How do you foster a sense of community in large classes?
In other disciplines at UTM, a sense of community in large classes may be achieved in tutorials or labs. Most of our classes in Sociology, however, do not have tutorials. This includes Introduction to Sociology, where it may be particularly important to foster a sense of community for new UTM students. Instead, I try to do small things in the context of my lectures that I hope “add up” to a sense of community, like calling on students to participate in lecture as much as possible through Q & A; by referring to classmates as fellow peers or colleagues; and by doing “Pair and Share” activities or small group break-offs. I’ve also created voluntary tutorials in advance of a test where students work in small groups on a set of practice questions, using lottery scratch cards for immediate feedback. Anything that makes a student believe that they are more than just a student number in a sea of faces is worth doing.
-Jayne Baker, Assistant Professor, Teaching Stream, Department of Sociology