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Activities to Make Lectures Interactive

Oct 02 2013

In order to retain student attention and facilitate learning, consider integrating a variety of activities into a lecture-based course. Start by finding natural breaks in the content material and break up the lecture into shorter segments. In between the shorter lectures, add activities that require the students to review and apply their new learning and interact with each other. Mix it up by incorporating different activities each week. The change of pace, interaction, and variety can help to enliven the classroom atmosphere and encourage deeper learning for every student. Some activities to consider are listed below.

  • Skeleton notes – Create a handout with key points of the lecture on the left margin, leaving space for students to fill in notes during lecture. Pair up or group students to compare notes and fill in gaps.
  • Press Conference – Ask students to work in teams to write and organize questions, and then interview the instructor in a simulated press conference.
  • Clusters – Break reading material into sections and have each individual or group read an assigned section, becoming an “expert” on that section. Each individual or group then teaches the others about the specific material that they learned.
  • Select the Best Response – Present your students with a question or scenario and then ask them to consider which one of three responses best applies. This technique can be used to recall and apply information presented in lecture.
  • Correct the Error – This idea can be used in math or lab courses. The instructor creates an intentional error based on important lecture material. Students then work to correct the error.
  • Support a Statement – Give your students a statement and have them locate support in lecture notes or textbooks and give data to support the statement.
  • Re-order Steps – The instructor presents a series of steps in a mixed order and the students are asked to sequence the items correctly.
  • Short Video Clip – A short, relevant video clip can be useful for introducing a new topic, punctuating the main point, or providing a springboard for class discussion.
  • One Minute Paper – Near the end of the class period, ask students to write for one minute on the main 1-2 points of the class. This assignment allows you to gauge student comprehension and gives students an incentive to absorb and comprehend course material. At the beginning of the next class, provide some feedback, telling the students which responses were on target, and clarifying any misconceptions that were revealed by their responses.
  • Student-Created Visuals - Ask students to work in small groups to create visual study aids such as flow charts, graphs, diagrams, artwork, maps, or photography. A variation on this activity could produce student-created study guides prior to each major exam.

To follow up on any of these ideas, please contact me at fglazer@nyit.edu. This Weekly Teaching Note was adapted from a contribution to the Teaching and Learning Writing Consortium hosted at Western Kentucky University and organized by Seneca College and New York Institute of Technology.

Contributor:
Belinda Richardson and Debi Griffin
Bellarmine University
www.bellarmine.edu

 

Workshop Invitation

The Center for Teaching and Learning is offering an online workshop about student learning, and I invite you to participate. Some of our NYIT faculty will be joining in as ‘resource people’ and discussion facilitators providing their expertise and insight into the issue. Specific topics will include:

  • benefits of using classroom check-in techniques
  • when to check in with your students and why
  • some simple classroom check-in techniques to get you started
  • additional resources

The workshop is asynchronous, meaning that you can read the materials and reply to emails at your convenience. All you will need is a web browser and an email account. Here’s how it will work: On October 21, resources will become available on the web. Participants will then have a conversation by email for 1-2 weeks. Our goal is to bring faculty together from all our campuses, so we can explore the topic from all the cultural and societal frames of reference that comprise NYIT.

I hope you will join us! Please register to receive the link to materials and to be added to the email list. The registration link for the workshop is at: http://goo.gl/L9u9SW

Author: francine_glazer