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Research on the student and staff experience of lectures. Margaret O’Quigley Undertaken Nov 2009-March 2010. Original Idea: Examine the student view of their lectures. Particular focus on PowerPoint How effective is PP? How effective are lectures themselves?

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research on the student and staff experience of lectures

Research on the student and staff experience of lectures

Margaret O’Quigley

Undertaken Nov 2009-March 2010

original idea examine the student view of their lectures
Original Idea: Examine the student view of their lectures
  • Particular focus on PowerPoint
  • How effective is PP?
  • How effective are lectures themselves?
  • Do different student groups respond differently?
background to lecture research
Background to lecture research
  • A host of national reports in the 1980’s challenged universities to change from their traditional approaches so that students would be transformed from passive listeners to active learners.
  • “Learning is not a spectator sport. Students do not learn much just by sitting in class listening to lecturers” (Chickering and Gamson, 1987)
  • Response from universities seems to have been to make a PP presentation the default position.
importance of lectures to the student
Importance of lectures to the student?
  • In a 3 year undergraduate course at ARU a typical student will take 288 hours of lectures
  • 384 hours of tutorials
importance of lectures to the lecturer
Importance of lectures to the lecturer?
  • Lecturers at ARU do broadly 3 things:

Teaching

Research

Admin-management

  • Are all three equally valued?
why good teaching matters
Why good teaching matters
  • Good teaching:
  • Increases motivation
  • Engenders positive attitudes to learning
  • Leads to a decrease in absenteeism
  • Will lead to students achieving more
  • May improve module evaluation
original approach
Original Approach
  • Observation of lectures
  • Statistical collection of data
  • Questionnaire to students

Immediately after lecture/one week later

  • Questionnaire to staff
  • Focus groups
slide8
BUT
  • Sent email to all lecturers in Business School
  • Few lecturers were willing to participate
  • Quickly realised observation changed the experience
questionnaire design
Questionnaire Design
  • Widened interest to view of lectures/seminars in general as well as PowerPoint in particular
  • Questionnaire given to both staff and students
respondents students
Respondents: Students

English 1stLang: 62%

137 replied

  • Under 21: 45%
  • 21-30 42%
  • Over 31 12%
  • UK: 62%
  • EU: 27%
  • Int: 10%

Cambridge: 32%

Chelmsford: 65%

  • Female: 59%
  • Male: 41%
respondents staff
Respondents: Staff

32 replied

  • Under 25 0%
  • 25-40 9%
  • 41-50 38%
  • Over 50 50%
  • F/T: 75%
  • P/T: 20%
  • Female: 38%
  • Male: 59%
  • Chelmsford: 60%
  • Cambridge: 25%
respondents staff12
Respondents: Staff
  • Years at ARU

<5 9%

6-10 31%

11-15 25%

15+ 33%

ethical issue
Ethical Issue
  • Staff Named:
  • To tell them or not to tell them?
findings perceptions of students v lecturers
Findings: Perceptions of Students v Lecturers.
  • Agree/Strongly agree: (%)

Stud Staff

  • Look Forward to lectures 66 87
  • Lectures are stimulating 58 80
  • Lectures help me understand 76 100
  • Behaviour of stud’s a prob’ 65 34
  • Tut’s more effective than lect’s 66 58
differences between views of staff and students
Differences between views of staff and students

Words to describe your lecturesStudents Staff

“Inspiring” 18% 25%

“Stimulating” 26% 60%

“Death by PowerPoint” 25% 0%

some other views of students
Some other views of students
  • 41% viewed lectures as boring
  • 32% find it hard to concentrate for 1 hour
  • 26% do not look forward to lectures
  • 38% think lecturers speak too quickly
  • 46% believe that they have attended more than one memorable lecture
  • 62% found lectures helpful
why students find their lectures memorable
Why Students find their lectures memorable
  • Enthusiasm of lecturer
  • Personality of lecturer
  • Real examples
  • Jokes
  • Subject itself
  • For negative reasons
student experience of powerpoint
Student experience of PowerPoint
  • PowerPoint could be a great tool 83%
  • Just reads the slides 20%
  • Too much info’ on each slide 20%
  • Too many slides 34%
  • Find slides hard to read 20%
42 free text comments on pp
42 Free text comments on PP
  • Over use/over reliance
  • Poor/ineffective use
  • Poor lecturers hide behind PP
staff views on pp
Staff views on PP
  • Usually use PP 78%
  • “Just a fancy overhead” 25%
  • PP overused 91%
  • Can be a powerful learning tool 85%
staff if you don t use pp why not
Staff: If you don’t use PP, why not?
  • Lack of internet connection 28%
  • Lack of expertise 16%
  • Technology unreliable 25%
  • Technological support unreliable 25%
  • Trad’ methods more effective 10%
staff training on pp
Staff: Training on PP
  • Zero/Self taught 70%
  • Some but minimal 10%
  • Yes, ECDL 9%
  • Not answered 9%
reasons given by lecturers on why pp is best way to lecture
Reasons given by lecturers on why PP is best way to lecture
  • You can cover more course content in the time available
  • Devising alternative active learning strategies takes too

much time

  • Large class sizes means PP is the only practical method
  • There is a lack of materials/technology needed to support

alternative approaches

  • Students are reluctant to participate in more active

methods

some conclusions
Some conclusions
  • Both students and staff generally enjoy the experience of lectures
  • There are some clear differences between the perceptions of staff and those of students with staff being more positive
  • Staff lack training on use of PP.
  • Behaviour of some students is having a negative effect on the experience of other students. This is underestimated by staff
more conclusions
More conclusions
  • Technology is perceived as being unreliable
  • PP is useful but not the answer to producing an effective lecture. Alternatives should be considered.
  • We need to be aware of the research on students’ attention span
  • Implications if it is true that the most important factor in a memorable lecture is the enthusiasm and personality of lecturer?