For the academic year 2021/22 teaching will be delivered by a blend of in-person and online teaching, and we will adapt our timetables, teaching methods, course content and locations for delivery of teaching to achieve this. The balance of the blend will depend on the stringency of social distancing and other regulations in force at the time. Where possible, teaching by seminars, practicals, and supervisions will be delivered in person, and it may even be possible for lectures to smaller groups to be given on this basis. In any case, all lectures will be recorded and made available online. If large-scale lecturing in person becomes permissible, the University will reintroduce it as soon as possible.
The working remotely page provides tips on learning from recordings and learning in webinars, and useful information on the technology to enable this to happen.
With thanks to:
Many lectures are delivered by leading academics working at the forefront of their field, so they are a fantastic opportunity to find out about the latest research as well as the core principles in your subject. Depending on your discipline, you may also have practitioners delivering lectures to give you an insight into the applications of your subject.
Lectures also act as a starting point for your own studies. They give you an entry point into a topic or theme which you can then research further through reading or practical work.
In most STEMM subjects, lectures will give you all the information that you need to prepare you for solving the problems you will be set in supervisions and exams. You'll be expected to attend them all so that you don't miss an aspect of the course; you are less likely to have as much independent study time as students in other subject areas.
In the Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences, you'll probably need to do further reading based on what you have heard in lectures. They may be intended to spark ideas, include key thinkers and events, and introduce new methodologies. In these subjects, lectures may be useful for a particular essay, others for exams, and some will help deepen your understanding of the topic you are studying.
Lectures usually involve the lecturer speaking from the front, although some will be more interactive than others. The scale varies hugely depending on how many people are taking a paper (module); the number of students ranges from single figures up to several hundred. Lectures may take place in a traditional lecture theatre, with seats facing forward, or in a more relaxed seminar-style environment, seated around a table. Lectures can also take place online. A single lecture lasts for just under an hour.
Some lecturers provide:
Whatever the case, you'll need to become proficient in taking notes from a lecture. If you haven't been provided with a detailed handout, don't feel that you have to be good at writing everything down quickly. Quite the opposite, in many subjects you need to train yourself to be able to listen and just write down the most important points to help jog your memory when researching further. In these subjects, it is a good idea to get down dates, names, technical information, or further reading. In other subjects you might be required to copy down a worked example. In this case you'll need to practise being precise. The purpose of a lecture is to help you when working on problems or writing essays and you'll soon learn how much information you need to write down to help you with these tasks.
Look at the Note making page of the Skills section to find out more.
Watch this lecture by Professor David Tong on 'Einstein, Relativity and Gravity Waves'.
It was originally delivered to an audience of school students aged 16-17 in 2014. There is some maths in in the lecture but if you aren't studying a STEMM subject, it is a very accessible, with lots of stories! It is 45 minutes long, close to the actual length of a lecture at Cambridge University.
From time to time you may find that your department/faculty offers lectures that aren't strictly part of your course but which enrich your understanding of the discipline.
Sir Cam/University of Cambridge. All rights reserved.
We asked our students...: © Cambridge University Libraries. All rights reserved.
Einstein, Relativity and Gravity Waves: Millennium Mathematics Project. All Rights reserved
Unless otherwise stated, this work is licenced under a Creative Commons CC-BY-NC 4.0 licence by Cambridge University Libraries.