Course Design for Scalability

When thinking about how you could accommodate 100 students or more in your course, assignments may be designed differently. They should be designed so that they can be graded by individuals other than the course developer, such as instructors or academic coaches. Communication structures should be more explicit as well. Techniques that support this model are outlined in the chart below:

Elements of Course Design Approach Ideas, examples, notes and further reading
Setting and reinforcing expectations Specs Grading PDF (opens in a new window)


Nilson, L.B. (2015). Specifications Grading: Restoring Rigor, Motivating Students, and Saving Faculty Time. Stylis Publishing.
Effective Communication Academic Coaches

Virtual Office Hours

Course specific FAQs

Automated Academic Alerts in Bb

Weekly Video Tutorials posted by the instructor or facilitator


Lemke, D. (2018). Tips for Designing and Moderating Large Online Courses. Retrieved December 6, 2018

Zhong, Litao. (May 2018). Strategies and Practices Related to Teaching Large Online Classes. Journal of Higher Education Theory and Practice; Vol. 18, Iss. 1, 152-166.

Course Management Virtual Sections within one larger section Panagopoulos, L. (April 2007). Virtual Sections: A creative strategy for managing large online classes. Online Cl@ssroom, 1, 5.


Assessment Low Stakes Pre-Quizzes

Post- Quizzes

YellowDig – a discussion platform (Link)


Brown, P.C., Roediger, H. L., McDaniel, M. A. (2014). Make it Stick: The Science of Successful Learning. The Belknap Press.


Hart, V. Personal Communication about YellowDig. “Students are responsible for their own grades and that I don’t need to assess every response.”



Teaching Techniques Multiple ways to interact (synchronous/asynchronous)

Group Summaries (think, pair, share)

Peer review

Small peer groups

Bowers, P., Sand, J., Barlow, R., Wing, T. (2011). Strategies for Managing Large Online Classes. International Journal of Learning, 18, 2.