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new lecturer needs advice

(24 Posts)
Madelinehatter Tue 09-Feb-16 16:17:06

Hi have only been lecturing for 6 months. I feel I need to make my lectures a bit more interactive. I get the group to discuss certain points and ask for feedback. I have up to 50 students so invariably the same ones feed back and the same ones hide at the back. I have at times given them a topic to present which has worked but need more ideas.

I sometimes actually ask a particular person to answer a question but don't know all the names so this is tricky.

Anyone got any creative ideas?

iwantavuvezela Tue 09-Feb-16 16:20:20

You could do what a fearsome lecturer of mine used to do, put all our names on a dartboard, throw a dart and if it landed on your name you had to answer the Question!

TheDrsDocMartens Tue 09-Feb-16 16:23:35

I love the dart board idea!
(Student who does all the answering as I can't stand the awkward silence while the lecturer waits)

FaFoutis Tue 09-Feb-16 16:27:38

Is the problem lack of attention? That might need a different solution.

For interactive with big groups 'clickers' are good if you have them. Students click devices to register their responses. It works well.

I wouldn't pick on people, it would be difficult for some students to deal with unless you have particularly confident students. Hiding at the back suggests not.

HPsauciness Tue 09-Feb-16 16:49:02

My lectures aren't interactive (but only 50 min long), I save that for seminars! My seminars are always structured with discussion questions, questions on the readings and I get them to go in small groups first (so even the shyest hopefully then gets to speak) then feed back to the main group. Sometimes I'm directive and say that next time, could someone speak who hasn't already answered from that group, to try to get everyone to speak. I did have one escapee last term who simply wouldn't answer under any of these strategies, she was not for speaking, so in that case I think you've done all you can.

Clickers sound good, I haven't really got into them yet.

Madelinehatter Tue 09-Feb-16 16:52:27

Thanks. Some good ideas. We don't have clickers unfortunately. I wish we did. Have thought about asking them to e mail me answers and I can show on the screen via the various phones etc they have with them and try and read endlessly!

Our teaching set up is too long tbh. Cross between a workshop and a lecture. Neither. Hard to get interaction in a large group.

Love the dart board idea! Was thinking of just randomly reading our a name to ask for an answer. May put them on the spot though.

FaFoutis Tue 09-Feb-16 17:18:07

50 is too big for a seminar type discussion. That is difficult.

You can replicate clickers by getting students to raise their hands to vote. Then ask for volunteers to explain their reasoning.

Something I do a couple of times a year is present a few hypotheses at the beginning of the lecture, get students to talk about them in small groups to decide which one they think most likely. They vote. I do the lecture. Then small groups to talk about whether they have changed their minds, vote again. Works a treat.

I ban looking at phones unless in emergency.

ifigoup Tue 09-Feb-16 17:27:08

Have you used Padlet? It's a free online bulletin board / blackboard - you put in the question and they can navigate to the URL on their laptop / tablet / phone and write their answers. You can set it up so they need a password to log in, so only your students can see it.

Madelinehatter Tue 09-Feb-16 17:46:40

Thanks. Yes the groups are too big. Its a daft way of teaching tbh.
Will look into Padlet too.

WhatWillGeorgeDo Tue 09-Feb-16 17:50:56

Another free (up to 40 responses) to take a look at is PollEverywhere - you set up the question and then it displays as a .ppt slide or in a web browser. Students either go to a web address or send a text message to vote. You can display how the responses show - WordCloud, list etc and there are other poll options as well.

fluffikins Tue 09-Feb-16 18:25:53

I do raise hand polls a lot with larger groups. I get students out to act out things, like theories. I bribe with sweets! I do animations using pow-toon and things like 'find the odd one out'. I use a lot of celebrity examples and find a way of applying it to my subject (which is management)

Ijustworkhere Tue 09-Feb-16 18:36:03

I wouldn't pick on people but I have used bouncy ball before. You make or get a soft ball - must be soft! - and then ask a question and throw the ball to a student to answer and then they get to pass it on for the next question. I also sometimes get them to work in twos. Many - but not all- will find it easier to contribute as 'we think' than 'I think'. But doing the Paddington stare at individuals can backfire. A colleague of mine has had a student with anxiety run out of a seminar in tears through doing this and I've had one student who just wouldn't answer at all and I felt very silly. once it's been escalated to the student actually refusing, there's no way to back down with dignity but you do have to back down!

worstofbothworlds Tue 09-Feb-16 21:05:11

I have one class on a supposedly "common knowledge" topic and I do a quiz at the start, there are a couple of questions everyone gets wrong. I just ask them to write the answers down and then raise hands if they got it right.

You can do this through the lecture as well.

A change of pace can help too, video segment, audio, or even a prose quote or poem or joke if appropriate. I use a John Hegley mini poem in one of my lectures.

fluffikins Tue 09-Feb-16 21:13:16

Leaving gaps in the slides for them to fill in is handy to keep their attention.

qwerty96 Tue 09-Feb-16 22:15:39

No new creative suggestions from me, but do be careful that theses things can take a long time to set up and do well. My advice to a new lecturer would be to think carefully on whether adding more interactivity is a necessity or a nicety. Time is probably what you're most lacking, so if it's only a nicety don't be afraid to not do anything this year (or even next year) and instead use the time for your research. (Assuming you're on a T+R contract.)

rhetorician Tue 09-Feb-16 22:21:03

you could also create a twitter handle for your course and get students to tweet questions or comments - it can work really well. Or hand out a 5x3 index card at the start of class, ask them to put their name on the top. Then they write down answers to spot questions - take them in at the end and you will get a good sense of how much they have absorbed. Hand them out again the next week

Mumteedum Tue 09-Feb-16 22:26:36

Socrative website allows quizzes etc with instant response. Students can access from smart phone or tablet.

For the lecture part, I like prezi. Far better than PowerPoint.

Also look up jigsaw activities for collaborative learning. Really like this approach for a break from the usual session. I've been a participant as well as facilitator of them and both sessions were well received.

fluffikins Wed 10-Feb-16 08:03:16

Can you create handouts from prezi? Last time I tried to use it that was the key sticking point

Mumteedum Wed 10-Feb-16 10:23:06

Hmm, not sure. I work in a computer based area so we don't tend to have much in the way of paper.

If I need to distribute a PDF, I have that on the vle ( Google site or blackboard) but I embed the prezi into the vle too.

I know prezi now has transcript in written form. Not sure how good it is.

fluffikins Wed 10-Feb-16 10:26:24

Maybe I'll have another go with it, although it makes me horrendously seasick if the transitions are too fast/numerous envy

rhetorician Wed 10-Feb-16 10:39:55

have the same greenish response to Prezi!

slug Wed 10-Feb-16 12:05:03

<<cracks knuckles>> This is my area. At last a chance to wax lyrical about the technologies you can use. Firstly I'm assuming you have a VLE (Virtual Learning Environment ) Moodle, Blackboard, something like that? Get yourself down to the learning technology team and have a conversation about what in-house solutions there are.

If not, it's time to get creative with the free stuff out there. I see someone has mentioned Padlet. It's fab. You could try going low tech. I've seen one lecturer put a mobile phone number on the bottom of each of his slides. Students can text questions to the number. He checks it during the breaks or natural gaps in the session. Because he doesn't keep any of the numbers, the students are effectively anonymous, which encourages the less vocal to ask questions. It also makes it easy to see if there are any common misconceptions or weak areas as there will be several questions of a similar nature.

If you don't have clickers (nasty things that always break down in my experience) you could try the freebies available on the net. Try Kahoot, Poll Everywhere or Wiggio.

Lots of free apps are out there for creating quizzes. Socrative is fairly easy to use. Or Ed Puzzle that lets you add quizzes to a video from YouTube.

Do you have lecture capture software? Have you thought about flipping the classroom? The idea here is to record a small part of the lecture. I usually advise that you do the bit that the students fall asleep in. Then make it available before hand, usually via your VLE with the assumption that the students will watch it before they attend Start the lecture with an activity related to the video. The videos also become part of their revision tools later in the year. I've seen this done very successfully with languages.

There are lots of educational blogs out there that have some good ideas. This is a UK one. This is one from the USA and this is all about using twitter for teaching I one went to a really fantastic presentation by an academic who used twitter to teach Victorian literature. She set a topic, a time limit, a hashtag and asked her students to set up twitter accounts (all set to private) as characters from novels and tweet about the topic in character.

rhetorician Wed 10-Feb-16 12:40:35

am taking notes slug - the old-fashioned way!

Madelinehatter Wed 10-Feb-16 15:01:30

Wow. Thanks for all of that. Am loving the ideas!

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