Reconnecting teachers and students: Exploring educator experiences in large online cohorts


  • Kay Hammond Auckland University of Technology
  • Stephen Brown Auckland University of Technology
  • Lyn Murphy Auckland University of Technology



large cohort, learning management system, social needs, staff experience, strategies


Increasing class sizes in higher education make it difficult to maintain quality. Teaching large cohorts within the context of restrained resources and the limitations of Learning Management Systems impacts the experiences of educators. Research is now examining how educators make sense of this experience to guide stakeholders toward practical directions for future pedagogical and social practices. A review of previous research noted three groups of challenges faced by online teaching: (1) technological, (2) pedagogical, and (3) social. Our study explores the experiences of educators teaching large cohort (500 to 2300 students) undergraduate courses online. This concise paper presents the findings from the social aspects of the challenge. Our qualitative approach explores the experiences of educators at our school who teach large cohorts online. We suggest recommendations to address the social needs of students and educators involved with large cohorts online.