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Active Learning with Large Classes:

Strategies that Work Better with 100 Students than 10 Students

Active Learning with Large Classes:

John Knox

Associate Professor of Geograpy and Climatology

Date: March 18, 2014


John Knox, a 2013 Richard B. Russell Award for Excellence in Undergraduate Teaching winner, has taught over 4,500 UGA undergraduates—most of them in large introductory science lectures with 100-300 students apiece.  How can instructors make these "large lectures” engaging for the students?  In this session, Dr. Knox, a geography professor, will demonstrate several different active learning approaches he has developed that take advantage of both the large space of large lecture halls as well as the large number of students in these classes.  He describes this session in the following way: "People think I'm crazy when I tell them I like teaching large introductory classes.  I look at those rooms and the students in them and think of all the potential just waiting to be tapped.  But don't come to this session expecting to sit quietly and listen to me tell you how to do it.  I've seen too many passive lectures on active learning!  We'll be getting up and doing things the same way we do it in my Introduction to Weather and Climate and Introduction to Physical Geography classes.  If these strategies can work in a science classroom, they should be easily adaptable to your large classes as well."