Faculty conversations: Fayyaz Hussain
Fayyaz Hussain teaches two very large classes at Michigan State University.
As an assistant professor with the Center for Integrative Studies in Social Science, he teaches Social Inequality with about 500 students and Global Diversity and Interdependence with 240 students - meaning that he teaches more than 700 students a semester and over 2,000 students every year.
"It's a huge number of students, but I enjoy it," said Hussain.
Though his position involves full-time teaching, Hussain also works on projects regarding learning in university classrooms and what is called teaching innovation programs. Three years ago, after losing teaching assistants due to budget cuts, Hussain and a colleague recruited students to volunteer as Undergraduate Learning Assistants. The goal was to explore the impact of undergraduates helping other undergraduates. The second year of the project, these large classes experimented with using iClickers for in class involvement, and the third year they explored using both ULAs and the iClickers.
Based on the findings of the project, Hussain gave a presentation at the Lily Conference in Traverse City in 2009. According to Hussain, the difference was not significant, but there was an increase in response, attendance and learning in the classrooms with the innovation.
"I love it, I enjoy these large classes," said Hussain. "A lot of people don't like large classes but students love it and I enjoy it."