Comparative Analysis of Two Teaching Methods for Large Classes

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Background: Studying engineering has never been more popular and the societal need for engineering skills is immense. As a consequence, we are accepting more students into many of our programs.

Purpose: To identify criteria for good practices within large class teaching and to evaluate two selected large class teaching methods (TMs) namely Active Learning Exercises (ALEx) and Team-Based Learning (TBL), against these criteria.

Design/Method: First, the criteria for good teaching were identified via a literature review and include promoting active learning and meeting diverse ways of learning. Students and instructors involved in two different courses at Nanyang Technical University Singapore (NTU Singapore) and University of Toronto (UT), each representing a distinct TM, were subsequently surveyed. In the survey, students and instructors were asked to validate how important they found each of the identified criteria for good teaching. They were also asked to evaluate how well the respective TM supports each of these criteria for good teaching.

Results and Conclusions: The criteria identified via the literature review were considered to be “important” to “very important” by both students and instructors at both universities. TBL performs markedly better than ALEx in this study when it comes to the facilitation of the good teaching criteria, although a direct comparison is difficult as teacher, student and context specific issues are not analogous. In order to validate and further explore the findings of this study, a follow-up research should be completed on a single group of students being taught the same course topic by a single group of teachers using different types of TMs. This would ensure direct comparison between the selected TMs and eliminate potential biases related to differences culture, age of students, course topics taught and teachers individual teaching skills.
Original languageEnglish
Publication date2019
Number of pages14
Publication statusPublished - 2019
Event2019 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition - 126th Annual Conference & Exposition - Tampa Convention Center, Tampa, Fl, United States
Duration: 16 Jun 201919 Jun 2019
Conference number: 126


Conference2019 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition - 126th Annual Conference & Exposition
LocationTampa Convention Center
CountryUnited States
CityTampa, Fl


  • Large class teaching
  • Team-based learning (TBL)
  • Active learning exercises (ALEx)
  • Best teaching practices

Cite this

Clausen, L. P. W., Bazylak, J., & Hansen, S. F. (2019). Comparative Analysis of Two Teaching Methods for Large Classes. Paper presented at 2019 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition - 126th Annual Conference & Exposition, Tampa, Fl, United States.