New Student Group Seeks Mandatory Accessibility Classes for Lecturers

Posted in Teaching on June 12th, 2020 by steve

Ireland“Trinity students, alongside the Disability Service, have launched a new co-operative with the aim of introducing mandatory accessibility classes for lecturers and promoting awareness of students with disabilities on campus …” (more)

[Cormac Watson, University Times, 11 June]

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The Lecture is Dead, Long Live the Lecture

Posted in Teaching on June 4th, 2020 by steve

Ireland“I listened with interest on RTÉ radio’s Drivetime programme to Professor Patrick Prendergast, Provost of Trinity College, discussing the re-opening of Trinity for the next academic year. He is a sensible Wexford man who tells it as he sees it, and points out that the inevitable loss of revenue, due mostly to an expected huge drop in foreign students, will affect not only Trinity, but the entire third level sector …” (more)

[Careful With That Axe, Eugene, 4 June]


Two-Metre Rule Could Mean Only 20% of Students on Campus for Lectures

Posted in Teaching on May 28th, 2020 by steve

Ireland“Ireland’s current two-metre social distancing protocols could mean Trinity is able to accommodate just 20% of students for lectures on campus when it re-opens, The University Times has learned …” (more)

[Donal MacNamee, University Times, 28 May]

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College is Considering Holding Large Lectures Online Until January

Posted in Teaching on April 24th, 2020 by steve

“Trinity is considering moving large lectures online for the first semester of next year, The University Times has learned, with the return of some face-to-face teaching potentially pushed back until as late as January 2021. College is currently examining a range of options for next year amid widespread uncertainty …” (more)

[Donal MacNamee, University Times, 24 April]

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Teaching by Walking Around

Posted in Teaching on April 20th, 2020 by steve

Ireland“I’m a lecturer but I wish I was called something else. I could use the term ‘academic’ but that seems like a word you use only within the academic environment, and, these days, the word ‘academic’ tends to be view as synonymous with ‘useless’ or ‘pointless’. The thing is, the job of a lecturer involves a lot more than lecturing …” (more)

[Tales from Academia, 20 April]


DCU continues to use Zoom amid security concerns

Posted in Teaching on April 15th, 2020 by steve

“DCU will continue to use Zoom for online lectures despite ongoing security issues with the free version of the service. Despite being aware of ongoing security issues DCU will continue to use zoom services for online lectures, with a spokesperson for the university saying they’re satisfied all its ‘IT systems have appropriate cybersecurity protection in place’ due to them using a licensed version of the remote conferencing service …” (more)

[Jonathon Lynam, The College View, 15 April]

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Thoughts on lectures and lecturing

Posted in Teaching on April 8th, 2020 by steve

“Those of us who have been lucky enough to pursue higher education will have had experiences of lecturers who were just so dire that being in class was almost like living through a real-life Monty Python sketch. When I studied chemical engineering in UCD in the 1980s, we had one lecturer who just told anecdotes about his career in the metallurgical business, while leaning back in his chair, legs crossed, staring at the ceiling …” (more)

[Tales from Academia, 8 April]


Coronavirus (9) – September and Big Classes

Posted in Teaching on March 31st, 2020 by steve

“(Yes, I know, I said I would try to stay off Coronavirus topics. But it’s bloody hard to talk about anything else, isn’t it?) One of the least attractive features of the modern university is the mega-classroom: the huge, 300-1000 student classes that dominate first-year courses. These courses, point-blank, are terrible. I mean, I know, fields of study all have entry points and there are some basics about each one that students need to master before moving on to other courses …” (more)

[Alex Usher, HESA, 31 March]

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Lecture recordings mean fewer students are turning up – does it matter?

Posted in Teaching on February 24th, 2020 by steve

“In 2017, a business lecturer posted a photo on LinkedIn showing a completely empty university classroom, 15 minutes after the class had been scheduled to start. This is not an isolated incident. Anecdotally, lecture and tutorial attendance has been declining steadily in Australian universities and faculties for many years …” (more)

[Natalie Skead and other, The Conversation, 23 February]

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Don’t lecture me!

Posted in Teaching on November 3rd, 2019 by steve

“Lectures are an hour long (some astoundingly 2/3 hours) because the Sumerians had a base-60 number system. It is for the convenience of timetabling, not the psychology of attention and retention …” (more)

[Donald Clark Plan B, 3 November]


Is the lecture dead?

Posted in Teaching on October 16th, 2019 by steve

“Once ubiquitous, the lecture-based model of disseminating information and instruction is evolving rapidly. But we may still be too early in these evolutions and the research projects into their outcomes, to fully write off the lecture, although many – including vice chancellors – are already advocating this …” (more)

[Duncan Peberdy, Wonkhe, 15 October]


Can the Lecture Be Saved?

Posted in Teaching on October 4th, 2019 by steve

“Do you feel guilty when you lecture? Perhaps you’re afraid that you’re shortchanging students. That, instead, you should be flipping your classroom and getting ‘active’ through group exercises. But really, aren’t there times when you just want to tell your students what they need to know? Fear no more …” (more)

[Beth McMurtrie, Chronicle of Higher Education, 3 October]


More than half of students skip class to work so they can pay for rising rents

Posted in Life on August 19th, 2019 by steve

Ireland“More than 50% of students reported skipping lectures to work, as they struggle to pay soaring rents. Some 15% of students said they would cut down on food to afford living costs and 11% admitted avoiding medical check-ups to deal with the financial burden. The number of students missing lectures to earn money rose by 33 percentage points compared to the 22% figure in 2017, according to the Irish League of Credit Unions survey …” (more)

[Laura Lynott, Independent, 19 August]

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The Case for Abolishing 9am Lectures

Posted in Life, Teaching on May 23rd, 2019 by steve

Ireland“Early-morning lectures are surely the bane of most students’ existence. Whether it’s essay deadlines, an active social life or simply spending a night waxing lyrical about a topic you don’t know much about with your flatmates, it seems that most students are in a perpetual state of being tired …” (more)

[Aoife Kearins, University Times, 21 May]

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Should students be (financially) compensated for strike action by lecturers?

Posted in Fees, access and admissions, Teaching on May 22nd, 2019 by steve

Ireland“Regular readers of this blog will know that last year I was still employed part of the time at Cardiff University and during that period I was participating in strike action called by the Universities and Colleges Union (UCU) over pensions. As a result of that action students on my module on Physics of the Early Universe missed quite a lot of lectures (and I was docked a large fraction of my pay) …” (more)

[In the Dark, 22 May]

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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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