Using Technology to Enhance the Student Experience in Large Cohort Settings: Evidence from a Journey of Innovation at the University of Manchester


  • Paul Middleditch University of Manchester
  • William Moindrot Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine



Large Group Classes, Higher Education, Student Response System, Peer Interaction, Social Media


The 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.

Author Biography

Paul Middleditch, University of Manchester

Dr Paul Middleditch is a Lecturer in Macroeconomics at the University of Manchester, Associate Member of the Economics Network and Fellow of the Higher Education Academy (FHEA). He received his BA in Economics at Kingston University in 2003 and MSc in Economics at Birkbeck College before going on to the University of Surrey to complete his PhD, also in Economics. His research interests include monetary policy, macroeconomic time series and also innovation in the area of pedagogy. Paul received the inaugural Economics Network 'Outstanding Teaching Award' in 2013 and a Manchester University Distinguished Achievement Medal 'Teacher of the Year' in 2014.


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