By Rona Ortiz |Staff Writer|
The ideal amount of students is a matter of preference.
A students poll regarding the impact of class sizes on the quality of learning experience concluded that one size doesn’t fit all.
In 2013, 18,398 students were enrolled at CSUSB, according to the Office of Institutional Research.
Average class sizes on our campus are 36.8 students for lower division classes and 28.1 for upper division classes.
“The main benefit of a large class is that more students can enroll,” said student Vanessa Real.
The largest classes can enroll up to 260 students.
Several students agreed that when it came to general education courses, class size was less of an issue.
“When it comes to my GE’s, honestly, it doesn’t matter, I just want to get in and out,” said student Janette Jiries.
If it’s a more rigorous course, however, many prefer to engage in class discussions found in average sized classes.
“For my general education classes, I don’t care about the size,” said Adam Morgan, a chemistry major. “For my major classes though, I prefer a smaller class.”
One of the main drawbacks of a big class is that students feel they are unable to develop a rapport with the professor.
It’s also harder to get to know fellow classmates.
“Larger classes cause [a] little bit of a problem,” said Real. “If the professor doesn’t know you, you can’t get a letter of recommendation.”
Instructors try to remedy this by encouraging students to drop by during office hours to introduce themselves and to discuss any concerns.
Quality of instruction is another concern with class size.
When professors encourage active participation, students are more apt to pay attention.
“I prefer a small class because I’m less likely to get distracted,” said Jacky Maxwell. “It feels more personal.”
In-class discussion coupled with higher expectations on exams can be contributing factors for student success.
In a large class, students will take tests on a scantron with true/false questions and multiple choice answers.
In a smaller class, however, instructors often include essay questions to encourage students to demonstrate a deeper understanding of a subject.
“It turns out that the type of college students attend – and even the majors they choose – could have very little to do with their overall success and well-being after graduation,” according to a new index constructed by Gallup and Purdue University. “What matters more, the index found, is the overall educational experience and emotional connections students make while in college.”
While smaller class sizes can facilitate a sense of community, students in larger classes can achieve a sense of connectivity.
Regardless of class size, it is essential to develop a network with classmates as well as teachers.
“Networks allow students to navigate the campus environment, access knowledge about the college, create a sense of social belonging, and, ultimately, feel that there are people who care about their academic welfare,” stated Joanne Jacobs in an article on USNews.
Small and large classes are both beneficial in their own right.ht.