With 16,218 students attending the University of Rhode Island, it would be impossible to fit all of the students in one building never mind a classroom. So many of the lecture halls are big auditoriums because they need to have big lectures in order for all the students to be able to take the classes they need to. Some lecture halls are small depending on how many professors you have in a certain department. Having a mix of both is the perfect balance because small lectures aren’t always the best.

Pro: More Personal Experience

Small lecture classrooms at URI are full of 20-30 students. It is easier to have the chance of getting closer with your classmates because you are in a smaller space. Being able to see the same familiar faces ever class can be refreshing and maybe can make you feel more comfortable when participating. Also you have a great opportunity to get closer with your professors which is always a good thing. Having that personal relationship with your professor is very important at URI because a lot of professors will do research that you could participate in to get a better idea about your field. Eventually if you want to go to grad school or get a job, having a connection with a professor means they will write you a very personal letter of  recommendation which will benefit you in the long run.

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Con: Hard To Go Unnoticed

Say your alarm doesn’t go off and you miss your 8 am class. Attendance is taken in all small lectures at URI and it may look like you were skipping when really you just didn’t wake up in time. It is hard to go unnoticed in a class full of 20-30 students because everyone knows each other. The professor also knows your face and who you are, so looking like your skipping class to a professor is not a good reputation to have. Another reason is many professors at URI who teach a small lecture have their attendance contribute to your grade. If you don’t go to class, you won’t get as well of a grade as if you did. But having attendance be a part of your grade, makes you feel you are obligated to go to class because you want the “A” not because you want to learn.

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Pro: Teacher Has More Control

Big lectures can be distracting to students who like to memorize information and be able to express what they’ve learned in front of others. Professors here usually give as much information as they can in class but it may require more outside learning than just being engaged in the classroom. For small lectures the teacher has more control over the students and can provide more helpful tools in the classroom so students don’t have to do as much work outside of it.

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Con: Easy To Be Called Out

In smaller lectures at URI participation is another big part of your grade. You are more likely to be called on in a smaller lecture than a bigger lecture and for some people that can be very nerve racking. Some students are very shy and quiet and like to learn on their own rather than with others. In a smaller lectures their is more group work and participation and that can be a difficult thing for some students.

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There are difficulties and benefits to the different types of lectures that you could attend at URI. It’s your responsibility to choose the classes that will work best for you and adapt to the ones that may not.


Sarah Robitaille

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