HYELN – Pile ’em high! Using technology to enhance learning in large group teaching

Empty lecture Theatre

Reused with permission from http://www.sxc.hu/photo/667183

Presented at the Higher York E-Learning Conference 2014

The session highlighted how the department of Economic’s Jacco Thijssen has been producing video resources to support students to understand core module concepts in Statistics for first year students, as detailed in this case study.

The session was an opportunity to explore the rationale and drawbacks of the lecture as a form of teaching, in light of Biggs (1999) and many others highlighting its limitations with studies from as far back as 1971 highlighting that unsupervised reading is better than lecturing at teaching information, Bligh (1971). Participant responses to these questions were collected via Google forms in the session (see below). The discussion in the session focussed on the observation that while there are undoubtedly many excellent lecturers out there (including Jacco himself), most of the reasons provided for why we do this, seem to be more about convenience, cost and tradition, while many of the drawbacks were based around pedagogic assertions and focussed on the student experience and the individual.

You can access the slides for the session here.


Rationale: Drawbacks:
  • Information from an expert
  • Cost
  • Information transmission
  • Imparting factual information
  • resource effective
  • Dissemination of info to a large group
  • lots of info in a relatively short time
  • Convenience for large group delivery
  • We enjoy it
  • Tradition.
  • Old fashioned
  • Passive learning environment
  • Generally not interactive, students don’t feel they can ask questions in the same way
  • limited to that time and place
  • Easy for students to be passive
  • Hard assess engagement and understanding
  • Hard to respond to individual needs
  • Quiet students become anonymous
  • Depending on the group, it can be quite hardto manage, whilst thinking about the group learning, certain groups are harder to manage. Students can be invisible at the back.
  • Potential to not turn up to lecture.
  • Large group implies being passive
  • Hardto tailor to specific learning styles.
  • Not always engagement from students
  • Difficult to assess understanding.
  • Time consuming.
  • Recycled year on year.
  • Need specialist knowledge.
  • One off event.


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