A Ph.D. and a battery-operated microphone are the only weapons Jeannie Loeb has when facing the 300-plus students in Psychology 101.
While it may seem a daunting task — standing alone in front of a mob of young adults — many professors of large lecture classes say they see the potential rather than the disadvantage.
“The class size isn’t so much as an obstacle as it is energizing,” Loeb said.
“There’s some sort of excitement in the room, and I like to take advantage of that.”
Large lecture classes, where enrollment ranges between 100 and approximately 320 students, rely heavily on professor creativity to keep students engaged.
According to most large lecture teachers, simply lecturing isn’t enough anymore.
“It’s hard for anyone, including myself, to stay engaged and listen to someone talking for 50 straight minutes,” said professor Daniel Gitterman, who teaches Public Policy 101.
For Loeb, teaching is down to a science.
“What I attempt to do is teach in the way the brain was designed,” she said. “What that means is I try and stimulate as many of their senses as I can, and do as much active learning as possible.”