Alternatives to Lecturing

Introduction

Lectures are often one way communication events. However, we know that when learners participate in class, they tend to retain the information and better understand the topic. The following provides just a very small sample of the multitude of activities that can complement lectures.

Activities

Self-created, short instructional video

Benefits

  • Many software options are available
  • Can focus on a single topic
  • Great for demonstrations
  • Learners can watch on their schedule
  • Repeated views are possible
  • Webcam Recording Tips

Tips

  • Practice before you do your recording
  • Record is good lighting and remove any distracting visuals from the background
  • See self-recording lectures

Self-created audio

Benefits

  • Built-in audio recorders are readily available
  • Files are generally small
  • Can embed audio clips into a content page that includes visuals

Tips

  • Prepare yourself to avoid rambling
  • Be concise and focused
  • Check for background noise
  • Practice with the technology
  • Pause after you hit record before you start to speak. Similarly, pause after you finish speaking before you hit stop. This will avoid chopping off parts of sentences.
  • Do a 20 second test recording and make adjustments as required
  • Consider providing a transcript of your audio

Visuals

Benefits

  • Images and diagrams help learners to understand a concept.
  • Concept maps, especially if built collaboratively, can help clarify challenging content.

Tips

  • Be aware of copyright of images and give attribution where appropriate.

Communication

Benefits

  • Communication is important in remote and online learning. It helps keep both learners and instructors informed of issues, progress, triumphs, challenges, etc.
  • Can delve deep into a topic. Learners tend to gain more knowledge through the active participation.

Examples

Discussion
  • Can be synchronous discussion via online rooms, chat (text based), or instant messaging tool (IM).
  • Can be asynchronous using the discussion, email, or IM tools. (IM can be synchronous or asynchronous)
  • Carefully design the discussion questions so that simple yes or no answers are not sufficient.
  • Design the question so that different perspectives can be respected.
  • Be present in the facilitation of the discussion.
  • Ask probing questions to keep the discussion going and on topic.
Microblogging (Twitter)
  • Provides learners with the opportunity to express views, ideas, etc. clearly and concisely.
  • It is easy to scan.
  • CITL created a Tweet aggregator for use in Brightspace which greatly helps with monitoring of work.
Instant Messenger (IM)
  • This 1:1 or 1:many communication can be synchronous or asynchronous.
  • Participants can select the receiver from either Friends List across courses, or Class List.
  • A record of the messages is kept.
Chat
  • Chat is synchronous collaborative way to communicate with others.
  • Can use General (instructor created) which enables communication to the full class, or Personal (individual created) which enables communication to your members list across courses.
  • It is great for brainstorming ideas, Q/A periods.

Collaborative Interaction

Benefits

  • Enables and encourages learners to become involved in, and take responsibility for their learning.
  • Helps build social presence among class members which is vital in remote (and online) instruction.
  • Ways to Engage Your Students Synchronously

Examples

Think Pair Share
  • Present a question or problem to the class.
  • Give learners a few minutes to think about the problem.
  • Use break out rooms, chat, email, discussion forums, etc. for small groups (groups of 2 is ideal, but can be larger).
  • Have groups discuss the problem and report back to the class.
  • Use a question or problem that does not have one clear solution to enable groups to have different perspectives and thus learners will learn from each other on the report back.
  • Give groups a time limit.
  • Have groups report back to the class. Consider using the discussion forum.
Jigsaw Technique
  • This is a split group activity that enables the class to solve problems and to teach each other.
  • Each learner belongs to two groups: a home group and a specialist group.
  • The class is given a complex problem or question.
  • Each specialist group researches a different part of the problem or question.
  • Learners join their home team and teach each other what they learned in the specialist group.
  • Each home team prepares a presentation for the class.
  • Be sure to given detailed explanation of expectations to the class.
  • Here is a PDF example of a Jigsaw Learning Activity.
Fish Bowl
  • Provide a topic or problem and have 2 learners talk about it.
  • The conversation could be interview style, but doesn’t have to be.
  • The rest of the learners observe the conversation. They could use a rubric to help them think critically about what the 2 learners have to say.
  • The two in the ‘fishbowl’ can express their ideas, strategies, etc. about a topic or problem.
  • The class needs to respectfully listen to the speakers.
  • The class observers may get differing perspectives.
  • Provide a strict time limit for the ‘fishbowl’.
  • Provide a topic or problem with a variety of strategies or perspectives.
Accountable Talk
  • This is a method that provides learners with the opportunity to teach other learners through discussions. It has nine components.
    1. affirm: “I like this part”;
    2. piggyback: add to the info provided;
    3. disagree: with the reason why;
    4. clarify: ask questions;
    5. followup: “this source claims this”;
    6. encourage participation: “Betty we haven’t heard from you, what do you think about…”;
    7. plan: “what are the next steps?”;
    8. summarize; and
    9. stay on task.
  • Can be synchronous or asynchronous.
  • Check in with groups regularly to see that they are on target and on task.

Review Activities

Benefits

  • Having learners active in their review gives them the opportunity to determine how much they know and understand in a no stakes environment.

Examples

Two Minute Memo
  • Choose a topic from your most recent class, lecture or readings and have learners write—continuously, for two minutes without editing.
  • Complete this at the end of a class.
  • have a checklist of items that should be included to share with the class after the exercise is complete.
Jeopardy Game
  • It is a fun way to review.
  • It gives instructors the opportunity to identify common misconceptions.
  • Have a variety of questions of varying degree of difficulty.
  • Keep it fun, but educational.
Visual Summary
Word Cloud
Polling
  • Polling is similar to clickers in the classroom.
  • Polling can be used in online rooms in Brightspace.
  • Polling provides learners and instructors an idea of if a concept was understood or not.
  • It can be anonymous.
  • Design the questions so they can be answered quickly.
Question Formulation Technique
Reflection
  • This are questions posed on the end of a class or topic that require learners to reflect on the meaning of the topic.
  • A way for learners to make the topic meaningful to them as individuals.
  • Usually completed asynchronously.
  • Reflection exercises can be done during class time or more effectively after class once students have had an opportunity to think about the class topic and what it means to them.
Interactive Learning Objects
  • Interactive learning objects engage the learner in critical thinking. Examples might be a branching story or a drag and drop exercise.
  • H5P Interactive Content can be used to create these objects.

References