Making Bigger Better in Online Learning
Concurrent Session 5
Understanding critical determinants of class size on online student engagement is obfuscated by a literature that: is unspecific about what constitutes small, medium and large class size; and largely out of date in conceptualizing large class augmentation strategies. Making Bigger Better suggests tighter definitions for class size categories and explores up-to-date learning design strategies for large classes.
The literature in online teaching is aging and includes a confusing range of definitions of “small,” “medium,” and “large” class sizes. Yet the literature is aligned in concluding that bigger classes create more significant challenges in achieving optimal student interaction and engagement, both among peers and with professors. This Discovery Session clarifies critical understanding within these two areas of concern:
Part 1. Understanding What’s “Optimal” for Online Classes.
This discussion draws on literature supporting the class size and optimal engagement, interaction, and student success in online learning. Part 1 indexes data supporting optimal outcomes as they are associated with class sizes, then recommends “definitions” for class size, from small to medium to large.
Part 2. Making Bigger Better
Building on definitions established in Part 1, Part 2 describes effective learning design and augmentation strategies for “large” classes to ensure optimal student interaction and engagement. Extrapolated from the literature but tried and tested in current online “classrooms,” Part 2 addresses a full range of state-of-the-art strategies associated with student success in larger classes, including:
- Expectations of and development support for faculty
- Using Artificial Intelligence technology to address students’ discussion and assignment questions
- Creating embedded Virtual and/or Augmented Reality case studies and documentary material to assure student interactivity with the curriculum
- Using (how and how many) Teaching Assistants to supplement faculty availability to students
As well as how to cope with “lecture” sized online classes (50+ students) using adaptive augmentation and engagement strategies put in practice by the presenters.