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COVID-19 Updates: CCAPS and the University

A Synergistic Approach to Active Learning in Large Classes: Aligning Classroom, Students, and Online Components with Mutually Reinforcing Strategies

30 minutes
Oral Presentation

Taking advantage of our new lecture hall design in our new classroom building at Auburn University, I wanted to bring active learning into my 90-student core literature section. The key to this logistical step was a simple design of tiered tables inside an otherwise traditional theater space, which allows students to rearrange themselves to confer. Only by bringing together the new classroom design with the vehicle of our learning management system for distributing content online was I able to engineer a system of student engagement and learning that keeps all 90 students simultaneously active in a way that models good student performance, generates study material, encourages analysis and close reading, prepares students for examinations and papers, and makes collaboration productive. Learning outcomes:
1. To explore methods and assumptions of literary and cultural analysis.
2. To develop skills in reading and writing.
3. To provide a very broad framework of cultural history in which to read the works.

Topic Area(s): Effective Teaching Practices; Learner Engagement Strategies; Online & Hybrid Learning; Quality Design in Teaching; Social & Collaborative Learning; Student Success


I have been teaching university classes in literature and composition for 24 years, with a focus on active learning for the past seven years, blending online components, e-portfolios, and aural editing. In addition to the American Literature sequence, I have also often taught World Literature, our core composition classes, British Literature, and Business Writing.