Stimulation the student to be active during the lectures

Posted by Katalin Várnagy, on Oct. 6, 2022, 9:50 a.m.

Katalin Várnagy

Faculty of Science and Technology, University of Debrecen, Hungary


Challenge and goal

One form of knowledge transfer is the lecture, in which the lecturer imparts the knowledge and the students are practically passive participants. This method is particularly common in that lectures, where the number of students are large (100-200 students). However, the students often do not follow the lecture, which can be a disadvantage later on when they are processing the material and preparing for the exams.

Goal: To use methods to engage students in lectures with large numbers of students, and increase students’ activity

Topic of the user case

Arousing and maintaining the interest of non-chemistry students during the „Introduction to chemistry” lecture, possible methods to increase students’ activity.

Local context (specific)

The „Introduction to chemistry” lecture is a mandatory lecture for students of natural science majors (biology, geography, earth sciences, physics). Chemistry is not their main field, many of them do not show any interest in the subject and have a poor basic knowledge of chemistry. Making the lecture - at least partly - interactive would help to get the students interested, maybe they would show a little more interest in chemistry.

Local educational scope

The CPD activity concerns academic teachers who are involved in the teaching of non-chemists, science students in BSc level. The Introduction to chemistry course is taught by several instructors, according to topics.

Pre-knowledge / Background of the participating local teaching staff

The academic teachers are not required to have a pedagogical qualification or to have completed a pedagogical course. Thus, introducing them to the different interactive teaching methods and showing options that can be used in the lecture can help them to improve the quality of their teaching.

Local CPD goals

The academic teachers involved should be motivated/able to improve their lecture varied, interesting.

Needs defined in STEM-CPD Roadmap

9 give prompt feedback and support students during learning
14 teach large groups of students
16 design interactive lectures
19 design active learning classes / sessions using digital technology
4 engage students and arouse interest for the discipline in the class
11 stimulate discussion
25 use interactive online boards for teaching and learning
30 make/produce short MOOCs
1 reading books / journal articles on teaching and learning in HE.

CPD activities at the local university

  • Meeting and consultation with the lecturers involved in teaching the course on the tasks.
  • Developing teaching elements that students can be engaged (e.g. perform demonstration experiments, presentation of a given topic by a student, online exercises - using microMOOC during lectures, etc.)
  • Looking for examples of in the literature (even which are used in secondary schools)
  • Testing and improving these teaching elements.
  • Discussion of the experiences gathered by the lecturer.
  • Incorporating the elements functioning well into the lectures.

Teaching and learning materials

  • Collecting and testing experiments for demonstration that can be presented during the lectures
  • Selecting experiments that can be presented by a student
  • Collecting optional topics for the students (topics related to their daily life and their chosen major). The students will prepare a short presentation and present it during the lectures.
  • Processing the relevant literature
  • Develop and test exercises to be carried out in an online interface that can be integrated into the lecture


Sustainable implementation


Expected impact of the CPD User Case

For academic teachers: learn and apply teaching methods in their lectures that make the lecture varied, interesting and therefore easier to learn

For students: by diversifying the lectures, they become more interested in chemistry and more willing to attend the lectures. This helps them to master the subject, pass exams and understand the relationship of chemistry to other natural sciences.

Plans for eventual continuation of the CPD within the same topic

The motivational elements that have been successful in activating students are also used in other courses for chemical and chemical engineering students.

Competence teaching, Competence design interactive teaching, Engagement and motivation, facilitation discipline specific learning, Deep learning, Use of digital tools for a pedagogical goal (type P1-2a, P1-2b, P1-3b, P1-3c, P1-4a)

This CPD scenario describes a User case in which lecturers develop their competence in teaching in higher education and designing interactive teaching and how to engage and motivate students and how to facilitate discipline specific thinking and how to facilitate student’s deep learning and development of higher cognitive skills and how to use specific digital tools in teaching for a pedagogical goal.
The approximate duration of a User case that follows this scenario is several weeks.
In this CPD scenario the participants are using a very short open online course, a micro mooc (μmooc) and professionalize in a close connection to their own teaching practice (at their workplace) and meet in person on location with the training staff and with other participants.

Learning environment
Several weeks

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