Undergraduate Academic Affairs
September 1, 2009
By Kirsten Atik
While the average undergraduate class size at the University of Washington is 35 students, we all know there are some classes with more than a hundred, to a few hundred, to 700 students. With the current budget challenges, some classes may grow larger, making the Teaching Academy’s upcoming Collegium on Large Class Instruction more valuable to faculty and students.
Reaching students in large classes requires a different set of strategies. For nine years, through the Collegium on Large Class Instruction, UW faculty members have formed a community of teachers of large classes and opportunities for them to learn from one another, share ideas, and develop new pedagogical plans.
The Collegium on Large Class Instruction happens just in time for fall quarter, September 22-23, at the Center for Urban Horticulture. Directed by Lisa Coutu, principal lecturer in Communication and Distinguished Teaching Awardee, the Collegium balances plenary sessions, focused workshops, and informal opportunities for faculty to connect with one another. Designed for faculty who teach classes ranging from 100 to 700 students, the format and locality enable participants to select the sessions that best suit their needs. The Collegium doesn’t cost anything to attend but registration is required. The deadline to register is September 8; participants will receive their confirmation by September 11.
Topics delve into strategies for teaching large classes including “Planning, reconstructing, or resurrecting a large class structure,” “Designing assignments and tests that are engaging within the constraints of a large class structure,” “Technology and learning: What’s possible?” and small discipline-based workshops to amplify the larger sessions.
Professor David Allen participated in last spring’s Collegium and summed up his experience: “As a (very) senior faculty member who has not taught large, undergraduate lecture classes in decades, the Collegium provided me with an instant set of colleagues and consultants along with pages of practical and imaginative ‘how to’s.’”
About the UW Teaching Academy
A unit within Undergraduate Academic Affairs, the University of Washington Teaching Academy provides leadership that encourages and fosters life-long critical thinking and learning for both undergraduate and graduate students.
The Teaching Academy supports the development of attitudes, thought, and practice needed to create and sustain a successful learning environment in a premiere research university. This desired learning environment, based on a deep seeded respect for the students, faculty, and all of the individuals that work to support the university’s teaching mission, is embedded in a culture focused on inquiry, diversity, innovation and excellence.