Understanding How to Reduce the Impact of Transactional Distance in Large-Enrollment Undergraduate Courses

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  • Universities started to recruit more students to address the issues of funding cuts after entering the twenty-first century. With more students enrolled and stagnating numbers of instructors, higher education institutions decide to enlarge classes by putting over one hundred students into one class. However, large-enrollment courses brought some drawbacks to students, teaching faculties, and the institution. At the same time, based on Moore's theory, big classes also increase the transactional distance, a psychological distance between the instructor and the students. To improve students' experience in large classes and reduce the transactional distance, practitioners have applied various instructional strategies, most of which are supported by technology. To organize the present research, the author conducted this critical literature review to demonstrate how large-enrollment courses increase the transactional distance, how a high transactional distance influences the learning outcomes, and what technological solutions can be applied to achieve a low transactional distance. It is found that large undergraduate courses involve less dialogue between students and teachers, have a high structure with less flexibility and less freedom for students, and require more learner autonomy. However, since students possess
    different learning patterns and abilities, they also present different levels of learner autonomy. In the end, in-class and out-of-class technological solutions that can be applied by teaching faculties are introduced.

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  • Type of Item
    Research Material
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    Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International