Committee Members: David S. Brown, Anne Dougherty, Michael Dubson, Sam Flaxman, David Glimp, Susan Hendrickson, Teresa Nugent

The following sections on teaching large classes are designed to provide departments and faculty a list of best practices for designing large lecture classes and their recitation sections for Fall 2020 and beyond. The section on large classes is organized by the components of a class: lecture, assessment, attendance, recitation sections and online activities. Each component includes a list of guiding principles, a list of recommendations, and in some cases a section on what went right and wrong during the Spring 2020 semester. Organized this way we hope to allow a very diverse set of departments and instructors to mix and match practices they find most helpful and appropriate for their class. We also hope that some of our guidance will benefit those teaching smaller classes as well. Below are the over-arching goals of this exercise:

  1. Enhance the safety of students and faculty as the campus adapts to public health risks and to new constraints on its teaching mission. Any advice in this document or recommendations come with the caveat that the safety and wellbeing of members of our community are the top priority.
  2. Offer pedagogically sound advice to prepare large class instruction for Fall 2020 and beyond. The ideas articulated below are not only meant to help for the special circumstances in the Fall because of the pandemic, but also are meant to carry forward well after academic year 2020-21.
  3. Provide concrete tools for assessing students in a remote learning environment on campus. Many units have already spent over a decade perfecting online exams that adhere to pedagogical best practices. Their guidance is included here.
  4. Communicate the benefits of remote on-campus learning. The authors offer these ideas not in the spirit of finding second-best substitutes to in-person instruction but as ideas to enhance all teaching in any modality.
  5. Offers suggestions for making the large impersonal class personal. The present circumstances provide an opportunity to learn about new ways of using available technologies and new strategies for enhancing students’ experience in a large lecture. The remote format will require extra effort to create forms of community in an otherwise potentially impersonal setting. The goal will be to integrate aspects of the "college experience" with the large class taught remotely on campus.
  6. Identify key resources to support course design and technology needs. Make faculty aware of the existing support resources for teaching online and for syllabus design. The staff of Arts & Sciences Support of Education Through Technology (ASSETT) offer a wealth of expertise for helping people understand how most effectively to use technology to enhance teaching. The Center for Teaching and Learning is also a valuable resource, as is the Office of Information Technology, especially for working with Canvas.