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ERIC Number: ED574481
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2016-Jul
Pages: 26
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: 51
Pedagogical Choices Make Large Classes Feel Small. NILOA Occasional Paper #27
Singer-Freeman, Karen; Bastone, Linda
National Institute for Learning Outcomes Assessment
Many students begin their college experience enrolled in large introductory classes. These classes are likely to enroll students who are at risk of leaving college without a degree. As such, these classes have the potential to reach at-risk students including first-year, first-generation, undeclared, and underrepresented minority (URM) students. Unfortunately, large lecture classes can make it difficult for students to develop meaningful relationships with faculty members or peers, even though it is known that the presence of strong faculty-student relationships predicts student engagement (Jaasma & Koper, 1999). One route to engaging students is the intentional use of evidence-based pedagogical practices. There have been substantial efforts to improve large lecture classes through the strategic use of discussion sections, active learning, and varied forms of assessment. Additionally, efforts to increase students' engagement and persistence have taken place outside of the classroom. We believe that some evidence-based practices developed outside the classroom are ripe for use in large lectures. In the current paper we describe an integration of academic content with practices that support student engagement and success in a large general education course, "Child Development." We begin with a brief description of the class, as it was before modification and as it is now. We then summarize some of the literature that describes evidenced-based methods of supporting at-risk students and explain how we have used this literature to inform our alignment of pedagogical practices with pedagogical goals. We share means of authentic assessment used in this course that target academic mastery and student well-being during and after the course's completion. Throughout this discussion we report on early indications that our modifications have met our intended goals. We conclude by considering principles that might guide redesign of other large classes. [Foreword by Pat Hutchings.]
National Institute for Learning Outcomes Assessment. 340 Education Building MC 708, 1310 South Sixth Street, Champaign, IL 61820. Tel: 217-244-2155; Fax: 217-244-5632; Web site:
Publication Type: Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: Higher Education; Postsecondary Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: National Institute for Learning Outcomes Assessment