Educational Settings

As a lecturer, you probably teach in both large group and small group contexts. For some academics a large class might be 40 students, for others it might be 400. The definition of "large" and "small" classes can be quite variable depending on: the discipline, the nature of the class (e.g. lecture or lab work), the level of the course (e.g. undergraduate or postgraduate) and the perceptions of lecturers and students.

You teach within a context of wider changes in higher education, including: increasing internationalisation, larger numbers of students and increasing numbers of students from non-traditional academic backgrounds. (See also Teaching Diverse Groups)

The implications of these changes generally are that as class sizes have increased at UNSW while staff-to-student ratios have decreased. As a consequence, you might have to organise your teaching in ways that are more compatible with the numbers of students involved, to:

  • avoid additional stress
  • ensure that you are able to achieve your objectives
  • create for your students a more satisfying and effective learning experience.

Educational settings

The implications of large and small group contexts are discussed in the following pages:

Some teaching strategies discussed in these pages can be applied equally well in large and small group teaching. The benefits, challenges and appropriate strategies for the most common teaching contexts in universities are discussed in these pages:

See also