Research update, and more on lecture format

A quick post this morning, because I’m off for a few days holiday this afternoon!

I’m pleased to say that on Tuesday I heard from Optical Materials that the paper I mentioned in my ‘research review’ post had been accepted without changes. That’s a relief, because this is the paper that introduces the technique (the concentration dependence of doping in materials). So with this paper accepted, our subsequent papers have a more secure foundation.

The other thing I was going to mention was that,  when I visited the University of Bradford on Monday for a meeting about the forthcoming Science Festival, I had an interesting chat with some colleagues there who teach on their Chemistry course, and at least one said that he gives the students a couple of breaks during his lectures. This ties in with my view that a 50 minute lecture is no longer compatible with most students’ concentration spans. I’m thinking of doing something like that myself next year, and I’ve also had an idea for how to start my lectures rather than fumbling around with my laptop and the data projector for 5 minutes! But more of that in a later post.

I’m looking forward to a few days in Brussels, and then my annual ‘pilgrimage’ to the GBBF. I’ll be reporting on the GBBF in a future post.

4 thoughts on “Research update, and more on lecture format”

  1. I think lectures with gaps or divided into subsections with intervals or big changes of pace are the way forward.

    For a 1st-year module this year I tried routinely breaking the 50-minute lectures into the following blocks as i designed them:

    5 minutes doing something striking at the start to create a “teachable moment” (get their interest)
    15 minutes or so on the core content of the day
    5 minutes gap during which they were encouraged to think of any questions they wanted to ask but could just relax if they preferred
    15 minutes or so for a big case-study example or illustration related to the core content
    10 minutes for students’ questions and a sum-up, sometimes in the form of a quick self-assessed reflection test

    The biggest problem was sticking to my own schedule and not just rambling on like I usually do!

  2. Thanks for these suggestions, Peter. The ‘doing something striking at the beginning’ could be a challenge for some of my modules, but it gives me something to think about! I’ll definitely be dividing lectures into sections. We’ll see how it goes!

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