberal arts college, a 35- to 40-person psychology class may seem big, whereas at many higher education institutions, that is just an average size. When a college is filling classes in rooms the size of very large movie theaters with amphitheater seating, we can probably all agree that those are enormous classes.

At one point, I was so used to teaching classes that hovered between 15 and 45 students that when I got assigned 70-person classes, I worried that I would need to drastically alter my teaching style. I had figured out how to master facilitating meaningful discussions in those smaller classes, but I wondered how I could get discussion going with so many students. Would I have to either get rid of, or really sacrifice, the open and intimate aspects of my classes — which I regard as hallmarks of sound pedagogy?

[ Read the full article at Inside Higher Ed. ]