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Interactivity in lectures

Interactivity in lectures.
Large lecture theatres have long been part of the landscape in university tuition. Learning and teaching in such settings in the 21st century does bring challenges. How can students retain more of the information imparted in a lecture? How can a lecturer involve a large group in this form of delivery?
Here are some simple, practical tips to increasing interactivity in your lectures.

Mobilise the backchannel.
Choose a simple hashtag for your lecture such as the module code and share it before the session to garner queries and questions relevant to your session. You may want to share snippets of your thinking or links to thought provoking reading on Twitter or other social media using that hashtag, building interest in the topic and giving insights which may inform your planning. Here's some advice for creating a backchannel.

Check the room temperature.
Prior to each section of your lecture you could prepare a quick “what do we know about this topic?” survey in order to help determine how much detail is needed on an aspect of the content. Most students will have a laptop or mobile phone on them. An online survey tool such as Socrative or Quizlet can be pre-loaded with a short set of key questions that students respond to prior to a section of your lecture. Students participate using the app, inputting the code for your survey. Your screen can display (to you or the audience) the level of understanding (temperature) in the room. This enables you as the presenter to focus on the cool spots.

Get the picture.
Many find they remember best if they draw or take notes whilst listening. A popular way of doing this electronically is using simple drawing tools such as Sketch Notes on a tablet or phone. A collaborative mind map of the lecture using a shared google doc could be the responsibility of a group of students each week, providing a visual recap for the end of the year, which could then be provided as a link in the course area online.

Go global!
Invite real time participation from collaborators outside Warwick in your session using a backchannel such as a shared padlet board or synchronous participation through an online classroom such as Bb Collaborate Ultra or a Google hangout. Timing is everything with this one but even a few minutes contribution to your session can bring another voice to the discussion. Beware: this one needs careful planning so don’t leave it to the last minute!


Twitter ; Quizlet, Socrative, Sketch Noting, Google hangouts, Padlet, Blackboard Collaborate.