Class Size Matters

From presumed budget cuts, Wittenberg’s classes have increased in size, indicating that classes which were previously 15-20 students may become 30-35 students. Some students are worried they will have less individual attention, others are excited to be more of a face in the crowd. A lot of students, myself included, came to Witt believing that for their entire undergraduate degree they’d be in smaller classes and receive individual attention. I personally am wondering, as a less established student facing potentially larger classes, if I should go to a professor for help, a TA or tutor for help or another student for help.
What I believe to be particularly unique about larger classes is the amount of diversity in majors you see from student to student, which can be very enlightening on a personal level, yet not necessarily on an educational level. Larger classes can easily lead to less assertive students, indicating less leadership potential.  I have seen students in a class of 30 barely pass because they were so passive and unable to talk to the professor and there was no TA.
While I do have the capability to do really well in bigger classes, I find myself excelling in smaller ones and enjoying them more overall. What is so wonderful about smaller classes is that teachers have more time to design material that’s student-specific, so if I’m not understanding something they can give me some extra work to help me out. This really helps to make classes less test-oriented and more knowledge-oriented. When professors have more time to design their curriculum and assign specific homework to specific students, it ensures each student will have an understanding of the course material down to the dotted lines.
There is only one way to even attempt to give students the “right amount” of attention to themselves and to their work. This is to offer them help and hope they take it. Some classes, such as certain foreign language classes, require x amount of minutes in the Foreign Language Learning Center. I think this is really important because it can give students a push to get the help their professor no longer has time to provide. Having to spend time at a tutoring center can lead to definitively positive results, especially if the student is in an environment with other students who are particularly knowledgeable about their class, even if they are not a tutor. The size of a class is not the main determining factor of how well students are going to perform – the curriculum and the amount of help offered is.
Witt has based its national reputation on easily-accessible professors, so it’s going to be interesting to watch to see if professors still put effort into being part of their students’ lives, or if they become too busy.  One of the reasons I chose to go Witt rather than OSU or OU and, as a result, pay more for tuition is because I want more individual attention to excel. While classes with 30-50 students are not the end of the world, a lot of students would prefer them to be smaller to ensure maximum knowledge gain.

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