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Public Research Universities

Public research universities are challenged with large enrollments, diverse student populations and faculty who have significant commitments outside of the classroom. The challenges are especially acute in delivering an introductory curriculum that promotes learning and student retention in all STEM disciplines.

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Latest Activity: Nov 12, 2013

Discussion Forum

Learner-centered teaching in large-enrollment classes

Started by Jo Anne Powell-Coffman. Last reply by Jung Choi Nov 15, 2012. 1 Reply

Are there great examples of how to teach introductory biology to large-enrollment classes?  Our instructors have adopted clickers, and the formative assessments are helpful on a number of levels.  We…Continue

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Leadership Fellow
Comment by Richard Cardullo on October 12, 2012 at 8:20am

Thanks Jonathan!  I'll take c ac loser look at these.  Much appreciated.


Leadership Fellow
Comment by Jonathan Cumming on October 9, 2012 at 3:53pm

Hey Rich,

I did a quick ERIC search and there area couple papers I retrieved that I'll try to attach here on class size.  Interesting is that the interest has been going on since the 1960's (these papers are not available because they have SSNs in them!  FERPA SHMERPA!).  Anyway, active teaching does make a difference no matter what class size and it even appears that it makes the biggest difference in larger classrooms.... that's my take from reading abstracts...

http://www.lifescied.org/content/11/1/58.abstract

http://www.isetl.org/ijtlhe/pdf/IJTLHE851.pdf


Leadership Fellow
Comment by Richard Cardullo on August 23, 2012 at 1:55pm

I would like to get some information regarding any studies on the effect of class size on performance.  One of the things that seems to separate classes for life science majors from other science majors is that at public research universities, in particular, class sizes are large.  Not just in the introductory classes but in many of the upper division classes as well.  At our institution (UC-Riverside) a typical introductory biology lecture will have anywhere between 300 and 600 students (depending on available space).  These are comparable in size to introductory chemistry classes (physics is on the order of 200 students) but, of course, the chemistry class is not a majors-level class in the same way that the life science class is.  Many of our upper division classes such as vertebrate anatomy, human physiology, virology, immunology approach, or sometime exceed 200 students whereas upper division courses in chemistry and physics are typically five to ten times smaller.  Are any of you aware of any institution where this issue has been addressed?

 
 
 

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