What's happening in CLA's undergrad classrooms? We checked in with one of the smallest—and one of the largest. (Just so you know … 42 percent of CLA classes have fewer than 20 students.)
By Laine Bergeson
History 1909: Globalization in the American Heartland
CLASS SIZE: 9
“The discussion we can have in class is the antithesis of the online experience," says David Good, professor emeritus of history. Good teaches his freshman seminar using the actual stuff of history—contracts, poems, diary entries, and other documents dating from the period he's teaching, many of them very personal and moving, sometimes searing. In the more diffuse and less intimate setting of cyberspace, he says, it's difficult to get students to engage deeply with those texts, to get them to make connections and look for the patterns that lie within them.
Psychology 1001:Introduction to Psychology
CLASS SIZE: 680
Nothing is more cutting-edge than flesh and blood, members of the psychology department decided several years ago.“Introduction to Psychology used to be taught by films shown in the large lecture hall exclusively," says Judy Peterson, an education specialist who was hired in 1989 to revamp the monster course. One of Peterson's goals was to make the class more interactive. “We replaced the film lectures with live lectures by scholars and experts in the field," says Peterson. Exposed each week to experts in psychology's sub-fields—child development, clinical psychology, or abnormal psychology for starters—students hear about the latest findings in the field. And of course they still wonder, as students always have when they learn the basics of psychopathology, Is this what's wrong with me?