The Big Class Project

Large enrollment courses offer challenges and opportunities for instructors and students that are different than those of other classes. Teachers of large classes may find it difficult to get to know their students, to invite participation, to pursue varied activities, and to gauge the proper level of difficulty for students from diverse backgrounds and levels of preparation. On the other hand, the conventional design of a big class at Princeton, in which there are lecture components and a precept, places unique learning demands on students.  These may include difficulty identifying relevant information or staying attentive during a 50- or 80-minute lecture, and hesitation about asking questions or receiving individualized feedback in precepts. Efficiently synthesizing information from lectures, precepts, readings, and problem sets or other assignments poses a challenge unto itself.  

Whether you are scaling up your small class, designing an introductory course as a General Education requirement or creating a large interdisciplinary sophomore class, the McGraw Center's Big Class Project brings together resources and ideas to help instructors -- both faculty and graduate student AIs -- and undergraduate learners make the most of the large class experience.  

Resources for teachers range from tip-sheets and hands-on workshops on lecture design and teaching technologies that enable active engagement, to funding resources to support faculty mentoring of new AIs. The McGraw online learning team creates online learning environments with instructional material and interactive tools that can broaden access to challenging topics in the curriculum. For faculty interested in collaborating with a team of teaching and learning experts from the McGraw Center to redesign a large class, we offer a comprehensive BIG Class Makeover.  

Learning effectively in large classes depends equally on the actions students take outside of class. Attending office hours and organizing study groups can personalize learning, as can utilizing tutoring and other learning support.  McGraw offers a host of resources to enhance engagement and learning in large enrollment courses, including Group and Individual Tutoring, by-request programming, Academic Strategies Workshops, and individualized learning consultations.  Our new online, community-sourced web-resource for learning at Princeton, Principedia, is now live.

As you browse these offerings, please feel free to contact us if you have questions or suggestions.