Skip to main content

Cornell University

Technology in Large Lectures

  1. How can you manage students' use of personal technology?
  2. How can technology help?

1) How can you manage students’ use of personal technology?

In large classes, lecturers must deal with student use of personal technology. Options for doing so include:

  • Not addressing personal use of technology at all.
  • Forbidding technology use partially or completely.
  • Integrating student technologies in active learning activities.

If you believe there are appropriate and/or inappropriate uses of technology in the classroom, include a technology statement in your syllabus. Keep in mind:

  • Many students depend on technology to assist with their learning.
  • It may be difficult to implement strict technology use policies in larger classes.

2) How can technology help?

When teaching a large class, it can be easy to become overwhelmed by logistics. Early in the planning process, think about:

  • How technology might assist you in organizing your course. You might consider using Blackboard, or another online course management system.
  • How classroom technologies can be used to address the course learning outcomes.

Visual technologies that are particularly useful in large lecture classes include:

CTI Faculty Seminar Session Materials

(CU NetID required to access. Links redirect to login page.)
CTI Technology Ideas for Large Lecture Classes pdf
CTI Managing Student Use of Technology pdf


Davis, B.G. (2009). Tools for teaching (2nd ed). San Francisco, CA: Jossey Bass

Efaw, J., Hamilton, S, Martinez, & Smith, S. (2004). Miracle or menace: teaching and learning with laptop computers in the classroom. Educause Quarterly (3), 10-18.

Fang, B. (2009). From distraction to engagement: Wireless devices in the classroom. Educause Review Online. Retrieved from:

Heppner, F. (2007). Teaching large college classes: A guidebook for instructors with multitudes. San Francisco, CA: Jossey Bass

McKeachie, W.J. & Svinicki, M. (2011). McKeachie’s teaching tips: Strategies, research, and theory for college and university teachers (13th ed). Wadsworth Publishing.
  Cornell University