About this paper

Appears in:
Pages: 6951-6957
Publication year: 2015
ISBN: 978-84-606-8243-1
ISSN: 2340-1117

Conference name: 7th International Conference on Education and New Learning Technologies
Dates: 6-8 July, 2015
Location: Barcelona, Spain


B. Davison, E. Rivera, J. Fotheringham

Edinburgh Napier University (UNITED KINGDOM)
Despite the disadvantages of large class sizes identified by Cuseo [1], it is no longer unusual for university class sizes to far exceed 100 students. According to Cuseo, students in large classes typically receive less frequent, poorer quality interaction and feedback from the tutor and show reduced levels of active learning. Blended learning can compensate to some extent for the more rarefied interpersonal contact [2]. However, it is important to recognise the limitations of blended learning and to consider alternative ways of using the precious face-to-face time to improve the students' learning experience. This paper reports on an attempt to improve engagement and performance on a second-year relational database class with around 170 students by re-establishing the personal contact between tutor and students. Attendance levels in the class were low, and performance on the final examination was poor as a consequence. Two specific interventions were introduced into the face-to-face sessions in 2014/15. The first was a dedicated exam practice slot during each weekly lecture, and the second was a schedule of one-to-one discussions with students during the practical class. Thus students regularly received at least a few minutes of individual attention as well as personal feedback on their exam practice work. The interventions were successful in the sense that the exam results showed a significant improvement via an independent t-test assuming equal variances (t(279) = -5.07, p < 0.01). Follow-up interviews were conducted with a sample of students in the trimester following the class to determine the relative value of the two measures. Our main question is whether five minutes of face time can make a difference to a student's learning experience.

[1] J. Cuseo, "The empirical case against large class size: Adverse effects on the teaching, learning, and retention of first-year student," Journal of Faculty Development, vol. 21, no. 1, pp. 5-21, 2007.
[2] L. M. Jeffrey, J. Milne, G. Suddaby and A. Higgins, "Help or Hindrance: blended approaches and student engagement," Ako Aotearoa National Centre for Tertiary Teaching Excellence, Wellington, NZ, 2012.
author = {Davison, B. and Rivera, E. and Fotheringham, J.},
series = {7th International Conference on Education and New Learning Technologies},
booktitle = {EDULEARN15 Proceedings},
isbn = {978-84-606-8243-1},
issn = {2340-1117},
publisher = {IATED},
location = {Barcelona, Spain},
month = {6-8 July, 2015},
year = {2015},
pages = {6951-6957}}
AU - B. Davison AU - E. Rivera AU - J. Fotheringham
SN - 978-84-606-8243-1/2340-1117
PY - 2015
Y1 - 6-8 July, 2015
CI - Barcelona, Spain
JO - 7th International Conference on Education and New Learning Technologies
JA - EDULEARN15 Proceedings
SP - 6951
EP - 6957
ER -
B. Davison, E. Rivera, J. Fotheringham (2015) FIVE MINUTES OF FACE TIME, EDULEARN15 Proceedings, pp. 6951-6957.