100 Thomas Classroom

When
many think of large enrollment classes, they think of monotonous
lectures given to bored students who are not engaged and are just going
through the motions. However, Sam Richards, senior lecturer in
sociology, challenges that idea.

If
you know Richards, you know he is very good at challenging people and
getting them to think. That’s exactly what he does both outside of the
classroom in his World in Conversation Project and Race Relations
Project, and inside the classroom in courses like SOC 119: Race and
Ethnic Relations. At this year’s Symposium, Richards is presenting From
Large Lecture to a World in Conversation, a session built upon the idea
that large enrollment courses like SOC 119 do not have to be long
lectures, bored students, and multiple-choice tests.

Sam Richards Teaching in 100 Thomas Classroom
Richards teaching SOC 119, in front of a full house

SOC
119 students find themselves in a dynamic environment that is likely
unlike any other large enrollment course they take at Penn State. They
are shown videos, take surveys, have the lecture highlights posted on
Youtube, get involved in breakout group discussions, and have their
ideas and pre-assumptions on race relations challenged by Richards.

At
the Symposium, Richards will discuss how he creates an engaging
large-enrollment course that is definitely not your parents’
large-enrollment course. In the meantime, Jamie Oberdick from Teaching
and Learning with Technology sat down with Richards for this final
edition of Symposium Stories to talk more about how he creates student
engagement in a large-course environment.

To listen to the podcast, please click on: Symposium Stories Sam Richards.mp3

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