Interactive lectures

What: About using student response systems in your lectures to set small challenges and check understanding.

Why: If you use lectures to teach content to large groups you may find yourself talking at students for long stretches. You might wish you could do more to engage students in discussion – but that can be a challenge for lecturers with large groups. Using response systems you can check student engagement and understanding. You can set simple questions for quick student feedback or set mini problems for small group discussion.

SpeechBullblesIcon_Red-300x277Peer Conversation activity

With a colleague grab a coffee, a pencil and paper. Compare and list the different ways you involve your students prior to a lecture, during the lecture and after the lecture when discussing the topic.

  • Can this interactivity be enhanced by introducing quick Q&As in your lecture?
  • Can clickers or smart tools like Socrative help you do this?

Meet the innovators: Listen to the recording – in June 2014 we talked about our practice and raised some questions about interactive lectures in a CPD ‘drop in’ session. That same week at the Learning and Teaching Conference colleagues presented Enhancing student engagement using a classroom response system (CRS) to develop and share practice.


Socrative case study from Sheffield Business School

socrative-iconSocrative is a smart student response system that allows students to respond to questions on their smartphones and tablets. The tag line on the Socrative website is ‘Engage the class’. Michelle Blackburn, a senior lecturer in SBS, agrees that a benefit of the technology is student engagement:

“I had emails afterwards that said, ‘Thanks’. ‘Can we get all the lecturers to use it?’ ‘It was really good.’ ‘Time flew.’”

Other benefits include:

  • The lecturer gets immediate information back from students, so students can co-create the learning experience.
  • A lecturer can check understanding and knowledge, and then focus on areas of weakness.
  • Student responses can be saved to spreadsheets, which make useful research and feedback data.
  • Allows more introverted students to contribute in group settings.
  • Narrative replies are possible – something which isn’t recommended with Turning Point technology.

Find out more on the Sheffield Business School TEL site

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