October 15, 2019
Volume 4, Number 5
Can The Lecture Be Saved?
Do you feel guilty when you lecture? Perhaps you’re afraid that you’re shortchanging students. That, instead, you should be flipping your classroom and getting “active” through group exercises. But really, aren’t there times when you just want to tell your students what they need to know?

Fear no more. Claire Major is here to tell you that lecturing is fine. In fact, it’s often crucial to a successful class. The key, says Major, a professor of higher education administration at the University of Alabama, is to make it interactive.
In the “pedagogical cage match” between lecturing and active learning, says Major, who speaks and writes frequently about teaching, the traditional lecture loses out because it is often misunderstood. Most professors don’t pontificate from the moment class starts to the minute it ends, but lecturing is often portrayed that way.

“I think people are tired of lecture being slammed so hard,” she says. “The way articles are positioned: ‘Active learning wins.’ ‘Lectures are unfair or unethical.’ Well, what kind of lecture are you talking about?”

In reality, she says, instructors often break up their lectures with other activities. The key to successful lecturing, says Major, is to design activities that reinforce what students learn through the lecture, and encourage them to apply it. Hence the term she likes to use: interactive lecturing.

I first heard Major speak at the Teaching Professor annual conference earlier this year, where she described how to structure an interactive lecture. The room was packed: Clearly her message has touched a nerve among instructors. I followed up by phone last month to ask her to elaborate on some of her ideas.

Major describes her own teaching style as one she developed through trial, error, and a lot of reading. Like many academics when they first start out, she didn’t know a whole lot about teaching. But as a “windshield warrior” whose early days were spent at a range of institutions — two- and four-year, public and private — Major started to assemble strategies that kept students engaged and learning. You can find some of her techniques in  this chart .

While there’s no one-size-fits-all strategy, Major finds it helpful to group her techniques into three categories, and makes sure she gets to all three during each class.

* Bookends  are used to begin and end class. At the start, for example, you might ask students to write a note to an imaginary classmate who missed the last class, summarizing what was covered.This helps them recall and synthesize information and primes them to learn.

* Overlays  encourage students to pay attention during the lecture portion of class. You might hand out a worksheet with a series of questions they can answer by listening to your talk.

* Interleaves  are used to help students apply what they just learned. The common think-pair-share exercise, in which students gather in small groups to answer a question individually and share their answers, encourages them to use and reframe information, which they are then more likely to remember.

Major, who teaches graduate students these days, gives examples from her own work. In one three-hour class, she says, she may do the following in this order:

*Give students a partial sentence that prompts them to predict part of her upcoming lecture.

*Lecture with guided notes. Students are given a handout summarizing key points in the lecture, but with blank spaces that they need to fill in as they go along.

*Ask students to write a one-sentence summary of what they just heard.

*Provide or ask for a real-world application of a point made during the lecture.
*Lecture with guided notes.

*Use a lecture wrapper. Ask students to summarize the most important points of the lecture, then review those summaries together. (You can also ask students what they found most confusing and review that as well.)

Major also advises faculty members to avoid packing in too many activities. A class should not feel like a forced march. “You need some quiet time and some thought,” she says. “Even silence, which I know can be uncomfortable at times but can be pretty powerful.”

Also, not all activities are created equal. The dreaded icebreaker is not really active learning. Nor is a free-for-all discussion. Some structure and clear goals are necessary. “I think, What do I want them to walk away with?” Major says, about how she plans out each class. “Then I figure out the best way to get there.”

Major hopes her strategies will help reduce the anxiety faculty members often feel around active learning, while also acknowledging the value of the lecture.
“Telling faculty to drop everything and use active learning all the time just doesn’t work.” But if they can augment lectures with some of these active-learning strategies, she says, “they’re going to be more comfortable with the results.”

For more tips on active lecturing, Major and her frequent collaborator, Elizabeth F. Barkley, a professor of music history at Foothill College, have put together short videos at their  K. Patricia Cross Academy .

Do you use active lecturing in your class? Drop me a line at  beth.mcmurtrie@chronicle.com  and tell me your story. It may appear in a future newsletter.

– by Beth McMurtie, Teaching Newsletter: The Chronicle of Higher Education.

Thanks for reading Teaching. If you have suggestions or ideas, please feel free to email us at   dan.berrett@chronicle.combeth.mcmurtrie@chronicle.com, or  beckie.supiano@chronicle.com. If you have been forwarded this newsletter and would like to sign up to receive your own copy, you can do so here .
Trust: Gather & Share Event
The FCTL is offering "  Gather & Share  " events on the 1st Monday of each month, from 3:45pm - 4:45pm in ADUC 310. The objective is to have a "topic" area and share a couple of ideas and then have folks gather and share about the topic.

The Next Gather & Share Event:
Topic: Trust
When: Monday, November 4, 2019; 3:45pm – 4:45pm
Where: ADUC 310
Educator: FCTL
Synopsis: Join FCTL in exploring “Curiosity” at this “Gather & Share” event. Come ready to “chat it up” with your colleagues on this important topic. Refreshments will be served.
Blackboard Buzz
How to Create an Item Statistics Report
Do you know that your students have not looked at the material as required? Do you want to know how the popularity of your course information? Create an item statistics report and see the situation.

Item statistics provide detailed usage information about your content. You can enable statistics tracking at any time, and begin collecting data from that moment on.

This tutorial video on YouTube will show you how to access statistics tracking, turn it on for a content item, and view the statistics report. Email msuonline@moreheadstate.edu for additional information and on-campus support.
What I Love About Teaching Campaign
Hello Educators!

We are looking for your response to the question "What do you love about teaching?"

Click the link below to share your response:
KOSS (Kentucky Organization for Student Success)
KOSS Conference, October 24-25, 2019, at the Historic Boone Tavern Hotel in Berea. For more information, checkout their FaceBook page:
19th Annual  Posters-at-the-Capitol
March 5th, Frankfort

(You must create an account to register)
Participants click  Poster Presentations: Conceptualizing, Construction and Critiquing  for general advice on preparing a research poster.
Posters-at-the-Capitol  an event hosted collaboratively by Eastern Kentucky University, Kentucky Community and Technical College System, Kentucky State University, Morehead State University, Murray State University, Northern Kentucky University, University of Kentucky, University of Louisville, and Western Kentucky University, is intended to help members of Kentucky’s legislature and the Governor better understand the importance of involving undergraduates in research, scholarly, and creative work. It provides undergraduates with the opportunity to engage in scholarship, research, and creative work that is important to their educational experience and professional development. We encourage faculty to have their students participate in  Posters-at-the-Capitol to help those in Kentucky who fund higher education understand why these experiences are so important. 
12th Annual Conference on

Higher Education Pedagogy

 February 5-7, 2020  

Virginia Tech /   Blacksburg, Virginia, USA

Registration will open in October. For information about conference registration and associated fees, visit the conference website:  https://chep.teaching.vt.edu/
Ambassadors for Excellence in Teaching
Morehead State University