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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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]