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Virginia Tech News / Articles / 2015 / 03 

Virginia Tech to host conference on teaching large classes

March 31, 2015

Virginia Tech is hosting a conference on teaching large classes on July 23. Presentation proposals are due April 20.

Organized by the Center for Instructional Development and Educational Research at Virginia Tech, the new conference will focus on best practices for teaching and learning within large classes.

“What qualifies as a large class can be hard to define. There is no specific number that needs to be met, but they are large enough that it is difficult for the teacher to engage with students at the individual level,” said Peter Doolittle, assistant provost for teaching and learning and executive director of the Center for Instructional Development and Educational Research. “This conference is intended to provide knowledge and skills for educators to still foster deep learning with students despite larger class settings.”

Proposals will be accepted through April 20 for practice, research, poster, and conversation sessions on a wide range of topics related to teaching and learning in large classrooms. Notifications will be sent on April 24.

Conference schedule and registration information is available on the Conference on Teaching Large Classes website.

In addition to the concurrent sessions, the conference will feature two keynote speakers.

Perry Samson, professor of atmospheric, oceanic, and space sciences at the University of Michigan, will talk about “Bringing Active Learning to Large Lecture Courses,” showing how to use a learning management system to encourage student participation. Samson teaches large sections of extreme weather and entrepreneurship. He is co-founder of The Weather Underground and creator of LectureTools.

Sarah Karpanty, associate professor of fish and wildlife conservation in the College of Natural Resources and Environment at Virginia Tech, will present “How to convince your students to leave their large-class expectations at the door and then deliver what you promise.” She will share her successes and failures in teaching large sections of fisheries and wildlife management. Karpanty was a recipient of Virginia Tech’s Certificate of Teaching Excellence Award.

The conference will be held at the Inn at Virginia Tech and Skelton Conference Center in Blacksburg, Virginia. Get updates on the conference through the Teach Large Twitter page.

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