In a world inundated with technology, educational institutions are turning their classrooms virtual. That means that with the sophistication in communication tools, rather than going to campus to attend a lecture and study, you simply attend class at home over the Internet. It means that your coursework may even be done online and the only time you need to go to campus is for study help, work in the library or write the exam.
Educational institutions see this as the future way to conduct a classroom lecture. But is this what the majority of students studying in Canada or elsewhere want? What do students like?
Concordia University in Canada did a major cross-country study of this issue. Twelve universities in Canada, which included over 15,000 students and 2600 instructors, took part in this study.
The overwhelming result from the study showed that teachers thought that the use of interactive, discussion based activities was what students wanted and best learned from. Conversely, students studying in Canada prefer the old fashion lecture over other teaching methodologies and regardless of technologies such as ICTs in the classroom. Students studying at post-secondary institutions in Canada say that they prefer an engaging and stimulating lectures and this is what determines their appreciation of the courses they study.
Their lack of enthusiasm for inductive teaching methodologies and E-learning, on the part of students studying at major institutions in Canada, was a surprising result for the researchers conducting the study. The results don’t say that educational institutions need to forsake E-learning applications, but what the study does indicate is that they need to incorporate engaging lectures into their methodologies and Internet teaching modules.
The adage, “the first impression is the last impression” is equally true when giving a lecture. How the professor introduces himself in the first few minutes, how he talks, how he walks and how he says it; says more to the students than the actual words he speaks. We speak with our words, but we communicate with our whole body. Therefore the right balance of non-verbal cues and intonations must be worked into the lecture because these convey the message more powerfully then our words. Every professor should consider his platform a show; entertainment, not study is the name of the game. A good lecturer can move his students from the entertainment mode to the study mode.
Additionally the lecturer needs to work engaging aspects into his lectures; eye contact, rhetoric questions, sign posts, repetition, etc. Smiles and enthusiasm work well in providing an engaging and stimulating presentation. Students do not learn from a boring lecture that is read – it is neither stimulating nor engaging. A professor should prepare the lecture, study the discourse and then speak enthusiastically about the topic. A lecturer, who is enthusiastic about his subject matter, will excite students about the topic as well.
If a professor wants to become a better lecturer, he should take a Presentation Skills Building course. Lecturers can videotape their own lectures and then study them to learn what was done well and where improvement needs to be worked into the presentations. There are also good lectures by great lecturers on the Internet that one can study to learn how these good lecturers presented result oriented lectures.
Having said all that, Canada does have excellent lecturers. As a graduate from a major university in Canada, I can vouch for that. While studying in Canada, I learned a lot from my professors and did not have to rely on self-study alone. In fact, most of my professors were memorable in that they did provide interesting and engaging lectures.
So, if you are planning on studying in Canada, rest assured that we have some of the best lecturers in the world. You will find a meaningful and enjoyable experience at any university or college you may study at.