Plan, plan and plan - for the unexpected.
- Familiarise yourself with the lecture rooms prior to teaching to consider their limitations and opportunities for your teaching. Sharing your reflections with the students in the first lecture may help to create a feeling of a learning community.
- The Unit of Study Outline is a great vehicle to provide students with all relevant information. Give students a reason to read it by making references to it rather than going through it yourself.
- The first lecture sets the tone, so plan a really exciting intro to the subject with links to real-life applications, interaction between students (including sharing names), and a sense of fun.
- Get to know your teaching team prior to starting the semester. Share the plans, identify roles, discuss challenges and opportunities ahead and create a way of working together. The discussions can then be turned into a guide for the team.
- Devise a contingency plan the unexpected to happen. It may include a communication strategy through Blackboard, immediate feedback collection from students, and meeting with teaching team.
When things go wrong in a large class, the drama is often repeated 100s of times as each student experiences the lack of planning as personal confusion. Planning well can significantly reduce the time and energy required during the semester.
The teaching team of tutors and lecturers is the greatest asset when teaching a large class. When they provide a sense of community for students and communicate a consistent message, the large class becomes a place where students feel they belong.
When all parts of the unit of study fit into a coherent plan, time is left for the lecturers to enjoy their teaching and students to focus on their learning.
- Avoid reading out the unit of study outline and set up a quiz on the outline. You may choose to do that in the first lecture by giving students first 10-15minutes to read the outline by themselves and then answer a quiz in pairs or small groups. Using scratchable forms gives students immediate feedback on how they are doing and creates a sense of fun.
- Consider bringing in other people into the first lecture to give reasons why the course is valuable. This helps students to see the relevance of their study. The visitors could be previous students or representatives from industry. A video testimonial is an option if someone cannot be there in person.
- Set up a regular meeting schedule with the teaching team. Some meetings could be open to student representatives. Outcomes of these meetings can be shared with the class either in lectures or via Blackboard.