Equitable Teaching Resources for Large Courses – Equitable Teaching

Large Courses Overview

“Large courses” are defined differently on different campuses as the concept of “large” tends to be relative to the campus. However, the University of Michigan Center for Research on Learning and Teaching (CRLT) defines large courses as those with 75 or more students. Improving equitable pedagogical practices in large courses is an ever-increasing necessity as university enrollments increase and student bodies become more diverse. Although these courses can make it difficult for every student to participate in the way that a small discussion section might allow, there are still many opportunities and strategies to help faculty provide an equitable classroom environment. One strategy is to employ high-structured, active learning activities, which serve to engage students in higher-level thinking while promoting equity at the same time. Research has shown that academic outcomes, student thinking (using Bloom’s taxonomy), and student engagement can be hindered by large class sizes, making it all the more essential that instructors examine their pedagogical practices (e.g., lecturing vs. small group approaches). Thinking about how you teach in a large lecture class as well as how you assess students can make a difference in student achievement and persistence.

Depending on the course content, large courses can provide an opportunity for many voices to be “heard” and for implicit bias to be revealed and discussed. One method for allowing many voices is to incorporate technology for capturing anonymous student responses during class. Historically, this has been done with “clickers”, but many different platforms exist for capturing and revealing this real-time feedback (e.g. Top Hat or iClickers). Additionally, the use of combined platforms for real time feedback and capturing the classroom content can be helpful for students who want to review the material after class. One such platform is Echo360 which allows students to respond from a smartphone, tablet, or laptop and reveals multiple choice or short answers in real-time while also capturing the entire lecture for playback by students at a later time. This (and other) platforms can also be live-streamed to allow students outside of the classroom (or in an entirely remote online course) to meet synchronously and be recorded for asynchronous viewing.  

Whether you are teaching organic chemistry or an introductory psychology course, there are opportunities to facilitate activities and dialogue that teach students about different perspectives. Although not specific to large courses, facilitating classroom discussion and ensuring that each student feels valued are necessary practices when you have a large enrollment and a likely inability to hear from all students during the class lecture. 

On this page, you will find resource and activity guides that will assist you in learning more about the lifelong practice of equitable teaching as well as provide you with activities that actively promote equity and student engagement in your large course. At the bottom of the page, you will find links to additional articles/readings on improving equity in large courses.

How to use these Resources:

The following resources have been curated specifically for large courses. The Resource Guides provide materials, readings, and strategies to further one’s knowledge and practice regarding equity in large courses. The Activity Guides provide in-class activities that can be used to build equity in your online classroom. These resource and activity guides are but a few of the many you can find on this website. If you are interested in additional resource and activity guides, you can find our resource guide catalogue on the Planning Page and our activity guide catalogue on the Activities Page.

Within each resource and activity guide, you will find:

  • An Overview, providing further context about the guide and its relation to equitable classrooms
  • The goals associated with the resource or activity
  • For activity guides, a description of their application in a large course
  • Two files containing a PDF and Docx version of the guide
  • An associated video, where applicable, to provide additional insights into the topic

Resource Guides to Deepen Understanding of Equity in Large Courses:

This resource guide reviews potential "obstructions" instructors may have when it comes to creating an inclusive environment and suggestions on Read more
This resource guide details practices for creating inclusive assignments and assessments. Read more
This resource guide is an inventory of 54 concrete strategies for building an inclusive class. Read more
This resource guide is an inventory of 30 concrete strategies for building an inclusive class with a GSI. Read more

Activity Guides that Promote Equity in Large Courses:

In this activity, students will explore their personal values by examining a list of values and ranking each of them Read more
This collection of activities assists instructors in developing group cohesion, thoughtful engagement, and reflective responses to challenging material. Read more
This collection of icebreakers provides a variety of activities to choose from and implement throughout the semester. Read more
In this activity, students will create a visual map of their socialization in some aspect of identity (race, gender, sexual Read more

Additional Resources to Explore:

Reuse Permissions

We appreciate your interest in our site. Generally, we are very happy to have our resources widely used in educational settings of all kinds. Reuse in a classroom, webinar/ professional development, or for individual reflection are all appropriate, so long as it is not for commercial purposes. If you share our resources, we ask that you please include an acknowledgement of our website or specific page reference, as suggested in our Reuse Permissions Guide in APA or MLA format, in addition to any acknowledgement of the original authors. 

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