Documentation:ISW/Lesson Plan/Theme Session/Online/Teaching Large Classes: Change-Up in Lectures

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This online module uses the ISW BOPPPS model as a lesson planning framework.

Online Module

Time to Complete

15 minutes

Learning Objectives

By the end of this module, you will be able to:

  • Recognize possible challenges which might rise in teaching a large classroom in your discipline
  • Describe the idea of ‘Change-up’ in lectures
  • Develop and discuss strategies for change-up that can be used in a large classroom in your discipline


"I sat in the back of the classroom, observing and taking careful notes as usual. The class started at one o’clock. The student sitting in front of me took copious notes until 1:20. Then he just nodded off. The student sat motionless, with eyes shut for about a minute and a half, pen still poised. Then he awoke, and continued his rapid note-taking as if he hadn’t missed a beat."

The above is the opening paragraph of an article titled ‘The "Change-Up" in Lectures’ (Middendorf & Kalish, 1996). The authors argue that given that students have an attention span of around 15 to 20 minutes and that university classes are scheduled for around 50 or 75 minutes, it is essential to build a “change-up” into your class to punctuate sections of lecture and restart the attention clock.


Here is a short version of the article: The Change Up (PDF)

  • Please read the section titled ‘A Change-up Sampler’ (pages 4 and 5).
  • Select and share 2-3 change-up strategies that you find useful in a large classroom in your discipline.

(For full text of the article please see the first link in Go Further section of the module.)

Go Further

Module Credits

This module was originally designed by the Dr. Rowshan Rahmanian and adopted by the Graduate Student Facilitators at the Centre for Teaching, Learning and Technology (CTLT) at UBC-Vancouver.