Lectures (again)

May 06, 2013




Have been musing over the edmeded posts including mine.  I was talking to a group of students awhile back, quizzing them on why they went to lectures. In general they thought lectures were pretty bad, and for the bit of the course I deal with, some thought they were crazy. The problem is: they have one week of ~30 lectures, then split up into lots of small clinical groups, and only return to the clinical subject some of the lectures dealt with between 2 and 10 weeks later. This is of course not a sensible way to do things. Shall I repeat that: this is not…..

One of the students said he went to lectures because it was the best way to find out what they were expected to know. Here, lectures are a tedious and time consuming way to describe ‘learning outcomes’ ( I detest the phrase, not the idea). The problem is that this does not work well either: there is simply not enough time to lecture on all the subjects, on which students will be assessed in the exam. It is a mess.

What got me musing on this (and yes TIJABP) was the following:

Attempting to have slides serve both as projected visuals and as stand-alone handouts makes for bad visuals and bad documentation. Yet, this is a typical, acceptable approach. PowerPoint (or Keynote) is a tool for displaying visual information, information that helps you tell your story, make your case, or prove your point. PowerPoint is a terrible tool for making written documents, that’s what word processors are for.

Post by Jonathan Rees

Clinical academic and skin watcher at the University of Edinburgh

Leave a Reply