On Campus

Ontario universities see class sizes bloat

Research suggests quality could 'deteriorate' UPDATED

Large classrooms are increasingly becoming the norm at Ontario universities, according to research from the Higher Education Quality Council of Ontario. In 14 of the province’s 19 universities, no less than 30 per cent of first-year classes had at least 100 students in 2010, compared to just nine a year before, the Toronto Star reports. “The larger the class, the more difficult it is for a teacher to get beyond the traditional lecture method and use techniques that promote deep learning, and if that doesn’t happen, the quality can start to deteriorate,” HEQCO vice-president Ken Norrie said. A recent HEQCO university workshop explored different ways institutions are addressing large classes, from offering internet lectures to redesigning multiple choice tests so that they more accurately measure student learning. One University of Toronto student told the Star how engaging professors are capable of jumping over the “over the hurdle of class size.”

UPDATE: An earlier version of this story inaccurately referred to a HEQCO “survey” or “report” on class sizes. No such report exists as of yet.

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