Oh my, I have 400 students in my course. What can I do?

Authors: Tiina Lehtonen and Outi Rautakoura

Courses with 400 students are a reality in many schools. With digital tools, teachers can support student activity and learning even to mass courses. Students think highly of  teachers who are involved and who really want their students to learn. Putting new tools and teaching methods into use takes time and effort – how can a teacher manage this without burn out?

Lighten your lessons

Are you already familiar with the new ‘glass blackboard’ system, Lightboard? It enables a new way of making videos on e.g. mathematical problems or formulas. You can handwrite your calculations, save the videos in Panopto media service, then share them in your MyCourses course workspace.

If students prepare for the lessons by watching short videos, reading articles or doing multiple choice tests, the teacher can concentrate on the most essential and difficult parts. Students can discuss and solve problems in small groups, and the results can be shown, for example, on Presemo, the classroom participation tool.

Plan your course in MyCourses

On MyCourses, you can gather together all of the study materials and activities for your course. When you create a good structure, clear guidelines and well-defined assignments for your course and allow enough time for students to work, , students can concentrate on the most important thing – their own learning – instead of trying to figure out what they should be doing when and how.

Give your students a chance to go over the material and practise. Use MyCourses quizzes with automatic assessment. Give feedback on assignments when possible. It doesn´t have to be on an individual student level – a summar for the whole class is good enough. With automatic quizzes, you can activate students during the course without creating too much work for yourself.

Collaborative studying – learning together and discussing the topics with other students – is more effective and leads to deeper learning than studying alone. With technology, you can facilitate this kind of interaction and activate your students even in mass courses.

Take small steps

You don’t have to undertake a complete overhaul. Take small steps, try out and test new methods. Ask for the students’ feedback during the course. It is worth the effort in the long run. Your course structures and materials can be reused on the next course.

Even a course with 400 students can be versatile and inspiring without causing teacher burn-out. The ICT for Learning team is happy to help you in planning and creating your course and in putting the new tools and methods into use in your teaching .

Authors: Tiina Lehtonen and Outi Rautakoura
Specialists with the ICT for Learning team