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Guide to Hybrid & Online Teaching at JMU

Teaching Large Classes

Teaching a large class in an online or hybrid mode? Here are some things to think about as you plan the class.

Best practices for designing large-enrollment online classes

  • Use Canvas features to help students focus and stay on track: Assign due dates to assignments, pages containing links to readings, discussion posts (both in the main classroom and in Canvas groups), and graded or ungraded quizzes. By adding due dates, these tasks are added to the "Student To Do" list in Canvas
  • Use Canvas to help with grading and communication efficiency: If you are looking to streamline large courses, Canvas sections may help make grading and providing feedback more efficient. 
  • Use discussion boards to build community: Online discussion can be a very good place for building community and provide an opportunity to scaffold larger projects or assignments. You can use discussion boards for a variety of purposes. It is essential to set expectations for how students are expected to communicate on discussion boards. You should also share how often and to what degree you will respond to discussion board posts. Some potential conversation starters are available in this article about orchestrated discussions.
  • Peer summaries of group discussions: If you are using group discussions or breakout rooms, encourage students to take turns summarizing their discussions.
  • Model the best: If students give permission, consider sharing exemplars of student work with assignment instructions.
  • Use peer reviews and Study Buddy Notes (SBNs): Encouraging peer studying helps foster community and can enhance student learning.
  • Set up an FAQ page on Canvas:  To help students who may have similar questions easily access answers consider assembling questions with your responses on your Canvas page. One way to do this is by having a standing discussion board thread dedicated to student questions. 
  • Grade with Rubrics and prepare collections of feedback: A rubric that aligns with learning objectives may take time to create, but it can make it easier to provide students with feedback. You can even save time by preparing feedback that aligns with measures in the rubric to copy and paste for multiple students.

More resources