Supersizing the Classroom: 3000 Students & Beyond
A standard, supposedly self-evident fact: small class size is pedagogically superior for all student learning. Poppycock! This presentation will outline our successful strategies for expanding the conventional college classroom to 3000 students...and beyond. Combining a dynamic speaker with innovative technologies, social networking tools, and non-conventional sources of knowledge can produce an environment which fosters student engagement, content retention, deep comprehension, and lifelong curiosity...even in ultra-large classes. Integrating video podcasts, graphic novels, film, Facebook, Twitter, Poll Everywhere, and Ustream into course structure can increase choices and flexibility in student-centered activities/assignments, and facilitate increased teacher-student and student-to-student interaction. This course model challenges conventional class-size wisdom, conquers the confines of physical classrooms, and defies the old-school, teacher-centered pedagogy of centuries past.
John Boyer is an award-winning Senior Instructor in the Department of Geography at Virginia Tech where he has taught ever-expanding courses on World Regional Geography and the Geography of Wine: in last decade, enrollments have grown from average class size of 50-60 to 550-600, with the World Regions now being taught to a record-breaking 2750 students every Fall. He has a B.S. and M.S. in Geography and has been teaching since 1998. He has published textbooks on world geography and wine, developed a graphic novel series, produces podcasts and an educational website for his classes, and actively incorporates all manner of technologies into the classroom in order to increase interaction and learning for the students, and the world.
Katie Pritchard is a technical assistant in the Department of Geography at Virginia Tech. She specializes in research, incorporation, and implementation of new educational technologies and social media/networking into large and ultra-large classroom formats, with a specific focus on creating teacher-student and student-student interaction opportunities.