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Peer Review

Large Lecture Classes

by Center for Teaching and Learning


Overall Numeric Rating:

5 stars
Content Quality: 5 stars
Effectiveness: 4.75 stars
Ease of Use: 5 stars
Reviewed: Mar 06, 2014 by Faculty Development
Overview: This article provides strategies for making large lecture classes more manageable and effective. The article describes six strategies: 1) Establish learning goals; 2) Cut down on the amount of material you are trying to cover; 3) Focus your lecture on analyzing issues or problems, rather than on conveying factual information; 4) Engage your students through active learning practices and interactive lectures; 5) Provide more and shorter feedback to students throughout the semester; and 6) Make optimum use of the tools in bSpace. The last option, while in language pertinent to Berkeley, recommends conducting formal assessments out of class and the use of clickers in class.
Type of Material: Reference Material
Recommended Uses: Workshop or consultation handout
Technical Requirements: None
Identify Major Learning Goals: Teaching large lecture classes is challenging. This resource provides strategies based on learning sciences research. In addition, concrete examples are provided for each strategy.
Target Student Population: This resource would be useful for any instructor or TA responsible teaching large classes. It could also be used to communicate to students the reasons behind the strategies described when implemented in a class. Often, students do not understand or appreciate why instructors do what they do.
Prerequisite Knowledge or Skills: none

Evaluation and Observation

Content Quality

Rating: 5 stars
Strengths: The strategies provided in this article are fundamental, complete, and align with the basics of sound pedagogy. The division into 6 strategies with examples provided for each makes it substantive and yet easy to read and digest. Sound pedagogical advice for teaching large lecture classes. In particular, many good suggestions for turning what normally is a passive learning experience into an active learning experience. Also, many good suggestions for saving time including using technology
Concerns: Some of the links refer to specific University of California Berkeley resources, but most institutions have similar resources.

Potential Effectiveness as a Teaching Tool

Rating: 4.75 stars
Strengths: The article is clear and succinct with sound reasoning, which would encourage readers to try out the recommended strategies.
Concerns: Many of the links to multiple other articles found throughout the article are no longer active and need to be updated. This applies both to articles at other websites as well as a few on Berkeley site itself. This does not detract from the article itself but would hamper the user who wishes to take advantage of these other resources.

Ease of Use for Both Students and Faculty

Rating: 5 stars
Strengths: This resource is well organized and easy to read. Extremely easy to use. There are a number of good additional resources with links that can be easily accessed.
Concerns: none