Expanding class sizes: transformative innovations in the student learning experience

Principal Investigator

  • Dr. Paul HIGGINS

Abstract

Between June 2016 and December 2017 the proposed project investigator will lead two courses which will double in size to become large classes of over 80 students. The prospect of continuing to foster interest, academic engagement and participation in this new teaching and learning environment is a daunting one, raising the immediate question of how to make a large class feel smaller. A cursory glance at some of the literature and best practice on the topic suggests that on the positive side, students might feel safe in the anonymity of their numerous peers but on the negative side could feel equally scared of actively participating in such an environment for fear of embarrassment. The proposed project intends to explore the strengths and weaknesses, opportunities and threats of the large scale teaching environment with a view to retaining the transformative potential of the student learning experience. The process of investigation will replicate some of the PI’s earlier efforts to creatively transform the student learning experience through a critical reflective case study account of the two courses as they are revised to achieve broader departmental and college objectives.