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Making the Lecture Work in the Learning-Centered Classroom


Of the teaching workshops sponsored by the Center for Teaching Excellence in January, 2005,   the one that drew the most interest by far was entitled “The 20-minute Lecture, Then What?” The interest stemmed from a dilemma many faculty face in the era of what has been called “the learning paradigm.”

The “paradigm shift” alluded to is described by Barr and Tagg:   “ In its briefest form, the paradigm that has governed our colleges is this: A college is an institution that exists to provide instruction . Subtly but profoundly we are shifting to a new paradigm A college is an institution that exists to produce learning. This shift changes everything. It is both needed and wanted.”

The dilemma has to do with the recognition that lecturing is a carry-over from the old, often maligned “teaching paradigm.”   As such, the lecture is associated with passive learning, wherein the professor assumes the role of the “sage on the stage.”   And yet in some situations in many disciplines, nothing works like the lecture for conveying information or for making connections quickly and efficiently.   Hence, the large turnout at a workshop aimed at making the lecture part of a larger, active learning environment rather than consigning it to the dustbin of pedagogical history.

Much research has gone into finding ways to make the lecture “work” by making it interactive.   Below is a list of WEB sites that offer ideas and techniques for making it happen.

“What is Interactive Lecture?”:

“Enhanced Lecture Formats”:

"The Interactive Lecture":

“Transforming the lecture-hall environment: The fully interactive physics lecture”:

“The ‘Change-up' in Lectures”:

"Delivering Lectures":