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 ]


Shouldn’t lectures be obsolete by now?

Posted in Teaching on November 24th, 2016 by steve

UK“Lectures remain by far the most common form of teaching in universities – right down to the way academics are called ‘lecturers’. But many predicted that digital technology would have killed off the lecture by now …” (more)

[Matt Pickles, BBC News, 23 November]

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Unconscious bias in education

Posted in Teaching on September 26th, 2016 by steve

Ireland“No, this is not about gender; it’s about something else entirely. It’s lunchtime and after two lectures in a row, I’m tired. I don’t always lecture in the conventional sense. Very often my ‘lectures’ are problem-solving sessions in which the students do the work and I float around helping them out …” (more)

[educationandstuff, 26 September]


Do Your Students Take Good Notes?

Posted in Teaching on September 24th, 2016 by steve

USA“Whether – and how – students take notes in class is an evergreen topic in discussions of teaching and learning. Unfortunately, I often find myself frustrated and annoyed when I’m explaining something in class and look out at a room full of students who are, admittedly, paying attention to what I’m saying but writing down not a single thing in their notes …” (more)

[George Williams, Chronicle of Higher Education, 23 September]


Facebook in the Classroom?

Posted in Teaching on August 17th, 2016 by steve

Ireland“I don’t need a mirror at the back of my classroom to know that some students are checking Facebook (and other stuff) during class. I’m not a mind reader either, nor can I see the reflection of the Facebook screen in students’ eyes. So – while I have no proof that they are on Facebook, I just know that they are …” (more)

[Careful With That Axe, Eugene, 17 August]

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Disintegration of Traditional College Lecture Negatively Affects Students

Posted in Teaching on July 15th, 2016 by steve

USA“As a doctoral candidate interviewing at a liberal-arts college some years ago, I rambled, waded through pages of notes, and completely lost my train of thought at one point during my job presentation …” (more)

[Christine Gross-Loh, The Atlantic, 14 July]


The lecture is being lost as students stay away

Posted in Teaching on May 3rd, 2016 by steve

Ireland“Empty seats are appearing in third-level classrooms across this country and farther afield. These same classrooms last September were bursting to capacity, full of the sounds of our best and brightest starting a new academic year. Now, at year’s end, anecdotal evidence suggests that one in every two students is not attending lectures …” (more)

[Paul Donovan, Irish Times, 3 May]


Students relying on online notes ‘just kidding themselves’

Posted in Teaching on February 12th, 2016 by steve

Ireland“At the Joint Oireachtas Committee on Education and Social Protection recently, Irish students’ over-dependency on online notes was criticised by Dr Greg Foley, an associate dean for teaching and learning at Dublin City University …” (more)

[Marie Coady, Irish Times, 11 February]

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Students, attendance and online notes

Posted in Teaching on February 1st, 2016 by steve

Ireland“Sir, – We note with interest the debate in recent days regarding students’ experiences of third-level teaching and learning (‘Students have unrealistic expectations, academic says’, January 21st). Since 2008, we have collaborated with colleagues in a multi-institutional research project across Ireland examining students’ use of online learning systems at third level …” (more)

[Eamon Costello, Irish Times, 1 February]

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Attendance Rates for Third-level Lectures are Falling Due to Online Notes

Posted in Teaching on January 25th, 2016 by steve

Ireland“Students have unrealistic expectations, says Dr Greg Foley in last Thursday’s Irish Times, on ‘the level of work required to perform well in college’. He points to the amount of course notes that lecturer’s are making available online and the ‘growing dependency culture in which students rely on material posted on the internet by their lecturers’ …” (more)

[Careful With That Axe, Eugene, 25 January]

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The Most Precious Learning Assets

Posted in Teaching on January 22nd, 2016 by steve

Ireland“As I prepare for another academic semester, I’m putting my focus on two key items consistently cited by my third level students as having the greatest value: my lecture notes and my past exam papers. Because once students have those learning materials in hand, they believe they have achieved a clearer focus …” (more)

[Bernie Goldbach, Inside View from Ireland, 21 January]

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Students have unrealistic expectations, academic says

Posted in Teaching on January 21st, 2016 by steve

Ireland“Attendance rates for lectures at third-level are falling as students increasingly opt to rely on notes posted online by their lecturers, an Oireachtas committee has heard. Dr Greg Foley, an associate dean for teaching and learning at Dublin City University, said students today seem to have unrealistic expectations on the level of work required to perform well in college …” (more)

[Carl O’Brien, Irish Times, 21 January]

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Are traditional lectures better than watching a video?

Posted in Teaching on January 19th, 2016 by steve

Ireland“Dr Stefan Rennick-Egglestone of the University of Nottingham, writing in the Times Higher Education website last September gives his opinion on ‘This is why traditional lectures are better than watching a video’. While he sees some value in recording lectures, he refers to these videos as ‘souvenirs of a module’ …” (more)

[Careful With That Axe, Eugene, 19 January]

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Is all this talk of how we lecture just academic?

Posted in Teaching on November 23rd, 2015 by steve

Ireland“It’s getting harder to remember what my final years as an undergrad were like, but I can just about remember this. We had lectures in blocks, usually of 5, which ran in a series, one after the other …” (more)

[Michael Seery, Is this going to be on the exam?, 22 November]


Why I love the lecture (at academic conferences)

Posted in Research on November 11th, 2015 by steve

Ireland“There is a narrative that goes like this: most educators promote active learning. Educators present at conferences. Therefore they should use active learning approaches at conference talks. Practice what they preach, and all that. I disagree. I love a good lecture …” (more)

[Is this going to be on the exam?, 11 November]

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Lecture Me. Really.

Posted in Teaching on October 19th, 2015 by steve

USA“Before the semester began earlier this fall, I went to check out the classroom where I would be teaching an introductory American history course. Like most classrooms at my university, this one featured lots of helpful gadgets: a computer console linked to an audiovisual system, a projector screen that deploys at the touch of a button and USB ports galore …” (more)

[Molly Worthen, New York Times, 17 October]


This is why traditional lectures are better than watching a video

Posted in Teaching on September 27th, 2015 by steve

UK“As a relatively new lecturer, I’ve been intrigued by the range of professional voices advocating the replacement of traditional lectures with recorded video. Some universities, such as the University of East Anglia and the University of Adelaide, have even announced that much of their teaching will move online, to free up more staff time for tutorials and seminars …” (more)

[Stefan Rennick-Egglestone, Times Higher Education, 24 September]

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