Teacher Instruction: Large Lecture Practices

Large classes provide a challenging environment for students and instructors alike. Here are a handful of solutions for instructors to consider when teaching a large format class of 60 students or more.

Best Practices

Active Learning

With many students in the room, it is easier for students to sit passively and disengage from participation and learning (it also becomes easier to check one's social media or email!). Active learning approaches will help students re-engage with you, your content, and their peers. The broad goal of active learning is for students to engage in content-focused activities during class time. Encouraging Active Learning in Large Classes, by Florida State University shares ways you can add active learning into your large classroom.

Student Response Systems

Ask questions to prompt critical thinking and discussion. Use tools like PollEverywhere for participation, to reinforce lecture objectives, to break up the class, and to know whether students understand the lecture material (see Pulse Checks). Do not use these tools solely for attendance!

Learning Management System (Brightspace)

Use our Learning Management System (Brightspace) to communicate, collect, and grade assessments, and deliver feedback & grades. It will save you a lot of time!

Other Best Practices

  • Weekly low-stakes assessments to help students verify their mastery of course content
  • Use tools such as NYU Stream (Kaltura Capture) to record your lectures as well as convey remedial & supplemental content
  • Use peer-to-peer and group activities to personalize the class environment (try "turn and talks" where the students turn to a neighbor to discuss a course prompt provided by you, the instructor)
  • Contact an Academic Technology instructional designer for further ideas and assistance (email:  steinhardt.technology@nyu.edu)


Be aware of the technologies available for large classes but use them mindfully. Start with thinking about your learning objectives, and only use a technology if it will help students satisfy those objectives. Talk with an instructional designer to learn more!


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