Professional and Organizational Development Network in Higher Education



John Stevenson

Date of this Version


Document Type



To Improve the Academy, published by The Professional and Organizational Development Network in Higher Education, volume 7, 1988.


I teach a 500-student introductory course in a large lecture hall with a microphone and an overhead projector. For many students this is a first semester course; often it is taken to fulfill a requirement although there is usually some interest in the subject matter (psychology). I am not a particularly charismatic speaker. From the back of the classroom I look antsize, and my voice rattles, disembodied, from the loudspeakers. Despite this, I want to use class time effectively to give students not only exposure to concepts but practice in using them. I believe memorized factual material will be of little lasting value unless tied to students' ways of thinking and problem-solving in their worlds. For that reason, I want to provide students with structured opportunities to think critically about course content issues and to master and internalize concepts by collaborating in their application. I also want my students to become intrigued enough to want to learn more about psychology.