Shifting your small class strategies to big class contexts

Shifting your small class strategies to big class contexts: Tips for making big classes seem small(er)

Tammy Long

Tuesday, February 13, 2018

11:15 - 1:00 (Lunch at 11:15, program starts at 11:30

1400 Biomedical and Physical Sciences

Lunch provided


Too often, instructors reserve their most innovative and effective teaching strategies for classes that reach the smallest numbers of students. While large classes do pose constraints – some real, many perceived – we need not retreat from engaging discussions, skills-based assessments, and curiosity-driven inquiry just because we’re confronted with more than 20 students. In this session, we’ll explore strategies for designing and implementing learner-centered goals, assessments, and instructional activities that have been field-tested in courses ranging from 50-500. In particular, we’ll focus on ways to streamline work flows and increase efficiencies of common time-consuming tasks.


Tammy Long is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Plant Biology at Michigan State University. At MSU, she has led efforts to renovate introductory biology courses for Plant Biology, the Center for Integrative Studies in General Sciences, and the Biological Sciences Program. She is currently concluding an NSF-funded study that evaluates long-term impacts of reforming introductory biology for majors. As part of this work, her research team developed a systems-based approach for teaching biology that uses conceptual modeling as both instruction and assessment and developed metrics for documenting change in student thinking over time. Research in her lab aims to better understand the mechanisms by which students use, interpret, and reason with biological models, and to link outcomes with current systems thinking theory.

Video of the Workshop

PowerPoint from Workshop