Regarding the specific way we structure these smaller groups: As the instructor, I cover one of the labs and I have two undergraduate students covering one additional lab each. A few key choices make it not only possible to run more labs and make them ideal for our students:
- I specifically choose undergraduate students to run labs because the CS research points to the fact that working with a senior undergraduate student provides for a better experience than TAs who are graduate students. Working with peers closer in age appears to increase benefit to CS students.
- The undergraduate TAs and I rely on technology to make more assignments possible. Without technology we wouldn’t be able to manage the increased workload of additional grading.
- Enabling students to work in pairs can also improve the student experience, in spite of larger class sizes. This can be done with or without the use of technology, but we find that students benefit from using technology to be able to work together even when they are remote.
In the next post I will share with you how improving the Feedback Loop for students can greatly enhance learning.