Experiential learning in large classes

Its good to see a call for a special issue of the Journal of Management Education on experiential learning in large classes. The call for papers is available here.

The call states:

The aim of this special issue is to contribute to new understandings of how experiential learning can be used to engage students and faculty, who increasingly find themselves teaching in larger class contexts. Rather than exclusively discussing technological solutions or innovations that aim to address the difficulties that have arisen from teaching very large classes, this special issue aims to develop new ways of understanding engagement in higher education learning environments.

The deadline for submissions is 31 October.

There is a strong assumption where I work that good quality postgraduate education (for some reason the same heuristic is not applied to undergraduates) cannot be delivered to large groups of, say, 25 + students.

When I started working as an academic, I was immediately teaching classes of about 30 – 45 postgraduate students most of whom had significant professional experience. So, large classes were normalised for me so I have a certain resentment that what I was providing was innately inferior or poor quality. Our student feedback and evaluations were generally very good and students continue to come back to us many years later to talk about the programme as a transformational experience for them and a hugely positive learning experience.

I now largely position this deficit assumption as being a mix of resistance to the massification of higher education along with an avoidance of engaging in the sort of serious learning design that academics *tend* not to think is part of their job.

I know mainly teach on online distance programmes where there further deficit assumptions are made by colleagues who don’t teach in this manner.

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