It has often been said that lecture is probably the most often used teaching method in higher education, in spite of the fact that it tends to result in less learning, or perhaps less higher order learning than other methods. Bligh (2000) provide evidence that lecture was as good as other methods if the primary goal was to transmit information, but less effective for inspiring interest in a topic, or teaching values or behavioral skills associated with a discipline.
In the past decade, there has been increasing interest in more active learning techniques, including the focus on learner-centered teaching, collaborative techniques, student engagement techniques, classroom assessment techniques and flipped classrooms. However, faculty often feel a need to cover a certain amount of content, or to “get through” the required material. Students are often more comfortable with a more passive role, and sometimes don’t have enough knowledge initially to participate in active techniques.
One solution is the mini-lecture, which can be used in both face-to-face and online settings. Typically the maximum time for a mini-lecture is 15 minutes, although shorter times are useful for online mini-lectures. You would typically want to chunk these around meaningful topics or content divisions.
Technology has brought us some convenient ways to organize and present our lectures (Powerpoint, Prezi and more), however it is important for use to think about how we design these materials. Some experts recommend that educators focus on using rich media such as images and videos within their powerpoints, and design their lectures in a manner that fosters student engagement (Christy Price, Averting Death by Powerpoint, presented at POD, 2013). Millennial students may especially benefit from media-rich and engaging content.
You might also be interested in learning about how to record mini-lectures or other materials for your classes (online classes, blended classes or face-to-face classes). This is easy to do using screencasting software.In our workshops, we have used Screencast-o-matic http://www.screencast-o-matic.com/ , an easy-to-use free program which allows you to record 15 minute segments, combining your screen with a webcam if desired. Faculty have been able to create basic screencasts in a matter of minutes. Planning recorded mini-lectures is advised – it is important to be organized, stay on track, use a logical sequence, and chunk materials into fairly short segments. It is also useful to develop a script for your screencast. This can be used to add a transcript or captions later – even if you do not stick to it strictly, it is better than starting from scratch when you need captions or transcripts.
You can use screencasting to provide a more personal connection with you in online classes – to introduce yourself to the class, to discuss difficult concepts, to give feedback on assignments, to explain a complex diagram or process and more. If you find yourself repeating the same explanation to more than one student, that might be a good topic for a screencast. If you can predict student difficulties, questions or concerns (about specific content, about course processes, about assignments), you can create screencasts with these answers, and refer students to these resources. Research at the University of Wisconsin-Stout has shown that students generally felt that recorded videos were valuable in helping them to understand and review content in science classes
Berk and Kirk (2013) Leveraging Recorded Mini-Lectures to Increase Student Learning, 29th Annual Conference on Distance Education and Learning
Bligh (2000) What’s the Use of Lecture, Jossey Bass
Price (2014) Creating Effective Mini-Lectures, 20 Minute Mentor from Magna Publications
Moore, E. (2013) Adapting PowerPoint Lectures for Online Delivery: Best Practices http://www.facultyfocus.com/articles/online-education/adapting-powerpoint-lectures-for-online-delivery-best-practices/
Price, C. (2014) Averting Death by Academic Powerpoint, Presented at POD Conference, 2013
Reynolds, G. (N.D.) Zen Presentations http://www.garrreynolds.com/preso-tips/design/ A
University of Central Florida Faculty Center for Teaching and Learning (n.d.) Effective Use of Powerpoint University of Central Florida. They provide three different versions of a powerpoint, from text heavy to image heavy. http://www.fctl.ucf.edu/teachingandlearningresources/technology/powerpoint/
firstname.lastname@example.org (2006) Familiar Image created for presentation called Death by PowerPoint. (Original image: www.flickr.com/photos/zen/241745451/sizes/o/#cc_license) CC-BY-SA 2.0
modified for presentation for presentation https://www.flickr.com/photos/fishbraintexas/3607335901/in/photolist-a8i3X3-4s5AA4-chQxab-7zoPR5-7zk3Wr-7zk3Se-4zBKB1-4cWpM7-8QMHoj-8QMHrq-739DZf-7CqCyb-7yExFN-7yAKb6-7yExVw-7yAK88-7yAKcF-dCJD3M-6uLxhz-499HAr-57a1uj