Queen’s Journal: Large class sizes raise questions (31 May 2011)

As published in the Queen’s Journal, 31 May 2011:

University administrators weigh in on class sizes and evolving teaching methods

BY TERRA-ANN ARNONE, FEATURES EDITOR

According to a recent study, an average first-year class at Queen’s is one of the largest in the country. The Globe and Mail survey asked Canadian university students to estimate their first-year class sizes and found that Queen’s had an average of 341 students per class, second only to McMaster University, which boasted 392 students per class.

“Without a doubt, large classes are an issue at Queen’s,” said Andy Leger, an education developer from Queen’s Centre for Teaching and Learning.

Leger works at the Centre for Teaching and Learning, primarily researching the use of learning technology in lecture. He said he’s found that students aren’t quick to protest densely populated lectures.

“They don’t have to participate if they don’t want to. They don’t even have to go to class if they don’t want to,” Leger said.

Two years ago, eight first-year lectures had more than 400 students registered. Leger said that these numbers will continue to rise.

“The government is saying that we’re going to give more money to universities that take on more students, so we take on more students,” Leger said.

“But we don’t have more professors and we don’t have more TAs, so what do we do? We make the class sizes larger.” . . . Continue reading in the Queen’s Journal

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