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Large lecture course with labs or discussion sections

Large lecture courses generally include smaller sections where students meet weekly for lab or discussion sessions. For this example, each week, students are assigned reading and online activities and must complete an online quiz before class. Students are graded on exams, lab assignments and weekly quizzes. The lab assignments are graded by TAs. In a large course, organization and clear communication with students will help students navigate to their work and save the instructor time.

1. Welcome and orient students to the course

The Site Information Display box on the front of any site can be used to welcome students, briefly describe the course, and provide guidance to the course site. Many instructors add a relevant image.

siteinfobox

2. Upload and organize course content

Use Resources to organize the assigned files into folders by unit or week. Materials can be added to the folders as the course progresses. The folder structure will help you find your materials.

resources

3. Use Lessons to organize the course materials for students

The Lessons area organizes all materials for the course. It can be arranged by topic, with each topic providing links to documents in the resources, embedded videos, text instructions, quizzes, assignments and forums. When course content is organized through Lessons, it allows for adaptive release of materials by date, by group or until other content has been completed.

lessonspreview

 4. Provide online assessments

Create weekly online, automatically graded quizzes in Tests & Quizzes to take the weight off of TAs and professor time and provide feedback about how the students are doing with the materials. There are many advanced features available; for example, tests can be set up to be timed, deployed to multiple groups, and question pools can be created to share questions among colleagues. If students are required to turn in papers or projects, student Assignments can be tracked and graded online, especially helpful in managing a large course.

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5. Inform students about deadlines

Put exam dates, due dates and class meeting times on the Calendar. All course participants will see the dates and deadlines for the course on their Sakai home page, as well as in the course calendar.

6. Assign teaching assistants

Enroll your teaching assistants in the course. Once enrolled, use the permission settings in Gradebook to give appropriate grading rights to each TA.  Read more on setting TA permissions.

gradingrights

7. Use groups functionality to communicate effectively

Most tools in Sakai are “group-aware.” This means you can create a calendar event or forum for a single roster or manually generated group. This means the schedule and assignments for multiple sections can be coordinated in only one Sakai site.

groups

8. Set up the Gradebook for your grading scheme

The Gradebook can be set up with categories and weighting for weekly quizzes, exams and section assignments, to help inform students of their progress in the course.  If the Gradebook is too restrictive for your needs, consider using PostEm.

 

categories

9. Check that all students are accessing the course material

Throughout the course, instructors can periodically view the site as a student to ensure that students can access required materials.

As long as the tool is enabled, instructors can run reports in Statistics to make sure that students are accessing the resources.  Statistics can alert instructors to students who are not accessing materials as they should and design appropriate interventions.