Large Courses :: Active Learning in Large Courses

Active learning

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Facilitating active learning in large courses

Active Learning
Engaging Students in Large Courses 


Instructors teaching larger courses (150 + students) face different challenges and need solutions to engage students and facilitate learning. The resources presented here guide ways of adjusting these activities for large courses. The following is a selection of commonly used active learning approaches that should meet most instructional needs.

Background Knowledge Probe

The Background Knowledge Probe collects feedback on students’ prior learning, including knowledge or beliefs that may hinder or block further understanding. Students complete a short survey prepared by the instructor at the beginning of a course, the start of a new unit or lesson, or before introducing a new topic.

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Defining Features Matrix

The Defining Features Matrix approach requires students to categorize concepts according to the presence (+) or absence () of critical defining features. This activity helps students develop conceptual and organizational skills and data on their analytic reading and thinking skills.

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Minute Paper/Muddiest Point

The Minute Paper/Muddiest Point approaches have students write quick responses to questions to help instructors gain insight or understanding of content. Questions could include: “What was the most important thing you learned today?“; “What important question remains unanswered?”; or “What was the muddiest point in _______ ?

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Pro and Con Grid

The Pro and Con Grid approach has students follow a decision-making process by reviewing an issue, creating a list of pro and con arguments, and deciding based on the weight and analysis of those points. A review of students’ lists reveals the depth and breadth of their analyses, capacity for objectivity, and strength of their decision-making skills. In large courses (150 +), it can be difficult to facilitate active learning. This document walks you through planning and implementing this approach in your large course.

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Results: 1-6 of 6

No.Document TitleIDUpdatedViews
1Active Learning in Large Courses1040332024-04-103641
2Minute Paper/Muddiest Point in Large Courses (online)1033682024-04-114136
3Defining Features Matrix in Large Courses (online)1035842024-04-113130
4Pro and Con Grid in Large Courses (online)1037752024-04-113159
5Background Knowledge Probe in Large Courses (online)1035992024-04-103112
6Vote-Discuss-Revote (VDR)1282212024-04-05899

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