Pedagogy for Large Online Courses

Topics: Online Education, Academic Affairs, Online Strategies, Supporting Faculty, Online Course Quality

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This report examines strategies for effective faculty instruction and student engagement in high enrollment online classes (between 50 and 100 students).

The analysis explores the interactions between instructors and students and the most effective methods to assess student learning (e.g., homework, testing). It also details the major challenges associated with establishing large online courses.

  • Key observations from our research

    1. Ungraded assignments and self-assessment opportunities encourage participation and benchmark student progress in large online classes.
    2. Contacts administer tests and assignments for large online classrooms at the same frequency as face-to-face classes.
    3. Teaching assistants (TAs) track online discussion posts, grade multiple choice exams, and answer student questions for the course instructor.
    4. Contacts employ learning management systems and mid-semester course evaluations to assess student learning outcomes and adjust course material to student needs.