lecture tips

How to Make Your College Lectures More Meaningful

Do you work toward facilitating active learning strategies in your college lectures? College students may feel disengaged in a large lecture hall, so rather than lose your audience, consider using active learning methods, which are more effective in helping students retain material than straight lectures. Here are some tips for college and university lecturers to keep students engaged.

Use active learning during lectures

Active learning helps develop problem solving, motivation for learning, and attitude for learning. According to Wilbert J. McKeachie and Marilla Svinicki in the book McKeachie’s Teaching Tips, 14th Edition: “The way students process verbal material Read More…


It’s More than JUST “Flipping the Class”

Using the terms “flipped” and “model” in Flipped Model can cause would-be newcomers to this style of teaching and learning to dismiss trying it out because they simply do not have the time to try another new thing. During this webinar, Damon Givehand, Digital Educator at Cengage Learning, discusses what this approach really offers, so you can determine for yourself if it is worth giving a shot in your own course!
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A Six-Minute Lecturing Strategy to Increase Learning

Despite all the buzz around active learning, did you know that lecturing is still the most common teaching method? The good news is that we don’t need to abandon the lecture because research has shown that it can be effective (Baeten, Dochy, & Struyven, 2013). Lectures are efficient ways for the expert (otherwise known as the professor!) to share knowledge with students.  While many argue that lectures are passive and not effective as more active learning approaches, this is not the case when lectures are done effectively.  Mayer (2009) argues that cognitive engagement is what matters most and Read More…


Making Lectures More Meaningful to Students

An engaging, thoughtfully presented lecture has the power to inform and inspire students. However, when lectures are delivered in a dull and uninspired manner, they can fall flat and cause students to disengage from the learning process.

Through our recent “Today’s Student” project (conducted with the Work Institute), we set out to learn more about students’ college experiences, exploring how they define their “best” and “worst” classes. We share the findings in our recent white paper, The Not-So-Powerful PowerPoint®: Students Weigh the “Best” Classes against the “Worst.”

Among these findings, we noted that 54% of our surveyed students said that lecture-based classes were their worst classroom experience. Most likely, these “worst” classes included lectures that lacked the instructor’s enthusiasm and left little room for student involvement and participation.

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Are You Ready for Next Semester?

The current term is winding down, and you’re probably getting set for enjoying some time off over the next few weeks. But before you’re completely in “holiday mode,” take some time to consider what you have on deck for the next semester. In McKeachie’s Teaching Tips, authors Marilla Svinicki and Wilbert J. McKeachie identify three things you should be sure to consider and plan for approximately a month before the start of classes. Take some time to review, refine, or create these elements of your course before your next term starts: 1. Lesson plans for your first few Read More…


The Power of Pausing

As college faculty, we are often faced with intense curriculum and the need to “cover” a lot of material. This pressure often results in an increased reliance on lectures. While research has shown that the lecture can be very a very effective teaching method (Baeten, Dochy, & Struyven, 2013), there are several research-based strategies that increase learning via this method of teaching. In this brief article, we’ll focus on one very important strategy: pausing. Let’s review a couple of studies on this topic:
In a study conducted by Ruhl, Hughes, and Schloss (1987), one group of students was given Read More…


Reaching Diverse Audiences

In McKeachie’s Teaching Tips (2011, Wadsworth, Cengage Learning), authors Svinicki and McKeachie write that “Responding to the individual student may be the most important way to improve your instruction.” But in addition to each student having his or her own preferences on how they learn, educators today also encounter students from diverse cultural backgrounds. Svinicki and McKeachie offer ways to adapt your own behavior to enhance the learning environment for culturally diverse students. Keep in mind behaviors from different cultures have different meanings. For example, Svinicki and McKeachie warn that eye contact – or a lack of it – is not Read More…


Chapter Pre-Study Guides: An Alternative to Content Lecture in Introductory Accounting

The objective of content lecture in the introductory accounting courses is to inform students of and comment on content for which they will be held responsible. However, content lecture consumes valuable classroom time for a reading and writing activity that students will perform given specific direction and a nominal incentive. This paper discusses chapter pre-study guides, directed reading and writing assignments completed by students prior to related classroom activities, and a unique incentive system I use in introductory managerial accounting to virtually eliminate content lecture. Read More…


Preparing for Your Lectures

Though your fall term may already be in full swing, you may have noticed that the students who once listened to your lectures attentively now seem more distracted and disengaged. Or, perhaps you’re a month or so into a new teaching job and you recognize a need to refine the process you use to prepare your talks. If you find yourself in these or similar scenarios, you may want to review some suggestions that can help you present your course material with maximum effectiveness. In McKeachie’s Teaching Tips: Strategies, Research, and Theory for College and University Teachers, Marilla Svinicki and Wilbert Read More…


Tips for Using Lecture Aids Effectively

Audio and visual aids such as presentation slides, video clips, charts, and animations can help you emphasize the key points of your lecture. They also enable students to visualize and better understand the concepts you are describing. As an educator, you surely want to know how to use these types of tools for maximum benefit. In Cengage Advantage Books: The Speaker’s Compact Handbook, Fourth Edition, authors Jo Sprague, Douglas Stuart, and David Bodary offer a number of suggestions that can help you use your tools to enhance (rather than detract from) your presentation. We’ve summarized some salient points to keep in Read More…