Using Technology to Enhance the Student Experience in Large Cohort Settings: Evidence from a Journey of Innovation at the University of Manchester
Keywords:Large Group Classes, Higher Education, Student Response System, Peer Interaction, Social Media
AbstractThe use of large cohorts in higher education poses significant challenges to institutions and lecturers required to convene in this setting. These challenges have been compounded by recent changes to higher education in the UK that have presented themselves in the form of a new fees structure, a push for student satisfaction and a technological tidal wave. This paper presents innovative approaches, from two large cohort economics courses running over three years at the University of Manchester, using methods of classroom interaction, peer instruction and social media to further engagement. We discuss data collected during this period of time through surveys and observations of how the students used these new learning tools. We have found that a move away from clickers toward utilisation of students’ own mobile devices, and in time the use of social media, meant that we were more able to adapt and evolve our teaching methods at a pace with the needs and interests of our students. We use this evidence to consider the implications and to provide advice to others teaching on large cohort courses whose ambition, like ours, is to make the large cohort class a more positive experience.
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