Large-class teaching in higher education poses challenges to traditional pedagogical methods which were presumably designed based on classes with small number of students. Some of the issues or difficulties have been identified in transition from small-size classes to large-size classes. For instance, students may become less motivated as they feel more isolated and become anonymous in big classes; there may be less direct interaction between the instructor and the students; class management may take more time, etc. These challenges become more serious with students in their first year of university study. Although what counts as a big class in tertiary level education differs from subject to subject as discussed in the literature, a class of near 100 students for an introductory course in linguistics, such as LT220 I, is without doubt a big class.
This project proposes a student-oriented, dynamic, and interactive study kit named MERIT to guarantee effective learning by meeting the essential challenges that come with large-size classes in building high levels of Motivation, _Engagement, Relevance, Innovation and Transferring of knowledge. The five components are the key to effective teaching of a large class that needs to get down to the basics of course design. There have to be clearly-designed, practical, enjoyable, dynamically interactive mechanisms to ensure quality learning and teaching. The project aims to design and produce a study kit to implement the FIVE crucial elements, as abbreviated in the name of the project MERIT: Motivating, Engaging, Relevant, Innovative, and Transferring. Through careful course design and classroom implementation, MERIT aims to boost students' self-motivation in learning to learn in a big class, to discover their own potential in critical and creative thinking, to enhance instructor-student interaction, and to make linguistics relevant to students' own life. The project also aims to set up a webpage under the Department '·Discovery-Enriched Curriculum at LT" to showcase students' achievement through teaching enhanced by MERIT.