Teaching in Large Lectures

Large lectures present a special challenge for instructors. There is more administrative work and extra technology. There is less time for grading individual student work and less connection with individual students. There are lots of unprepared students, occasionally issues with noise and attitude, and the content is often very wide in scope but shallow in application.

But teaching a large lecture well can be very rewarding. Students are often new to college and excited. Your passion for your discipline may bring in new majors. There are more resources online for introductory courses, which can help you design activities. And there is an energy to large lectures, especially when all the students are talking to each other about the question you posed, that makes you feel like you’re making learning happen.

There are several aspects of “teaching large lectures” for us to explore. But to give you a sense of what can be done and how interesting it can actually be, either read this essay by UC Davis’s Daniel Klionsky or watch this video of UCI’s Diane O’Dowd teaching a large biology lecture:

There are many aspects of effective teaching in large lectures, and each of them could be a book of its own. But below we list some introductory resources:

If you want to learn about more advanced or interesting topics, choose our Large Lecture category.