Exploring a technology-facilitated solution to cater for advanced students in large undergraduate classes
Blackwell Synergy Inc.
Learning and Development Services Centre
Often with large classes of students it is difficult to cater for individual needs. Large classes hold many students, some of whom may be under-prepared for the course they are taking and some who will already have a high degree of familiarity with much of the planned content and learning outcomes. In catering for the diversity of students, teachers often teach to the lowest common denominator, catering for the former, but failing to provide a challenging and fulfilling learning programme for the latter. This paper describes a project undertaken in an Australian university where students enrolled in a large class were provided with the opportunity and incentive to undertake a technology-facilitated individual authentic learning project in place of the more structured coursework pathway. The purpose of the activity was to enable advanced students to extend their learning through an independent project. An inquiry was undertaken to explore the effectiveness of such an approach as a means to cater for diversity in the cohort and to investigate the factors influencing the learning outcomes that were achieved.