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Cambridge LibGuides

Tools for Teaching

Lecture-style teaching: introduction

The tips, tricks and case studies below relate to lecture-style teaching, i.e. large group sessions where content is likely to be based around presenting information, albeit often with participatory elements.

Lecture-style teaching: tips, tricks and case studies

Tips and tricks

  • Don't be tempted to cram too much information into a single lecture: students find it hard to take in information in this way. As much as possible, use the lecture to signpost relevant sources of information, preferably asynchronous training that they can complete in their own time, or comprehensive LibGuides/CamGuides relevant to the topic. Make sure students have a link to one single location where they can access information on all the topics covered by the lecture.
  • Try to find ways to build interactivity into the lecture -- use polling software, or Padlet boards. 
  • Breathe deeply and slow your speech a little bit, as there can be a tendency to rush through slides. Ask if everyone can hear at the start and always use a microphone where present to ensure accessibility for all.
  • Use 'hands up' as a way to see roughly what percent of your audience is familiar with a term or topic and/or how many people have heard of / used a particular resource.

Large full lecture theatre with seated audience of around two hundred peopleCase study examples

Using Padlet for interactive teaching: "My library was asked to deliver a critical reading course to second-year undergraduates in a lecture-style setting (up to around 300 students). Normally we prefer to teach this topic in small groups so that students can participate in discussion, and there was no way we could have verbal discussion in a lecture theatre of 300 people. We did not want to make the session entirely passive, so we created a Padlet board where we uploaded an article, the PROMPT checklist, and a series of questions. We asked the students to download the paper during the start of the lecture, and they read the abstract. They then posted their answers to a series of questions on the Padlet board, at various stages throughout the lecture. Their responses were anonymous, and they often were in conversation with the responses of other students, meaning the session was both interactive and generated discussion and peer learning. This was done in a face-to-face lecture, but the same technique and software could be used in an online synchronous setting as well."

Using Slid.do to allow students to direct session content: "For a session on literature searching and reference management, I used polling software (Slid.do) to let students decide what areas they wanted more detailed training on. I split the session into 5 areas and let the students vote on what they wanted to spend more time on. I had already taught this group of students which helped the decision making, I ensured they would be able to access all the content and that they knew this when voting. Practice with polling software before the session. It can be useful when sessions are short and you concentrate on the areas that students want more support in, you don't over-fill the session and it encourages interactivity from the start of the session."

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