The Student’s Experience of Attending Large Classes in a South African Higher Education Context

Pauline Machika, Christel Troskie-de Bruin, Ruth M. Albertyn


The increase in numbers of students entering South African universities results in the challenge of effectively managing large groups of students in classrooms. Previous research has focused on resourcing and the manner in which knowledge can be conveyed in large classes. To date not much research has been conducted on the student experience within a large class setting at South African higher education institutions. To make provision for responsible massification of higher education that does not affect the quality of student learning negatively, it is necessary to identify the perspective of students on teaching and learning in large classes. A descriptive exploratory study was undertaken using quantitative data derived from a questionnaire. Undergraduate students were asked to provide information related to their experiences of various aspects in the largest class they attend, such as physical environmental, teaching in class, methods/activities, learning and assessment. The results indicate that the students’ level of academic independence determines how well they cope in a large class and the competence and enthusiasm of the lecturer influences whether they attend these classes regularly. It is recommended that teaching and learning methods that can develop students’ ability for independent learning be gradually introduced in large classes.

DOI: 10.5901/mjss.2014.v5n16p375

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This work is licensed under Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License.

Mediterranean Journal of Social Sciences ISSN 2039-9340(Print) ISSN 2039-2117(Online)

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