An online lecture, do or don’t?

With the current suspension of face-to-face education, lecturers are faced with the question: will I keep giving my lectures, and if so how? It can be helpful to consider the functions of lectures. Hanne ten Berge discusses five of them.

A lecture can serve several purposes:

1. Providing an overview of the subject matter

Students are often required to read several books, chapters, or articles. In a lecture you are able to provide a framework that helps students get a clear overview of the literature they are required to read for a course. You can highlight the importance of certain texts over others.

2. Connecting, broadening, and deepening several sources that students are studying

Authors contradict each other, write from different contexts, or give only part of the input for an issue. In a lecture you are able to create cohesion and provide a framework, indicate how different authors relate to each other and the scientific discourse, as well as broaden and deepen the knowledge students have gained through studying the sources. This also gives an opportunity for sharing recent developments which have not yet been published in an article that is easy easily accessible for students.

3. Clarifying difficult literature

A lecturer’s guiding hand, highlighting key points and clarifying where needed, is especially helpful to students when studying difficult literature.

4. Relating to practice

A lecture provides the opportunity to connect theory to practice by providing examples. This helps to indicate the relevance of the subject matter. The examples can be motivating to students and create a link to the assignments.

5. Inspiring enthusiasm and motivation

During a lecture, lecturers can clearly convey their enthusiasm for their subject and thus motivate students.