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Engaging large classes

On arrival: Get out your device, check it's connected to the wifi, open a web browser, go to this link (which is to this page):

and then click on this to get to our digital meeting place.

Title: Engaging large classes
Date/time: Wednesday 9 April 2014. 2-3pm
Place: Boyd Orr     Lecture theatre A (room 407)

The presenters The host
Passport photo Passport photo Passport photo Passport photo
Steve Draper Chris Finlay Maureen Griffiths Graeme Pate     His blog
School of Psychology Life sciences undergraduate school Life sciences undergraduate school School of Interdisciplinary Studies
University of Glasgow

Slides: PDF
Handout: PDF file
Channel 2 ("Twitter") content: PDF file (Not available yet)
Related material:


We will introduce a varied selection of ways to increase student engagement on large courses, both in and outwith lectures themselves, and demonstrate some in a small way. This will involve a little participation during the session, and require some advance homework (see below). Additionally, we will comment on theories about what may underlie the successes. The two main mechanisms discussed are a) how getting learners to generate explanations is one of the most powerful drivers for learning (and engagement); b) How getting students to feel that staff are paying attention to their actions may also produce some significant effects.

Methods discussed include:

Advance homework

  1. BYOD: if possible, bring your own web-enabled device to the session e.g. tablet, smartphone. The room has wifi, and you can login with your GUID.
  2. Read this paper in advance:
    Devon,J., Paterson,J.H., Moffat,D.C. and McCrae,J. (2012) "Evaluation of student engagement with peer feedback based on student-generated MCQs" ITALICS vol.11 no.1 pp.27-37 The paper, about the use of PeerWise at Glasgow Caledonian, highlights some of the external factors which may influence the success of using such an approach.
  3. After reading it, email a question or comment to with "Devon paper" in the Subject line. These alone will form the basis of the time we give it in the presentation. (I.e. this will be a demo of just in time teaching.) Deadline: 11am 9th April (the morning of the presentation).

Passport photo Organised for the College of Social Sciences by Moira Fischbacher-Smith.

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