An Investigation of Issues in the Teaching and Management of Large Classes

Assoc Prof. John Hall,
Mr Wayne Binney,
Dr Wendy L. Kennedy
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In a quest for a more efficient education system, many organizations have opted to increase class size. It is a common perception that large subjects are economical to run and small subjects are not. Many in the tertiary education system have had concerns with issues involved in the teaching of large classes, including teaching quality and whether there are effective learning outcomes for students. As with any complex issue, there are several approaches that could be utilized to assess whether the needs of stakeholders are being met. Stakeholders include the institution, the teaching staff, the community and the students. This study aims to assess whether universities are satisfying the needs of students as class size is increased. The study focuses on satisfaction with large classes and includes an assessment of the satisfaction of students' psychological needs. These constructs are measured in small, medium and large classes to identify the change in the level of satisfaction. The study used a multi-method approach consisting of a literature review, a qualitative phase involving in-depth interviews, focus groups, and a quantitative survey. The results show that while customer satisfaction is being met, the satisfaction of students' psychological needs are not being fully realised. It was also found that there were notable variations between individual students, the subjects being studied and degree streams of students taking the same subject. The implications of these findings and suggestions for further investigation are discussed in this paper.

Keywords: Higher education class size, Student needs, Psychological needs satisfaction
Stream: Adult, Vocational, Tertiary and Professional Learning
Presentation Type: Paper Presentation in English
Paper: Effective Teaching in Universities

Assoc Prof. John Hall

Associate Professor, Executive Director, Business Research Centre, Deakin Business School, Deakin University

Dr John Hall is an Associate Professor of Marketing at Deakin University Melbourne where he is a director of the business research centre. Prior to his current appointment he was a Marketing discipline leader and course coordinator at Victoria University of Technology, Melbourne. His research interests include market segmentation, consumer behaviour, marketing education, social marketing and the development and application of marketing research techniques and technology.

Mr Wayne Binney

Lecturer, School of Hospitality, Tourism and Marketing, Victoria University

Wayne Binney has extensive experience in teaching marketing with specific expertise in consumer behaviour, business market research, and the development of innovative teaching techniques. He conducts marketing courses at Victoria University, Melbourne, in related disciplines including tourism and hospitality marketing. Besides being an active consumer behaviour and social marketing researcher, he has authored several business and marketing publications and addressed national and international conferences. He has consulted to State and federal governments and several national and multinational firms.

Dr Wendy L. Kennedy

PhD Student, Deakin Business School, Deakin University

Wendy Kennedy's experience as an educator over the last 20 years extends across early childhood, primary school, the Australian Defence Force, and university environments. Her research interests include electronic marketing, youth issues in education and the arts, arts marketing and research methodology. Wendy is currently undertaking her PhD in marketing.

Ref: L05P1013