Quality Teaching in Large University Classes: Designing Online Collaboration among Learners for Deep Understanding

Yang, Nan (2015) Quality Teaching in Large University Classes: Designing Online Collaboration among Learners for Deep Understanding. PhD thesis, University of Trento.

PDF - Doctoral Thesis


This study aimed to explore the impact of eLearning on quality teaching in higher education and to implement Computer-Supported Collaborative Learning (CSCL) that targeted the quality challenges in practice. It was a mixed method research composing of three stages. It initially focused on university teachers’ perception of quality teaching, problems, and strategies in practice to understand the actual usage of eLearning by practitioners. Seventeen university teachers participated in the inquiry of stage 1. It found the common perception of quality teaching was students’ deep understanding of the learning subject. Besides, large class teaching was the most common problem faced by teachers who already achieved quality teaching in small classes, which became the research focus in the inquiry of stage 2. CSCL was selected as a potential eLearning strategy that targeted quality challenges in large class teaching due to its theoretical benefits. the inquiry of stage 2 aimed to explore the impact of CSCL on quality teaching in large classes. Considering the institutional influence on teaching approaches, it defined the case in the university level. Two universities composed of ten teachers were investigated. It found the majority of participants perceived a limited quality in large class teaching, and this limitation was due to two issues: insufficient teacher-student interaction, and the difficulty in checking students’ understanding in the learning process. Besides, CSCL was not widely adopted in practice, and adopted strategies did not target those two issues mentioned above. The inquiry of stage 3 designed and implemented CSCL activities in an authentic large university class with the aim to explore its impact. It indicated CSCL helped to improve teaching quality in large classes – students’ deep understanding - by enhancing interaction and feedback in the learning process. In sum, this three-stage study revealed the practical challenges of quality teaching in higher education, then designed and implemented eLearning activities to tackle them.

Item Type:Doctoral Thesis (PhD)
Doctoral School:Psychological Sciences and Education
PhD Cycle:27
Subjects:Area 11 - Scienze storiche, filosofiche, pedagogiche e psicologiche > M-PED/03 DIDATTICA E PEDAGOGIA SPECIALE
Uncontrolled Keywords:Quality teaching in higher education, large class teaching, computer-supported collaborative learning, learning for understanding
Repository Staff approval on:11 Dec 2015 10:11

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