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August 13, 2007

Electronic Education # 5 - Size of Class

Just returned from the Annual Conference on Distance Teaching & Learning in Madison Wisconsin where I had the pleasure of doing a program with Deborah Brown, Stetson's Associate Vice President for Legal Affairs and Human Resources, on the topic of "Legal and Practical Considerations in Developing and Effectuating Online Courses." 

One item mentioned in one of the session's I attended, and something I also discussed with others, was how many students work best in an online electronic education class.  Clearly in this setting, the size of the class is very important.  Others stated that the class size working best for them was between 12-20 students. I personally found 10 too few and 23 too many. I have found classes with 12 and 17 students to work well. If you go higher than 20 consider breaking it into 2 classes or into groups. If it is too small, the instructor can have problems keeping the discussion going. I also found that if the class size is too small it places too much work on the students. In contrast, too many students in the class makes the discussion difficult and does not provide students with a sufficient voice in the discussion.  Obviously, the specific course and technology used in the online course may make a difference in determining the optimal class size.

-- Ellen S. Podgor

August 13, 2007 in Technology -- in the classroom | Permalink


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