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In Defense Of Lecture: Using Technology Inside And Outside The Classroom

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2005 Annual Conference


Portland, Oregon

Publication Date

June 12, 2005

Start Date

June 12, 2005

End Date

June 15, 2005



Conference Session

Interactive Technology in the Classroom

Page Count


Page Numbers

10.736.1 - 10.736.6



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Paper Authors

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James Rogers

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J. Ricky Cox

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NOTE: The first page of text has been automatically extracted and included below in lieu of an abstract

In Defense of Lecture: Using Technology Inside and Outside the Classroom

James W. Rogers, James R. Cox Dept. of Physics & Engineering / Dept. of Chemistry Murray State University Murray, Kentucky


In recent years, the lecture format has been the subject of numerous criticisms and cast aside as an old-style pedagogical method that has no place in the modern college classroom. One reason that lecture has gained such a bad reputation among many in the educational community is the idea of providing a “learning-centered” approach in the classroom. In 1995, Barr and Tagg described a paradigm shift in higher education where institutions should exist to produce learning rather than to provide instruction1. Since this article, there have been many initiatives that have embraced this learning-centered approach. A few examples include Greater Expectations2 and the Pew Grant Program in Course Redesign3. Note that ABET’s Criterion 2000 is an example of this paradigm shift as engineering programs must now assess how well students are learning and not what we as instructors are teaching.

An important question that should be addressed is the role of the lecture format in the learning paradigm. Many individuals in this reform movement have used terms and words such as “sage on the stage” and “passive” in regards to the lecture format. However, we strongly disagree with this classification of lecture and believe that lecture is a vital tool for instruction, including learning-centered instruction, in technical courses including engineering and chemistry. Certainly, the lecture format has its share of problems; and we personally believe that a balance of lecture and inquiry-based approaches (foundation of learning paradigm) has proven the most effective structure for our courses, especially in introductory courses. Some of the more notable problems associated with the lecture format are that students tend to take many more notes at the beginning of lecture than they do toward the end of lecture and that students lack the ability to take accurate notes. We are not convinced that instructors truly appreciate the magnitude of the note-taking problem, especially at regional universities with students that have diverse educational backgrounds.

This paper discusses how we have used a Tablet PC both inside and outside the classroom to improve teaching effectiveness and student learning. While we believe that “low-tech” instruction using chalk on a blackboard can be an effective teaching method, we have both become frustrated with the challenges that this type of lecture format presents. Some specific examples of challenges that we have faced in engineering, physics, and chemistry courses include writing many long derivations with complex equations, struggling to draw complicated three-dimensional geometries, and writing long problem statements for examples to be worked in class.

Proceedings of the 2005 American Society for Engineering Education Annual Conference & Exposition Copyright © 2005, American Society for Engineering Education

Rogers, J., & Cox, J. R. (2005, June), In Defense Of Lecture: Using Technology Inside And Outside The Classroom Paper presented at 2005 Annual Conference, Portland, Oregon. 10.18260/1-2--15318

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