Teaching a large section (90 students), inexperienced need advice!

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teall:
Hello everyone, I'm about to make a move, which will be great for my career (a LOT more research support and less teaching). However, the only concern I have is that the new school will have 2-3 load, but it includes teaching a very large section of a class I taught before. I'm used to teaching 10-25 people in my current position (for 2 years) but I have never taught a large section with 90 students before. I usually like to do lots of activities and discussion and video demonstration in my small classes.
Do you have any suggestions about teaching the large section?
And most important of all, do you feel teaching a 90-person class is more or equally demanding as teaching 2 small classes and therefore not worth the benefit of a reduced teaching load?
I should add in my new department, people have unlimited help of teaching assistants who are qualified juniors and seniors. Do you think that would help a lot?
Thanks! Any advice will be appreciated!!

new_bus_prof:
Discussion in a class with 90 students? Figure out what alternative you are going to use. Front row volunteers, random name generator, clicker technology, leader groups/designated leaders, etc. And, add extra time to activities.

If you are offered a reduced teaching load and/or assistance (TA, RA, GA, or secretarial), the answer is take it.

For me, large classes are easier to teach. Small classes require me to spend effort keeping all the students in the room moving forward. With larger classes, I don't have to track everyone's daily level and I can easily designate who will I pick on/ push farther...

anon99:
Quote from: teall on February 04, 2013,  2:44:04 PM

1) Do you have any suggestions about teaching the large section?
2)And most important of all, do you feel teaching a 90-person class is more or equally demanding as teaching 2 small classes and therefore not worth the benefit of a reduced teaching load?
I should add in my new department, people have unlimited help of teaching assistants who are qualified juniors and seniors. Do you think that would help a lot?

1) Think about what you give them for assignments and questions on exams.  If possible, avoid long written answers (ie essays).

2) Teaching one section of 90 is less work than teaching 2 classes of 45.  Marking will be similar, but you can give them one exam, come up with one set of assignments and don't have to deliver the same class twice.

3) if you truly have unlimited access to teaching assistants, then yes take advantage of it.  HOWEVER, if they are undergraduate students themselves, do not give them the exam ahead of time/make sure you get the answer key back, check their marking of exams to make sure they are marked properly and have not given preferential treatment to any of their friends.  Have them help during the exam to hand out the exam and collected completed exams.  So yes, they can be help, but they are also work for you.

teall:
Quote from: new_bus_prof on February 04, 2013,  9:20:37 PM

Discussion in a class with 90 students? Figure out what alternative you are going to use. Front row volunteers, random name generator, clicker technology, leader groups/designated leaders, etc. And, add extra time to activities.

If you are offered a reduced teaching load and/or assistance (TA, RA, GA, or secretarial), the answer is take it.

For me, large classes are easier to teach. Small classes require me to spend effort keeping all the students in the room moving forward. With larger classes, I don't have to track everyone's daily level and I can easily designate who will I pick on/ push farther...



That is good to know. The last part is a relief!! And I can imagine it is true! Thanks!


Quote from: anon99 on February 04, 2013,  9:35:16 PM

Quote from: teall on February 04, 2013,  2:44:04 PM

1) Do you have any suggestions about teaching the large section?
2)And most important of all, do you feel teaching a 90-person class is more or equally demanding as teaching 2 small classes and therefore not worth the benefit of a reduced teaching load?
I should add in my new department, people have unlimited help of teaching assistants who are qualified juniors and seniors. Do you think that would help a lot?

1) Think about what you give them for assignments and questions on exams.  If possible, avoid long written answers (ie essays).

2) Teaching one section of 90 is less work than teaching 2 classes of 45.  Marking will be similar, but you can give them one exam, come up with one set of assignments and don't have to deliver the same class twice.

3) if you truly have unlimited access to teaching assistants, then yes take advantage of it.  HOWEVER, if they are undergraduate students themselves, do not give them the exam ahead of time/make sure you get the answer key back, check their marking of exams to make sure they are marked properly and have not given preferential treatment to any of their friends.  Have them help during the exam to hand out the exam and collected completed exams.  So yes, they can be help, but they are also work for you.


#3 is particularly useful advice! They are going to my little notebook now! Thanks so much!

systeme_d_:
If you have good TAs, you can even use writing assignments in the large class.  Just make sure you have a strong, detailed rubric that your TAs can use for grading.  And as always, check up on your TAs by reading over a few graded assignments, chosen at random from each TA.

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