Research shows many benefits of both lectures and seminars. Lectures present up-to-date information on a topic, something that it is very difficult for a textbook to do. Lectures have the ability to summarize material obtained from many different sources. Lectures are adaptive in nature, in that the lecturer is able to fit the material being presented to the interest of the students in the class. Lectures also can be helpful in aiding the students to read more effectively and to direct them to key concepts, principles, or ideas on which to focus.
Lecture Ideas and Variations
P.J. Frederick wrote an excellent article for College Teaching in 1986 on "The Lively Lecture: 8 Variations." The variations are listed below.
Seminars, particularly first-year seminars, have a little different focus but can be extremely useful as well. Specifically, first-year seminars should be focused on helping students smoothly transition from high school to college, and helping them to create useful academic skills. These seminars are the perfect place to foster important faculty-student interactions, which will then extend throughout the career of the student (McKeachie, W.J., & Svinicki, M. McKeachie�s Teaching Tips; Erickson, B.L., Peters, C.B., & Strommer, D.W. The Guide for Teaching First-Year Students).
From our library--
Henscheid, J.M. (2000). Professing the disciplines: An analysis of senior seminars and capstone courses (monograph no. 30). Columbia, SC: University of South Carolina Press.
Stanley, C.A., & Porter, M.E. (2002). Engaging large classes: Strategies and techniques. Bolton, MA: Anker Publishing.
Teaching Tip Engaging students
Online Resources: Tips and Strategies
Designing Smart Lectures, an excellent 6-part tutorial from the Univ of Minnesota Center for Teaching & Learning. (one of the best academic sites for college teachers)
An excellent resource page on multidiciplinary approaches to lecturing from the Centre for Sociology, Anthropology, and Politics.
The Change-Up in Lectures provides sound strategies for updating your lecture style to include more active components.
"Many of our colleagues also report that when they intersperse mini�lectures with active engagement for students for as brief a time as two to five minutes, students seem re�energized for the next 15 to 20 minute mini�lecture."
Online Publications: Viewpoints, Articles, Books...Tips for Teachers: 20 Ways to Make Lectures More Participatory, Harvard's Derek Bok Center. " ...it often enhances both your presentation of the material and students� learning when students are able to participate in some way. When students engage actively with material, they generally understand it better and remember it longer."