CE  Vol.3 No.6 A , October 2012
Enhancing Student Engagement through Small Group Pedagogies in a Large Class Environment
ABSTRACT
Higher education institutions all over the world have been increasing their student intake due to higher demands for education, creating larger and larger classes. The problems of teaching a large class are widely recognized and various solutions have been suggested. The pedagogy literature establishes that learning outcomes and engagement for students in large classes are improved when students feel that they belong to small groups within the classes. This article describes recent changes to a second year statistics unit with large practicals aimed initially at promoting group work, and more generally at conferring some of the benefits of smaller classes. Specifically, we aimed to increase students’ interaction with tutors and each other, and to develop students' verbal communication skills and confidence through short unrehearsed presentations. Results of preliminary analysis of students’ responses to survey questions on their learning habits and learning environment showed that students are generally happy with the new learning space regardless of their age, gender and whether they were local or international students. Although students felt less comfortable presenting their solutions to the class, they found it worthwhile to listen to peers’ solution presentations. Overall, students found their peers and teaching staff to be supportive of their learning.

Cite this paper
Bilgin, A. , Bulger, D. , Robertson, G. & Gudlaugsdottir, S. (2012). Enhancing Student Engagement through Small Group Pedagogies in a Large Class Environment. Creative Education, 3, 824-828. doi: 10.4236/ce.2012.326123.
References
[1]   Aagard, H., Bowen, K., & Olesova, L. (2010). Hotseat: Opening the Backchannel in Large Lectures. Educause Quarterly, 33, 3.

[2]   Biggs, J., Kember, D., & Leung, D. Y. (2001). The revised two-factor study process questionnaire: R-SPQ-2F. British Journal of Educational Psychology, 71, 133-149. doi:10.1348/000709901158433

[3]   Bulger, D., Bilgin, A., Robertson, G., & Gudlaugsdottir, S. (Forthcoming). Consistency of the repeat practical session for a large unit. [Details to come].

[4]   Center for Teaching Excellence (CTE), University of Maryland. (2008). Large classes: A teaching guide: Personalizing the large class. URL. http://www.cte.umd.edu/library/teachingLargeClass/guide/ch4.html

[5]   Lizzio, A., & Wilson, K. (2006). Enhancing the effectiveness of selfmanaged learning groups: Understanding students’ choices and concerns. Studies in Higher Education, 31, 689-703. doi:10.1080/03075070601004309

[6]   R Development Core Team (2012). An introduction to R, version 2.15.1 R foundation for statistical computing. URL (last checked 29 Aug 2012). http://cran.r-project.org/

[7]   Radloff, A., & Coates, H. (2010). Doing more for learning: Enhancing engagement and outcomes: Australasian survey of student engagement: Australasian student engagement report. Camberwell, VIC: Australian Council for Educational Research.

 
 
Top