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cubster

What do you want out of a lecture/lecturer?

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When I was in undergraduate studies I remember all I wanted was lecture notes. I never read a manual for any of the courses I did and I went to class to listen to the lecturer and copy all them lovely lecture notes that enabled me to never have to read a course manual in my life.

 

But now that the role has changed, I find that students don't want to copy notes (they actually want notes but they don't want to copy them, they want it emailed to them) but the problem with that is that they won't come to class. Now, that would be fine but these guys need the lectures cos they don't understand the material as it is. So if they never come to class they won't learn a thing. They also don't want to sit for double periods and I remember sitting through an entire double on many occassions, a full 1.5 hours. I understand that concentration spans are a problem but they're moaning after 10 minutes. And even with a break they want to leave early. They don't want to do the work assigned for tutorials and basically plagiarise when you give them an assignment. I dunno what to do. The student of today is VERY different to the students that existed during my time. (And I was a lazy student!!!). My supervisor says that students when I was around were still about the same as it was when she was around, but this generation seem to be something else.

 

What I would like is to hear from you guys what you want to get out of a lecture and maybe I can get some ideas that will help me try to reach these kids. What are/were your experiences of lectures and what worked for you?

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Until recently I taught undergrads, and they are usually lazy. Most of them take the class because they have to and only thing they want is to get over it. A few do take it seriously too. Anyways, how they behave and respond to instructions is mostly upto the instructor. You can set your self to be strict, and put some criteria in the grading system to promote attendence.

 

For example, you can say there will be quizes on random days, marks of which will b counted towards the final grade. For example, let's say you have a total of 20 class sessions in the semester for this course. Then you say there will be 10 quizzez on random days and the marks from quizes will be 10% (or whatever) in the final grade. A similar portion can be assigned for homework submissions and etc.

 

If you have mid semester exams, make the first exam tough to scare students. That usually awakens even the lazy ones. And tell them next exams will be even tougher (but don't make it so).

 

As to keep students engaged during the 1.5 hour class there are methods. I won't be able to give you very useful information without knowing the university culture there, but you can look up student centric learning.

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If you have mid semester exams, make the first exam tough to scare students. That usually awakens even the lazy ones. And tell them next exams will be even tougher (but don't make it so).

 

Also depends on how the school works. Over here, my school gives us the option of dropping the class after we get the results of the first exam. Lazy kids will drop it right away if they get a bad score. Waste of time and money for whoever is paying.

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I like professors who are more engaging with the students (asking them questions, etc.). Also, I feel like they have to be animated, and use a louddd voice, and throw in some jokes (even cheesy ones) every now and then, otherwise I'm dozing off. I think it's a really bad idea to email them lecture notes. If you email it to them, they won't show up, and assume that reading over your notes will be sufficient, but that won't allow them to fully understand anything. It's better to make them take their own notes. But you would also have to keep in mind to go at a steady pace when giving the lecture so they have sufficient time to write everything down, as well as listen and understand at the same time. Tell them to stop you when they don't fully understand something. Also, I think making them take their own notes and making attendance a part of their grades will make them more likely to show up to class. Give them tips for better note-taking (such as abbreviating some words, lol). And please go over the things that will be on the exam. My worst nightmare is a professor who won't have a review for the exam.

 

And finallyyy, this is all coming from and for lazy students like myself. Thank you! :D

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^^In a nutshell, lol.

 

The tags on this thread just reminded me, in one class the professor used to turn off all the lights, the only light is coming from the projector, and I used to sit right in front of him, and close my eyes and sleep. He never called me out on it luckily. lol. I couldn't help it, the room is dark, and he's talking about current sociological theories. The cure for insomnia I say.

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Great thread!

 

I think it would help if you said what subject(s) you were teaching and at what level, if you don't mind that is.

 

Both my lecturers/supervisors are absolutely fantastic. They're both really passionate about the subjects they teach and transmit that passion. They will always do their best to help you out with whatever problems you have (academic or personal) and make themselves available for discussions. They always treat all the students like equals.

 

I agree with Haku though, undergrads tend to be lazy. Alhumdulillah I'm lucky I managed to get into a purely postgrad college where theres an nurtured atmosphere of academia.

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In my course/Uni, the lecturers usually provide lecture handouts with the slides from their presentations. The handouts are helpful but they only contain the bare minimum. The rest we're supposed to write down ourselves over the course of the lecture as the lecturer presents their topic. I think that's a good system because it forces you to pay attention and on top of that, writing it down helps it stay in your memory. In addition, the majority of the lectures are recorded and these are uploaded to the student portal online so we can always listen to them later in case we missed anything or did not attend, however it's not that reliable as there is often a problem with recording or uploading and even when the lectures are uploaded, they're usually a week or two late lol. Really lazy students will rely only on the recordings and they'll suffer at the end but for the most part, students (on my course) usually turn up to lectures.

 

Of course there are some lecturers whose handouts/lectures are more interesting or contain jokes/interesting, eye-catching info and that helps. Also the way the lecturer is presenting helps to keep your attention. I once had a lecturer (thankfully only for a couple of lectures) who literally sat at the computer in front of the class (about 200 students), kept his face glued to the monitor and used the highlighter function to colour/scribble/draw loops around what he thought was relevant information. A lot of people walked out of that lecture, not that he noticed being as that his face did not look up once.

 

I haven't really come across the type of students you describe, Cubby. Majority of students at my Uni seem to be hardworking and my classes tend to be full. I don't know, maybe it's because they worked really hard to get there, plus the really large amount of fees they're paying means they don't want to miss out on anything?

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A typical student usually want a nuturing teacher/lecturer to spoon feed them so they can pass. Using practical examples and scenarios I find are a good way of keeping students engaged, although this depends on the subject being taught. Notes come in various forms, you can give detailed notes or the bare minimum to encourage them to learn too instead of being taught. Usually notes are give at the end of the lecture rather than the beginning - unless pre-reading is a requirement.

There will always be students who don't pay attention and try not to get too disheartned by this, like don't take it personally.

Since it is a pretty long lecture (as in time) - what do you usually do? Just talk at them for 1.5 hours or do you make them think and use their brain in the actual class - for example give some a situational example on a topic that you have just covered and get them to answer questions in groups or pairs etc? Breaking down into smaller chunks helps with the attention span issue.

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I'd say that there's a difference between a teacher and a lecturer, in the methods used to instil good practises in students. From my experiences, lecturers do very little to positively motivate students. They tend to take a negative angle e.g. 'Pay attention to the lecture slides now, because the next time you'll be looking at them will be the early hours of the morning before your exams; unable to make any sense of them.'

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Thanks for all your responses guys! I think I have more to say but my brain is a bit mush right now and its been a hectic weekend!

 

Until recently I taught undergrads, and they are usually lazy. Most of them take the class because they have to and only thing they want is to get over it. A few do take it seriously too. Anyways, how they behave and respond to instructions is mostly upto the instructor. You can set your self to be strict, and put some criteria in the grading system to promote attendence.

 

For example, you can say there will be quizes on random days, marks of which will b counted towards the final grade. For example, let's say you have a total of 20 class sessions in the semester for this course. Then you say there will be 10 quizzez on random days and the marks from quizes will be 10% (or whatever) in the final grade. A similar portion can be assigned for homework submissions and etc.

 

If you have mid semester exams, make the first exam tough to scare students. That usually awakens even the lazy ones. And tell them next exams will be even tougher (but don't make it so).

 

As to keep students engaged during the 1.5 hour class there are methods. I won't be able to give you very useful information without knowing the university culture there, but you can look up student centric learning.

 

Unfortunately I am not the co-ordinator for the course. I am teaching with someone. Because of the high numbers, we have about 700 students on this one, there are two of us teaching simultaneously (the class is separated into two) and the other lecturer is the co ordinator and I have to do what she wants and she isn't interested in anything extra aside from giving notes :/ Which is one thing that is making it difficult for me because I have to use her notes rather than make my own which I would prefer. We have pretty good attendance, I'd say more than half the class pitches up. I like the idea of random quizzes in tutorials but the problem with that is that our uni is inconsistent with tutors, there is always a money problem and we've gone from having 10 tutors to being given 5. That is a good idea and maybe I could pose that for the next semester course because tut attendance and prep is also a major problem. We do have two homework assignments that count for half the class mark.

 

We don't have mid-term exams though. Just a class test. I did something similar last year when I taught by myself, I gave a short answer test (which in all honesty was meant to be easy) but about 80% of the class failed (the ones who passed did so with ridiculously high marks because the test was actually easy) because they assumed it was going to be an MCQ even after they were told it wasn't (go figure :rolleyes: )It did work though because for the next test they learnt really hard for it and there was a significant increase in the average and the pass rate. But the problem is that they end up with low class marks and could potentially lose the right to write the exam because they generally fail the assignment portion of it because of high plagiarism. I gave an MCQ exam and only half passed the exam without the class mark being added. And I had to write a report explaining why they failed. I thought that was ludicrous considering I sent all notifications for everything and I gave detailed notes and readings for them. In all honesty if they had read only notes they could have passed comfortably. But they spot learnt, from what a few students told me.

 

University culture? I'm not really sure any more. Students want to be given marks for nothing. I've had students come to me and say that I should give them marks simply because they wrote something even though they wrote nothing worth getting a mark for. Its a lazy culture, its no longer the academic environment it used to be. I'll reply about keeping them engaged a little later in this post. I think baldy mentioned something and I'll reply to it there.

I like professors who are more engaging with the students (asking them questions, etc.). Also, I feel like they have to be animated, and use a louddd voice, and throw in some jokes (even cheesy ones) every now and then, otherwise I'm dozing off. I think it's a really bad idea to email them lecture notes. If you email it to them, they won't show up, and assume that reading over your notes will be sufficient, but that won't allow them to fully understand anything. It's better to make them take their own notes. But you would also have to keep in mind to go at a steady pace when giving the lecture so they have sufficient time to write everything down, as well as listen and understand at the same time. Tell them to stop you when they don't fully understand something. Also, I think making them take their own notes and making attendance a part of their grades will make them more likely to show up to class. Give them tips for better note-taking (such as abbreviating some words, lol). And please go over the things that will be on the exam. My worst nightmare is a professor who won't have a review for the exam.

 

And finallyyy, this is all coming from and for lazy students like myself. Thank you! :D

I try to ask questions, sometimes it works and sometimes it doesn't. I do have a loud voice and I hate standing in one place or beside the mic so I stand of to the side so that the students can see the slides easily (cos I remember I always had to look around the lecturers head when they stood next to the OHP and that used to annoy me) and I talk really loudly because I don't use the mic. I do try to make jokes, they're usually pretty corny and they don't always take :/

 

I don't like the idea of emailing notes because, as you said, they assume that its enough and don't actually grasp the concepts properly. I would have liked to have provided a skeletal structure and then done the in depth notes in class but I'm not teaching on my own and everybody else just thinks that this is more work. I feel it would help people take notes and help those who want to, to prep before class as well.

 

When I lecture, I have the OHP slides up and I talk about each point and try to provide a detailed account of whatevers on the slide so it gives them enough time to write while I tell them extra things that can be found in the readings. I always make sure I ask them before I move the slide up or take it off. I use abbreviations in my slides and I explain it to them as well. I also try to tell them to take down the most important words but even I know that they're still going to take the entire thing down anyways lol

 

Attendance is a problem because of registers. When we tried to take registers last year the register would barely get round to half the class and then no one wanted to sort through them afterwards and it became more of a pain than anything else and its purely because of the numbers.

 

And I definitely do go over exam and test scope with them before hand. Even send out emails with the information in it as well.

 

 

^^In a nutshell, lol.

 

The tags on this thread just reminded me, in one class the professor used to turn off all the lights, the only light is coming from the projector, and I used to sit right in front of him, and close my eyes and sleep. He never called me out on it luckily. lol. I couldn't help it, the room is dark, and he's talking about current sociological theories. The cure for insomnia I say.

In my third year I had one of the best professors in the department. He was actually the person who started the programme and he was really nice. I liked him as a lecturer but I would ALWAYS fall asleep in his class. I used to sit right in the front and he would put points up and then elaborate so I had to pay attention to write everything down but halfway through I would fall asleep and then wake up in a shock after 10 minutes lolol He was so sweet though, he would just smile at me and carry on.

 

Great thread!

 

I think it would help if you said what subject(s) you were teaching and at what level, if you don't mind that is.

 

Both my lecturers/supervisors are absolutely fantastic. They're both really passionate about the subjects they teach and transmit that passion. They will always do their best to help you out with whatever problems you have (academic or personal) and make themselves available for discussions. They always treat all the students like equals.

 

I agree with Haku though, undergrads tend to be lazy. Alhumdulillah I'm lucky I managed to get into a purely postgrad college where theres an nurtured atmosphere of academia.

Thanks!

 

I teach a few courses. But the one that gives me trouble is the largest class of about 700 odd students. Its my Anthropology first year class. I teach Academic Literacy to students who are in the access stream and that is lovely because they work so hard! And I also teach a Working Life class where the students are full time workers who come for once a week classes and they are also lovely and work hard and participate in class. I think the difference is that these two groups value their education far more than the mainstream ones because its like a second chance for them.

 

I'm glad to hear that you're got great supervisors/lecturers. Honestly, I feel like that is half the work done and less of a stress. My supervisor sounds exactly like what you've described. I try to be like her but at the same time I try to be a bit sterner because she can be a bit of a pushover because she's so nice to students.

 

I've found that recently I have little respect even for the post grads because they get accepted into programmes with 50+ whereas in my year we had to achieve over 70%. There are usually at least 2 each year who have worked hard though to get into the post grad programme and I always make time for them because I feel like the actually deserve to be there and aren't simply filling a quota or increasing numbers. (That is what my uni has become about these days).

 

I think undergrads are lazy by nature as well. I still remember how lazy I was. I mean all I ever did was attend class and take notes. I did no extra work. I knew people who would sit around in the coffee shops all day. But somehow we still managed to get stuphph done. Now it seems to be about who has the best weave and the best outfit and the best shoes and who is cooler than who. If you ask a student what they are at uni for, 8/10 will look at you blankly. The culture is lazy and entitled. Few work hard and those that don't don't understand why they're being failed. Its not their fault, its the system, its the lecturer. Most have gotten in with a measly 28 points. A few years ago even 32 points would have been difficult to get a uni acceptance with.

 

In my course/Uni, the lecturers usually provide lecture handouts with the slides from their presentations. The handouts are helpful but they only contain the bare minimum. The rest we're supposed to write down ourselves over the course of the lecture as the lecturer presents their topic. I think that's a good system because it forces you to pay attention and on top of that, writing it down helps it stay in your memory. In addition, the majority of the lectures are recorded and these are uploaded to the student portal online so we can always listen to them later in case we missed anything or did not attend, however it's not that reliable as there is often a problem with recording or uploading and even when the lectures are uploaded, they're usually a week or two late lol. Really lazy students will rely only on the recordings and they'll suffer at the end but for the most part, students (on my course) usually turn up to lectures.

 

Of course there are some lecturers whose handouts/lectures are more interesting or contain jokes/interesting, eye-catching info and that helps. Also the way the lecturer is presenting helps to keep your attention. I once had a lecturer (thankfully only for a couple of lectures) who literally sat at the computer in front of the class (about 200 students), kept his face glued to the monitor and used the highlighter function to colour/scribble/draw loops around what he thought was relevant information. A lot of people walked out of that lecture, not that he noticed being as that his face did not look up once.

 

I haven't really come across the type of students you describe, Cubby. Majority of students at my Uni seem to be hardworking and my classes tend to be full. I don't know, maybe it's because they worked really hard to get there, plus the really large amount of fees they're paying means they don't want to miss out on anything?

Thats what I'd like to do but will only be able to do something like that when I teach on my own. My uni is working on a system whereby they will do podcasts of the lectures so that they can be streamed if students can't make it to class or want to revisit a lecture. Which I think is a good idea but I think it will also make people really lazy too. It can go either way but it depends on the student culture. Your uni seems to have a strong academic culture which is great!

 

I try to put up funny anthro cartoons or interesting pictures that go along with the content so that it keeps people's attention. I like to find videos of material we're covering, example if we're looking at a particular society and some cultural aspect I try to find videos from people who have been there and recorded the practices so that students will have something real to put with the theory. Doesn't seem to help much though :/

 

I had a lecturer who did something similar. He would put up the slide and talk to himself. We could barely hear him. I ended up recording his lecture and falling asleep in class while he gave it. Not that he noticed.

 

A typical student usually want a nuturing teacher/lecturer to spoon feed them so they can pass. Using practical examples and scenarios I find are a good way of keeping students engaged, although this depends on the subject being taught. Notes come in various forms, you can give detailed notes or the bare minimum to encourage them to learn too instead of being taught. Usually notes are give at the end of the lecture rather than the beginning - unless pre-reading is a requirement.

There will always be students who don't pay attention and try not to get too disheartned by this, like don't take it personally.

Since it is a pretty long lecture (as in time) - what do you usually do? Just talk at them for 1.5 hours or do you make them think and use their brain in the actual class - for example give some a situational example on a topic that you have just covered and get them to answer questions in groups or pairs etc? Breaking down into smaller chunks helps with the attention span issue.

I don't think I can ever spoonfeed. I do like giving detailed notes because its what I really loved when I was a student and I guess that that is a form of spoon feeding but I feel that students should do something on their own. I mean, we break down assignments to every point and basically give them the entire answer, whereas in my day we had to figure it out for ourselves. We were given a little guidance but largely were left to our own devices. I feel like an old maid comparing my time with this when it wasn't even that long ago lol

 

For the longer periods, I usually run for about 20 - 30 minutes and then give the class a 10 minute break. But while I lecture I give them examples and explain the notes they're taking and then when they come back from the break I ask questions and take questions. Its usually the same people who answer and ask as well. And then I go for another 15 - 20 minutes because it seems like that is all they can handle. I do also try to give small breaks in between where I'll pause and ask questions or tell them a story that relates to the topic. Its difficult to let them do group work because there are bout 250 students in the class and they'd spend 20 minutes trying to get organised into groups :rolleyes: We will be running smaller tutorial groups during the week though but the students don't prepare for them and then the tutor ends up lecturing the class on the reading they were meant to do. We put up readings and tut guides well in advance for them to look at but it doesn't seem to make a difference.

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^^You must be a genius cubster, masha Allah. A few courses sounds like a lot. And 700 students? How do you manage to speak in front of a crowd that big? I would be so nervous, lol.

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