Ahead of Teaching

Posted in Teaching on February 3rd, 2019 by steve

Ireland“It’s 3rd February 2019, which means that today is two days after Imbolc, a Gaelic festival marking the point halfway between the winter solstice and vernal equinox. This either happens 1st or 2nd February, and this year it was former, i.e. last Friday. In Ireland this day is sometimes regarded as the first day of spring …” (more)

[In the Dark, 3 February]

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Alternatives to Lectures?

Posted in Teaching on December 3rd, 2018 by steve

Ireland“It’s probably fair to say that the act of lecturing has been around for hundreds if not thousands of years. The purpose of a lecture was to chart a course through a subject for students, transmitting key points of knowledge, explaining difficult concepts, getting students to question, schooling them in the ways of experts in the discipline in question. For lectures to be effective students had to listen hard and they had to take notes …” (more)

[An Irish Blog about Education, 3 December]


Are lectures dying out?

Posted in Teaching on November 29th, 2018 by steve

Ireland“There’s a small lecture theatre beside my office that holds about 40 students. I regularly pass it and peep in to see what’s going on. Originally I did it out of nosiness but these days I’m interested in attendance rates. Most of the time when I look in there is a handful of students looking bored or knackered, with quite a few looking at their phones. In fairness, the lectures seem a bit dull and often involve a scientist or mathematician writing on the blackboard with his/her back to the students …” (more)

[An Irish Blog about Education, 29 November]


Lectures and Lava Lamps

Posted in Teaching on November 7th, 2018 by steve

Ireland“Teaching at Maynooth University has resumed after the Study Break, and yesterday I gave my first lecture on Astrophysics & Cosmology after a gap of a week. I still haven’t got onto the Cosmology bit yet, but am most of the way through a set of half-a-dozen lectures or so on stellar structure and evolution …” (more)

[In The Dark, 7 November]


Some Advice for On-line Educators Part II – ‘Don’t Lecture’! via @MFPaulsen

Posted in Teaching on September 28th, 2018 by steve

Ireland“Following up from my post earlier this week where I mentioned some advice given in a 2003 book by Professor Morten Flate Paulsen, comes some further pedagogical recommendations from Prof Paulsen. These are based on surveys he conducted in Scandinavian countries in the late 1990s and early 2000s – still relevant today I think …” (more)

[Careful With That Axe, Eugene, 28 September]

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The Importance of Taking Notes

Posted in Teaching on September 24th, 2018 by steve

Ireland“Well, term has officially started and the campus of Maynooth University is looking very busy. Taking a short break from the task of preparing notes and problem sets for the modules I’m teaching this term. I’ve just remembered an old post I did some time ago about lecture notes. I won’t repeat the entire content of my earlier discussion, but one of the main points …” (more)

[In the Dark, 24 September]

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Lecture capture – don’t fight it, feel it

Posted in Teaching on September 21st, 2018 by steve

“Lecture capture would be a strange choice of hill for me to die on since I work at a university that doesn’t do lectures, and have no experience of it. But Sheila MacNeill started a twitter conversation about it, and I think it captures some broader ed tech issues, so here I am, weighing in with my ill-formed opinions …” (more)

[The Ed Techie, 21 September]

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Does It Matter Where Students Sit in Lecture Halls?

Posted in Teaching on August 22nd, 2018 by steve

Lectures are a staple of higher education, and understanding how students interact and learn within the lecture theatre environment is central to successful learning. In a new study published in FEBS Open Bio, researchers examined students’ reasons for choosing particular seats in a lecture hall, and investigated how seating positions correlate with student performance …” (more)

[AlphaGalileo, 22 August]


Smartphones in the classroom?

Posted in Teaching on April 6th, 2018 by steve

“Everyone in my generation managed to get thorough primary, secondary, and third-level education without the use of a smartphone, or a mobile phone of any type. Indeed I had a giggle to myself when at a 40-year school reunion last December I learned after the Reunion Mass that some of the guys at the back were looking up the football results on their phones. Would I have done the same if I had a smartphone 40 years ago? Totally! …” (more)

[Careful With That Axe, Eugene, 6 April]

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Let’s Have More Engagement From Lecturers

Posted in Teaching on December 30th, 2017 by steve

Ireland“I recently met with one of my lecturers to discuss prospective essay titles for an upcoming assignment. Full disclosure: it was probably one of the most anxiety-inducing events of my month thus far (and I have the dubious pleasure of working in a bar during Twelve Pubs December) …” (more)

[Alanna MacNamee, University Times, 29 December]

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Students Want More Engagement With Lecturers, Says New Report

Posted in Teaching on December 5th, 2017 by steve

Ireland“A new national survey indicates that students are not satisfied with the amount of student-staff interaction they receive, with just over half of students surveyed saying they’ve never spoken to a member of staff about potential career paths …” (more)

[Ciaran Molloy, University Times, 4 December]

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Screen them out?

Posted in Teaching on November 28th, 2017 by steve

Ireland“One morning in 1986 I walked into a classroom in Trinity College Dublin to deliver one of my scintillating lectures. Just as I was about to start, the lecture theatre door opened and a student walked in carrying – no, I’ll say lugging – what turned out to be a so-called a ‘portable computer’ …” (more)

[Ferdinand von Prondzynski, Universty Blog, 28 November]

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Note this, Students

Posted in Teaching on September 26th, 2017 by steve

Ireland“I read with interest the post by the ever-excellent Eugene O’Loughlin on student note taking. He notes, pun intended, a reluctance and resistance from students to taking notes, relying instead on the handed out powerpoints he creates. I agree, this is a common experience …” (more)

[Brian M Lucey, 26 September]


 Students Don’t Take Notes Anymore?

Posted in Teaching on September 26th, 2017 by steve

Ireland“While taking my usual perusal through the very funny Waterford Whispers News this morning I had a giggle at one of their latest posts: Fucking Loser In Front Of You Actually Taking Notes During Lecture. In this post a student who doesn’t take notes thinks others who do are ‘losers’ while scribbling rude drawings and checking out Snapchat and Netflix. Funny – maybe, but real? …” (more)

[Careful With That Axe, Eugene, 26 September]


Stop Using PowerPoint, Harvard University Says It’s Damaging Your Brand And Your Company

Posted in Teaching on July 6th, 2017 by steve

“PowerPoint, the much maligned and misused presentation platform, is harming people’s perception of you and your brand, according to new research from Harvard University. The research team at Harvard conducted a double-blind study …” (more)

[Paul Armstrong, Forbes, 5 July]

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Dialogue in lectures

Posted in Teaching on April 26th, 2017 by steve

“This is not a post on whether the lecture is A Good Thing or not. Lectures happen. PERIOD! A paper by Anna Wood and colleagues at the Edinburgh PER group, along with a subsequent talk by Anna at Moray House has gotten me thinking a lot over the last year about dialogue and its place in all of our interactions with students …” (more)

[Michael Seery, Is this going to be on the exam?, 26 April]


In Defense of the Lecture

Posted in Teaching on February 27th, 2017 by steve

“Few have savaged lecturers as brutally as the Enlightenment-era printmaker William Hogarth. In Scholars at a Lecture, the presenter reads from his prepared text, his eyes down, indifferent to his audience. The budding academics are no more impressive; those in thrall to the lecturer’s nonsense have slack faces with lolling eyes and open mouths. The others don’t offer any critique but yawn, doze, or chat idly among themselves …” (more)

[Miya Tokumitsu, Jacobin, 26 February]


Hey student! Turn those lecture notes into cash!

Posted in Legal issues, Teaching on February 7th, 2017 by steve

“I wrote here recently about the companies exploiting students and profiteering from helping them cheat. In similar vein there seems to have been a significant growth in websites which enable students to sell lecture notes to their fellow students …” (more)

[Paul Greatrix, Registrarism, 7 February]

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I banned PowerPoint – and I’m a better teacher for it

Posted in Teaching on January 31st, 2017 by steve

Ireland“I banned PowerPoint in my undergraduate classes. No longer do I enter my classrooms and crank up the giant projection system to show my slides. Not any more do my students look up to see those bullet lists and standard templates on the screen …” (more)

[Paul Donovan, Irish Times, 31 January]

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… or not to lecture

Posted in Teaching on November 30th, 2016 by steve

UK“In my previous post I wrote that even though research shows lectures to be less than effective in helping students to learn, they still persist in higher education. I also promised to blog about some of the alternatives when it comes to teaching very large groups, and here it is. The key question is: What can replace the lecture? …” (more)

[Learning with ‘e’s, 30 November ]