Active Lectures

See also ‘Large Group Teaching guidance in Academic Practice

The idea of active lectures challenges a content-centred view of lecturing in which teaching can amount to a one-to-many distribution of knowledge. The use of active lectures accommodates the need to develop learner motivation and recognise the value of a many-to-many learning context. Active lecture strategies develop students’:

  • subject knowledge;
  • learning capabilities;
  • sense of belonging;
  • readiness to interact as participants accepting responsibility for their own learning.

What: This Active Lectures Lens provides a structured set of ideas to inspire more interactivity in lectures and is intended to facilitate discussions between academic peers when reflecting on their teaching (print the cards double-sided and cut into separate cards).

Using student response systems

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

Co-production: students producing and presenting content

What: Students are given responsibility for researching a topic, developing a resource on this, and reporting back on it for the benefit of their peers as part of the lecture.

Flipped classroom

What: A flipped classroom turns the traditional approach to learning through a lecture on its head. Students are actively engaged in reading, watching videos or listening to podcasts about their topic before their ‘lecture’. Instead of presenting content in the lecture theatre, the lecturer’s role is to support students to delve into, debate and reflect on the content they have already looked at, making good use of the time they have together. This can challenge able students further and be supportive to those students who are struggling. Knowledge encountered outside the classroom is assimilated by applying knowledge to problems, critical thinking and through support inside the classroom.

Using Twitter to promote engagement in your classroom

What: If you have not experienced Twitter before it may seem like a trivial technology that should be kept out of the classroom. However, this social networking technology is ideal for many-to-many or many-to-one interactivity. Three ideas are presented here that show how it is being used to engage students individually and collectively.

Delivering lectures online

What: Online lecture software, such as Blackboard Collaborate, allows interactive lectures to be delivered online, with some or all students able to attend remotely.