Lecturing is one of our core teaching activities, but at its core it places an assumption that it will work equally for all students. Inclusive lecturing is about trying to achieve this and in the article below, we set out some simple steps which make your lectures accessible to all.
Lecturing to take into account the widest possible range of student needs is likely to result in better learning. Doing this may involve doing things which many lecturers do not perceive as being part of the usual lecturing process. Not all of the suggestions below may be necessary all the time because what is recommended may not be needed for all students in a particular cohort, and/or after doing what is recommended at least once, students may understand and not need reminders. Of course, in other cases these reminders or repetitions may be helpful because they take into account the uneven process of learning.
Best Practice Tips
When preparing for a lecture follow these 7 easy steps:
- Make materials available at least 24 hours in advance, preferably one or two weeks if possible
- Make Powerpoint slides accessible, such as those from Webaim (below)
- Be audible
- Manage noise
- Keep to time
- Avoid cancellations or last-minute changes in content or venue.
- Record your lectures using Encore
Within the lecture:
- Provide students with an overview of lectures. As well as providing this online, it is also useful to provide a hard copy of this as a handout in the first session of a module as some students may not be confident about using University systems early on in their studies.
- At the beginning of each lecture, provide students with an overview of what you’re going to cover in that lecture. If you want to use a warm-up activity, provide this overview just after that, before the formal lecture begins.
- Try not to talk without breaking for a short activity for longer than 15-20 minutes; most people can’t maintain concentration for longer than this. However, a short break, say for a discussion activity or voting activity, can reset concentration, after which you can continue again with your lecture. This activity can also help you see what students have followed from what you’ve said and adapt accordingly.
- If you know a particular source is available in digital format via our Library or a particular database, mention this specifically.
- List pre-reading in two groups: essential reading and recommended reading. Ensure that the essential reading is manageable, given the level of students and their stage of learning.
- When lecturing and referring to any project (e.g. a research or business project) always make it clear who key stakeholders were (e.g. the name of the researchers or company) so that students can follow up and read more about this. In other words, don’t assume there is shared cultural knowledge.
- While lecturing, encourage students to ask questions either if they don’t understand, if they would like more information about a point or if they disagree with a point. Of course, you may wish to use specific timeslots to do this, or you may prefer to create a class ethos in which open interruptions are accepted as part of a dialogic form of lecturing.
- As well as using informal ways of inviting questions, also use more formal (structured) ways, e.g. by asking students to submit questions written out anonymously on strips of paper, via padlet or added to a class wiki.
- Provide summaries of key points to help students gain an overview.
- Provide suggestions for follow-up reading to enhance understanding and learning.
Resources and Further Reading
Harvard’s Universal Design for Learning.
Schoenborn, P., Miller, W., Sheret, K., and Hutchings, S. (2015) Untapped Knowledge: Learning from Student Enablers to develop inclusive practice guides.