At Virginia Tech, students in most introductory math courses work through problems individually at one of 500 computer workstations in a giant room that is open 24 hours a day. And at hundreds of colleges nationwide, professors use personal response systems technology, or “clickers,” to gauge whether students understand important concepts before moving on.

These are just some of the ways colleges and universities are striving to transform large lectures into more personal experiences for students—and technology is playing a key role in such reforms.

It's one of the fundamental challenges for colleges in the 21st century, experts say: how to make...

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