Interactive Strategies for Engaging Large and Small Classes


Extract from Issue#7 of Teaching Tuesdays@CSU

All issues of Teaching Tuesdays can be accessed through the folder at this link.


Student engagement in their own learning can be challenging to ensure. So what strategies do you use to engage your students?

Interactive Strategies for Engaging Large and Small Classes

Faculty Focus email links to a recent short article, that also supports Dimension 1: Students are actively engaged in learning.

By Professor Toni Weiss


This article is framed around answering three questions, with the main focus on question 3:

1. What is the purpose of making a class interactive?

2. What does an interactive class look like?

3. What gets in the way of you creating a more interactive space in your classroom?

Targeting the face-to-face learning environment, one simple strategy is to move around the classroom and use technology to support interactions with screens and whiteboards from anywhere in the room.

An interesting idea is “Pass the iPad” used for on-the-spot student interaction across a range of disciplines and classroom scenarios.

These actions can be supported with a range of techonology tools.

The app Doceri for Apple and Windows devices is the recommended option in this article.

Dimensions of Teaching

Dimension 1: Students are actively engaged in learning

Indicative teaching strategies for demonstrating this dimension may include:

  • fostering a supportive, non-threatening teaching/learning environment
  • encouraging students to express views, ask and answer questions, and allow time and opportunity for this to occur
  • using questioning skills which encourage student engagement
  • providing immediate and constructive feedback where appropriate
  • demonstrating enthusiasm for teaching and learning
  • (for smaller groups) fostering extensive interaction
  • (for very large groups) presenting in such a manner as to achieve maximum engagement

Adapted from: Crisp, G. et al (2009) Peer Review of Teaching for Promotion Purposes: a project to develop and implement a pilot program of external Peer Review of Teaching at four Australian universities, University of Adelaide, an ALTC-funded project, 2007-8. Final Project Report June 2009. Thanks to RMIT and UNSW.

The nine Dimensions of Teaching are the key focus areas that underpin the main elements in the Peer Review of Teaching Practice templates used at CSU for both formative teaching development or to evidence your teaching in, for example, your promotion application.

(See Peer Review of Educational Practice at CSU).