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Held in Semester 1 2016/2017,  the rational for this series was that lectures are still the most widely used teaching method in higher education today. As a method for enhancing learning, the lecture is frequently criticised as being ineffective as most students are passive and disengaged. Yet, lectures can be engaging and highly effective. This series of short breakfast sessions aimed to explore some of the ways and tools by which we can make lectures more successful.


The following are details of the sessions held together with links, where possible, to the relevant resources and recordings:





Title & Descriptor



6th October 2016

Motivating and Engaging Learners

In order for students to learn we need to get their attention and then maintain it. There are a variety of ways in which we can try to get students attention and then motivate them to engage with the material. This session will explore this topic, discuss some ways of motivating students (other than the use of assessments) and provide some examples of these techniques in action.

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7th October 2016

Connected Learners

One way to address the problem of student engagement is to encourage participation outside of class time by using digital technologies that students are already familiar with and are comfortable using. These technologies, as the Connectivism theory posits, can offer new opportunities for peer learning and support learners in engaging with others and sharing ideas and information.

In this session we will look at how social media platforms such as Google Communities, Twitter and Facebook have the potential to support learning and provide spaces for students to collaborate and engage with their peers as well as their lecturer.



13th October 2016

Lecture Structure

How we structure a lecture can have a significant impact on student’s ability to engage with it and learn from it. A lecture needs to have an introduction that motivates and engages students and outlines learning objectives. The body of the lecture needs to focus on three of four key points that are carefully elaborated. The conclusion should summarise and integrate the learning. In a basic way, learning is a function of content & retention. Placing more emphasis on retaining information, will lead to more learning.

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20th October 2016

Lecture Organisation

One of the factors that has a big impact on positive student evaluations of teaching is course organisation. In this session we will explore some ideas related to course organisation including the need to reimagine our topics from the perspective of someone who has never encountered them before, focus on core ideas and principles and relationships between those principles and the need to revisit difficult concepts over time. Defining intended learning outcomes for lectures and linking these to module learning outcomes and past lectures helps students to see the course structure and organisation.

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21st October 2016t

Effective presentation design

Slide decks or presentations are part and parcel of every instructor’s toolkit. They provide a means to share teaching points, prompt activities and reinforce understanding by providing meaningful graphics and moving images.

Effective presentation design can be achieved with an awareness of some fundamental design principles which can really impact the end user experience and make the most out of instructional material.

In this session we will look at how colour, contrast and typography can direct attention, the art of less (often cutting down material rather than overloading slides) and where to source your images.



27th October 2016


A lecture is only effective if the majority of the class understand the material. Yet, asking a class “Do you understand?” is often ineffective, for a variety of reasons, including social anxieties and the fact that learners may not realise what they don’t understand. This session will explore the types of questions we should be asking our learners and the types of questions to avoid. Certain ways of asking questions are also much more effective and less threatening than others. The session will provide examples of these techniques in action.

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3rd November 2016


Getting feedback from our learners is important because it is the only way we can determine if our teaching methods are effective. On a day-to-day basis we can use a variety of short classroom assessment techniques to determine if our learners are “getting it”. While we can put a lot of time and effort into making our lectures clear and well organised, that the pace is right, etc. it is only by asking students that we find out if they are perceived that way or not. Simple mid-term evaluation forms are highly effective as they can be acted upon and changes made to enhance the quality of the lecture. Examples of commonly used end of semester evaluation forms will also be highlighted.

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4th November 2016

Just in time feedback

It can be difficult to gauge student’s understanding within a class as students may feel self-conscious asking questions or admitting they have an issue in front of their peers.

From a lecturer’s point of view, it can be time-consuming to gather student opinion, particularly in larger classes. Audience response systems and polling tools are commonly used to quickly gather student feedback and get an overview of student comprehension.

This session will offer a hands-on look at some of these tools and highlight the benefits of using such technologies for in-class feedback.



10th November 2016


Student diversity is increasingly common. In some cases students may require specific learning supports, but for the majority this is not required. There are a number of things that we can do when designing and delivering lectures to make the lectures more inclusive. This session will outline some of the principles associated with the Trinity Inclusive Curriculum and Universal Design for Learning and discuss how they apply to lectures.


11th November 2016

Extending the classroom

While lecturers can generally rely on PowerPoint presentations to deliver material for lectures, tutorials or workshops, there are often times when additional support materials would be useful for revision or reinforcement, particularly for students who are weaker on certain topics or need additional guidance. There are a number of tools that can be used to quickly create and share more interactive materials to support students with more illustrative and engaging content.

This session focuses on tools beyond PowerPoint that a lecturer can turn to create more dynamic and interactive support materials while also ensuring that considerations are made towards pedagogy and accessibility.

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