Larger enrolment classes present challenges for instructors in both face-to-face and virtual contexts: How might you establish relationships with students? If you use authentic assessments, how can you keep up with grading or provide meaningful feedback? Is active learning possible in larger contexts? The following resources provide a good introduction to establishing context and presence:
Reduce Grading Load
Peer review assignments are effective ways to ensure students are getting formative feedback from others, as well as developing essential meta-cognitive skills in critically evaluating ideas and providing constructive criticism. Key to successful peer review assignments is to ensure that students have adequate guidance on what they should focus on when giving feedback and instructions on how to frame feedback from their own personal perspective.
- Blackboard has a peer- and self-assessment tool that will automatically distribute assignments and collect student grades for the peer review
- Other tools that can be used for peer review include: Wikis, blogs, journals, discussions
- Using rubrics for assignments will reduce grade load and will ensure that multiple graders (i.e., GA/TAs) are marking to the same criteria
Engage Students with Small Group Discussions
Groups are an effective way to engage students in larger classes. In both synchronous and asynchronous discussions, groups allow students more opportunity to contribute, to explore questions in depth, and to get to know their peers.
During lectures, you can use Blackboard Collaborate break-out rooms to send students into smaller groups to discuss problems or questions, and then draw them back into the classroom to report back.
For asynchronous discussions or small group activities you can use the Groups feature in Blackboard to set students up with fileshare, small group discussions, and other tools to support smaller group activities, such as wikis, blogs, etc.