Using Active Learning Techniques in Large Classes

In this module, faculty learn how to effectively plan and facilitate active learning in a large class. The module teaches faculty to use an active learning cycle to pique student interest, build foundational knowledge, and then require students to apply new concept(s). In addition, the module includes techniques for using formative assessment and leveraging technology to inform and improve learning.

To satisfy the module requirements, practicing faculty must apply at least one technique, such as using cues to keep students on task, designing lessons according to an active learning cycle, or closing with an activity to hold students accountable.

This module is one of six modules under ACUE’s unit on Using Active Learning Techniques.

Advising Subject Matter Experts

John Pollard
Associate Professor of Practice, Chemistry & Biochemistry
University of Arizona


Edward Prather
Associate Professor, Astronomy
University of Arizona and Steward Observatory

Module References

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Cleveland, L. G. (2002). That’s not a large class; It’s a small town: How do I manage? In C. A. Stanley & M. E. Porter (Eds.), Engaging large classes: Strategies and techniques for college faculty (pp. 16–27). Bolton, MA: Anker.

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Deslauriers, L., Schelew, E., & Wieman, C. (2011). Improved learning in a large-enrollment physics class. Science, 332, 862–864.

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Ruhl, K. L., Hughes, C. A., & Schloss, P. J. (1987). Using the pause procedure to enhance lecture recall. Teacher Education and Special Education, 10, 14–18.

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Wieman, C. (2010). Basic instructor habits to keep students engaged. Retrieved from the Carl Wieman Science Education Initiative at the University of British Columbia website:

Wieman, C. (2016). Observation guide for active-learning classroom. Retrieved from the Carl Wieman Science Education Initiative at the University of British Columbia website: