large courses

Electronic Whiteboard Alternatives in Large Lecture Halls

by Diana Leung, Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry The Large Classroom Challenge Since chemistry is a visual subject, where structures must be drawn out, problems worked through, and equations presented, the use of handwritten notes is critical. During my time in the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry at The University of Alabama, I have taught

Scan and Deliver! Personalized Feedback in Large Classes

by Marco Bonizzoni and Diana Leung, Department of Chemistry Organic chemistry is a surprisingly visual discipline. Molecules, the fundamental entities of chemistry, exist as 3D objects whose shapes often profoundly influence their properties, so students must learn the visual language of the discipline, which attempts to convey the nature of these three-dimensional objects through two-dimensional drawings.

Power-Using and Hacking Blackboard

by Nathan Loewen, Department of Religious Studies Do you use Blackboard in your course? I do. Here’s why: I think it’s easier for me, as well as the students, to have a simple, one-stop place to find and do everything related to a course outside of class. Now beginning my second year of teaching at UA, I find

Students’ Opinions Instruction are In! Now What?

by Nathan Loewen, Department of Religious Studies Sometimes there is a considerable difference between a professor’s evaluation of a course and those of the students. The divergence can work in either direction. Perhaps a “terrible” experience for the professor was “absolutely brilliant” for the students. Let’s be honest, however: the opposite situation is difficult news.

Visual Thinking in Organic Chemistry

Instructor: Marco Bonizzoni Course: Organic Chemistry (CH 231 & 232) Audience: Undergraduates Organic chemistry is the study of the properties and behavior of chemicals containing carbon as the key element. These compounds are both the basis of all life on earth (we are all made of organic compounds) and a large focus of the chemical

My Students are Not Missing the (Power) Point

by Nathan Loewen, Department of Religious Studies I met Ollie Dreon at The Teaching Professor Technology Conference last week, thanks to a travel grant from CCS. His recent blog post, “Hating on PowerPoint: My Take,” confirms that I am doing the right thing this term. My 153-student REL 100 course makes no use of that now-ubiquitous program. I used to be

Building Community in Large Courses

Building community in the classroom involves establishing a mutual respect between the instructor and students, fostering meaningful peer-to-peer connections, and creating an environment that values diversity. This may sound like a tall order for large classes, but a vibrant classroom community could enhance the big class experience for everyone. Not sure where to start? Here are some

Establishing Classroom Culture

A healthy classroom culture requires more than routines and procedures. It also involves balancing your authority as the instructor, maximizing classroom efficiency, and motivating students to achieve. Holly Grout, a professor of history, and Natalie Dautovich, a professor of psychology, offer tips for creating a positive classroom culture in large courses. Make your expectations clear “Clarity is key.

Providing Feedback in Large Courses

In a large course with limited TA assistance, it may seem impossible to offer students meaningful feedback on their progress. In this post, faculty members describe how they use office hours, technology, and TAs to provide appropriate feedback in their large courses. Office Hours Kim Caldwell: Some students come to my office truly wanting to learn how to learn, and we have great

Mentoring Graduate Teaching Assistants

As the supervising faculty member, you have the opportunity to shape your graduate teaching assistants’ development as educators, as well as how they support your role as the professor. We asked several faculty members how they guide GTAs in managing the classroom, interacting with students, and otherwise balancing the pressures of teaching. Here’s what they had