The school newspaper. The Spectrum has an article this morning entitled “The Inevitability of Large Classes” on its front page, with an accompanying photo of my class last year. At least, I’m 99% sure that’s me up there, though it’s really hard to tell!
I doubt anyone will get to that article, given the headline (about which I officially have “no comment”), but it is interesting that students are looking at this. The truth is that we can make the big classes interesting and involving. I think technology has at least some role here, though it is hard to say what. I’ve been experimenting with different ways of providing a more interactive atmosphere to classes like this, and some of those experiments have been at least partially successful (and some have been disasters).
I think the best is creating workgroups and having much of the work done within that group. You have all the usual problems (freeriders, etc.), but it at least provides some bridge between the atomized student and the distant (check out the photo) professor.