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Center for Teaching Excellence

  • Large Lecture Class

Under the Big Top: What to Do with the Large Lecture


In this seminar, the facilitator and attendees pool their wisdom and share their experience when it comes to playing ringmaster in a large lecture course, whether for a crowd numbering 80 or one of 300. David Miller starts off with a brief PowerPoint presentation and accompanying set of pithy maxims based on his own experience in English 283, a course that typically enrolls 150 non-majors and that has proven over the years to be a graveyard for instructor evaluations.

Miller talks about strategies he employed to bring his ratings back from the dead (without pretending that student evaluations measure anyone's learning but his own), and explains the thinking behind those strategies. This presentation serves as the lead-in to a collective brainstorming session in which the group devises brilliant and infallible solutions to each and every one of the challenges facing instructors who are foolish or unlucky enough to end up running a three-ring circus.

About the Facilitator

David Lee Miller is Carolina Distinguished Professor of English and Comparative Literature and Director of USC's Center for Digital Humanities. Although he specializes in English Renaissance Literature, he regularly and willingly teaches ENGL 283, a large course for non-majors, and was awarded the department's Teacher of the Year Award in 2008-09.

Challenge the conventional. Create the exceptional. No Limits.