Scaling Up Your Courses

“Scaling up Courses”
Anastasia Salter

Has your class size grown? It seems like just a few more students should not matter but often it does. Our Profhacker friends at the Chronicle of Higher Education offer some recommendations for how to adjust when your class gets “scaled up”.


  1. Eliminate assignments that have a low return investment
    1. It’s more beneficial to provide meaningful feedback on fewer, necessary assignments
    2. If some assignments are indisposable, they can be switched to participation grades
  2. Consider peer-review for assessment of early stage assignments where and when possible
    1. While detailed feedback for the students is ideal, it can consume time that could be spent on giving vital feedback on large assignments
    2. Course management tools can also be beneficial in addition to providing in-class time for peer review
  3. Examine the benefits of individual versus group projects
    1. The decision between the two is significant, but individual projects can be more time-consuming to grade and give feedback
    2. Group projects also present their own set of issues such as uneven contribution and participation and missing group members
  4. Anticipate questions and provide supplementary materials
    1. A challenging aspect of having a large class size is the continual routine of answering constant emails with questions from students
      1. Take questions at the end of the class
      2. Possibly provide a FAQ portion on the syllabus or for each assignment
    2. Streamline grading and rubrics where appropriate
      1. Pre-written comments for general problems that students run into saves time and energy
      2. This leaves more time for comments and feedback on the crucial and unique parts of students’ work and for future improvements they can make