Managing the Large Enrollment Course

Initial Publication Date: September 22, 2011

Conducting interactive lectures in large enrollment courses can pose a unique set of challenges and the instructor will want to consider additional managerial strategies to meet these challenges. With careful planning, even classes with hundreds of students can have interactive lecture segments with significant student engagement. Instructors need to be especially well prepared for the semester and for each class period. Extra thought must be given to things that in small classes the instructor might take for granted such as how to distribute a handout or exam when you have five or six hundred students. Additional energy must be devoted to strategies to encourage student participation as well. Fortunately, for large enrollment teachers, advances in pedagogical technologies have offered the potential for more engaging large enrollment class periods and somewhat of an easing to the workload burden the instructor faces.

The Importance of Being Organized and Prepared

Students in large classes can be much less forgiving when mistakes are made and changing direction or correcting errors can be much more complicated in this sort of setting where the impact of a small mistake can be magnified.

Dissemination of Content and Materials to the Masses

Having a large number of students will generate some logistical issues related to matters that are typically not a concern in a smaller class. This is especially true for the dissemination of course content and materials.

Encouraging Student Participation

The instructor must work harder in a larger class setting to combat student passivity and encourage participation. It is more difficult to elicit student participation with the increased sense of anonymity that students experience in the larger class setting.

Technologies for Large Enrollment Courses

Over the past decade there has been a significant amount of advance in pedagogical technologies that instructors can use to enhance large enrollment courses. Adapting some of these technogolies can enhance interactive learning inside the classroom, improve the quality of traditional lecture segments, facilitate learning outside of the classroom, and reduce some of the workload burden imposed on the instructor.

Technologies for Large Enrollment Courses