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According to a recent study by the National Center for Educational Statistics, around 83% of college and university faculty rely on the lecture as their primary instructional method. Lectures have obvious advantages: they allow for a broad transmission of factual knowledge to a large number of people and they allow instructors to customize and organize the class material in the way they best see fit.
As Nira Hativa suggests, an effective lecture does more than communicate information: "[i]t arouses interest and motivation; promotes concentration and attention; identifies and marks the most important information; and enables effective cognitive processing, storing, and information retrieval" (76).
Charles W. Eliot, former President of Harvard, put it differently: "The lecturer pumps laboriously into sieves. The water may be wholesome, but it runs through. A mind must work to grow" (cited in Bok, 123).
The links and resources below offer strategies for making minds work during a lecture.
Strategies and Resources
- Students will be more engaged in the lecture if they have read the relevant material. Find out how to motivate students to do the reading.
- University of California, Berkeley provides specific strategies for delivering a lecture.
- Stanford's Center for Teaching and Learning explores tactics for creating memorable lectures .
- The IDEA Center at Kansas State University offers information on how to stimulate students' interest in the subject.
Making lectures interactive
- "Clickers" promote active learning by enabling every student to participate in a discussion, even in a large class.
- Harvard University's Derek Bok Center for Teaching and Learning offers twenty ways to make lectures more participatory.
- Carleton College provides activities for interactive lectures.
- UW-Madison provides information on and examples of ConcepTests, which have been shown to enhance the comprehension of introductory concepts and are useful tools for making lectures interactive.
DePaul Faculty Publications on Lectures
Rotenberg, R. (2005). "The lecture classroom." Chapter in The art and craft of college teaching: A guide for new professors and graduate students. Walnut Creek, CA.
Bligh, D.A. (2000). What's the use of lectures? San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.
Bok, D. (2006). Our underachieving colleges: A candid look at how much students learn and why they should be learning more. Princeton, N.J.: Princeton University Press.
Hativa, N. (2000). "Lecturing and Explaining." Chapter in Teaching for effective learning in higher education. Dordrecht, The Netherlands: Kluwer Academic Publishers.