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With the College topping the charts in course-size enrollment again this year, professors of large classes are finding new ways to engage students.

According to the Office of the University Registrar, the top enrolled courses this semester are Psychology 001, Introduction to Experimental Psychology, and Economics 001, Introduction to Microeconomics.

Apart from Marketing 101, Introduction to Marketing, in Wharton, all courses on this semester’s top 10 enrollment list are in the College.

While College Dean Dennis DeTurck noted that this list is fairly typical for Penn, some of the highest enrolled courses have made distinctive changes to their overall nature this year.

For example, Mathematics 104 and Psychology 001 increased the use of technology this semester.

In Mathematics 104, professors have begun using videos and podcasts to make lectures more accessible to students outside of class, said DeTurck, who teaches the course. Professors have also begun using systems like LectureTools — an online resource that allows students to answer and ask questions from a free account or from their phones, as opposed to clickers, he added.

“It’s a technological moment when these courses can change a lot,” DeTurck said. “These technologies are changing the nature of big lecture courses and this change can be good and bad — changing from the ground up.”

DeTurck added that highly enrolled courses like Mathematics 104 are “the Brussels sprouts of the curriculum. It’s something you have to do to learn the basics. Professors think about these courses all the time because so many students are taking them and we are always trying to make them better and more interesting.”

In Psychology 001, professors have increased the use of clickers to track student attendance and performance.

For Psychology 001 professor Paul Rozin, these technological additions have changed courses both for better and for worse.

“Technology has two sides,” said Rozin, who experimented with online exams for the first time ever last semester. “It allows for personalization and the efficient delivery of course material, but also has increased cheating, as with the online exams, and makes people have higher expectations of how entertaining and constantly engaging lectures with technology should be.”

Another top-enrolled course, Economics 001, has also made several additions to accommodate new practices among students.

Last semester, Economics 001 professor Rebecca Stein implemented a new program called “GREAT” — Groups for Economic Applied Thinking — which took place outside of lecture and allowed for students to solve problems with upper-class mentors that allowed them to make real-world applications.

While Stein said she felt that students were pleased with the new program, some who took the course last semester, like College freshman Nick Hailey, felt the program lacked in certain aspects.

Sometimes, Hailey said, the upperclassman mentors would not know the answers to the problems they were trying to solve, and he would leave the group with “unanswered questions, especially because I could not contact the professor, due to the size of the class and the number of students trying to ask her questions.”

Overall, Hailey feels that such popular, introductory-level courses are improving, but still have much room for improvement.

“Teachers are getting better at teaching a class with time,” Hailey said. “They are learning what works and learning from experience what changes to make and what to keep.”

Though courses like Economics 001 and Psychology 001 are typically taken by underclassmen to fill requirements or gauge interest in a particular field, some upperclassmen have expressed similar opinions.

“These courses give you cocktail-party knowledge,” College junior Robert Gard said. “The whole point of requirements is to expand interests, to provide a chance for freshmen and sophomores to explore what they may be interested in and find things they were never interested in before. These courses are fair, but can always make the subject matter more interesting and relevant.”

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