Large Lectures Should Stay Online for Good, Says Top College Group

Posted in Teaching on November 26th, 2020 by steve

Ireland“Trinity students could have all large lectures held online permanently in the future, after a recommendation that lecture theatres with a capacity of over 100 be repurposed for ‘collaborative learning’ …” (more)

[Emer Moreau, University Times, 26 November]

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Standing Up for Online Lectures

Posted in Teaching on November 3rd, 2020 by steve

Ireland“I have a break of an hour between my last lecture on Vector Calculus (during which I introduced and did some applications of Green’s Theorem) and my next one on Mechanics & Special Relativity (during which I’m doing projectile motion), so I thought I’d share a couple of thoughts about online teaching …” (more)

[In the Dark, 3 November]

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Lecture Streaming

Posted in Teaching on October 7th, 2020 by steve

Ireland“When we were told, at the start of this term, to move all our teaching online my initial intention was to record most of the lectures in my office for the students to watch at their leisure rather than streaming them live …” (more)

[In the Dark, 7 October]

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Students will be asked to record seat numbers for college lectures

Posted in Governance and administration, Teaching on September 29th, 2020 by steve

Ireland“College students attending face-to-face lectures will be asked to record their seat numbers, under public health protocols agreed for the return to campus. It is among the measures to be introduced to assist with contact tracing in the event of a Covid case emerging among a college community …” (more)

[Katherine Donnelly, Independent, 29 September]

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Asynchronous and Public Lectures

Posted in Teaching on September 11th, 2020 by steve

Ireland“This morning I came across a very interesting blogpost by Philip Moriarty which is mainly about teaching quantum mechanics but also includes some discussion of his ideas of how he plans to conduct teaching for the forthcoming semester at the University of Nottingham …” (more)

[In the Dark, 11 September]

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‘The quality of our third-level education will be maintained and, in some cases, enhanced’ via @gregfoley2002

Posted in Teaching on September 11th, 2020 by steve

Ireland“The always insightful DCU Lecturer Greg Foley get my 100% agreement with his letter ‘Lecture Notes’ in The Irish Times yesterday. In his letter, he points out that while students will be ‘missing out by having so little on-campus time’, that the there are ‘advantages of techniques like screencasting’, and that the quality of education will be ‘enhanced’. Let’s all hope that this is true! …” (more)

[Careful With That Axe, Eugene, 10 September]


Going online and the student experience

Posted in Teaching on September 9th, 2020 by steve

Ireland“I’ve a letter today in the Irish Times today about the move to online learning in the coming academic year and I’m just going to expand on it in this blog. Much of the negativity surrounding the move to online teaching has been driven, it seems to me, by commentators championing the rite-of-passage aspect of higher education …” (more)

[Tales from Academia, 9 September]

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Lecture notes

Posted in Teaching on September 9th, 2020 by steve

Ireland“Sir, – While I completely understand that third-level students have a sense that they will be missing out by having so little on-campus time this semester, it really needs to be pointed out that the quality of their education can and will be maintained …” (more)

[Greg Foley, Irish Times, 9 September]

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Littlewood on ‘the real point’ of lectures

Posted in Teaching on September 3rd, 2020 by steve

Ireland“We’re often challenged these days to defend the educational value of the lecture as opposed to other forms of delivery, especially with the restrictions on large lectures imposed by Covid-19. But this is not a new debate. The mathematician JE Littlewood felt necessary to defend the lecture as a medium of instruction …” (more)

[In the Dark, 3 September]


Huge study: Do universities really teach critical thinking? Apparently not

Posted in Teaching on September 1st, 2020 by steve

“Do universities really teach critical thinking? This huge CLA longitudinal study on 2,322 students for four years from 2005 to 2009 across broad range of 24 US colleges and universities, suggests not …” (more)

[Donald Clark Plan B, 1 September]


Here’s to 2020/2021

Posted in Teaching on August 24th, 2020 by steve

Ireland“Today is the start of the new academic year for me. I’ve only two resit scripts to mark so the academic year 2019/2020 is essentially over – at last. So planning for next academic year begins now …” (more)

[Tales from Academia, 24 August]

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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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