Expert Discusses Lecture–Free Teaching

by Allison Fitch-Markham

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content imageOn February 3 and 4, the Teaching & Learning Centre welcomed Dr. Bonnie Wood, a specialist in lecture–free teaching, for a two–day information session and workshop. Over 60 university faculty members attended the event to hear Dr. Wood share her seven steps educators can use to develop lecture–free classes.

During the first day of the program, Dr. Wood discussed methods and techniques to transform lecture–based courses into lecture–free classrooms without sacrificing course content. The second day involved a three–hour workshop with a hands–on practicum and simulation in which workshop attendees assumed the role of students. For those educators who are hesitant about moving to a completely lecture–free class format, Dr. Wood also provided tips to incorporate lecture–free teaching methods using a combination of brief lectures and active learning exercises for students.

Dr. Wood initially developed her lecture–free teaching concepts to help her undergraduate Biology students think more critically about science and better apply their knowledge. Using her sabbatical time, she researched innovative teaching methods and then redesigned her courses to be “lecture free” by using active learning rather than her former didactic pedagogy. For example, she integrated the lecture and laboratory sections of her sciences classes into what she describes as participative class meetings. Complementing the lecture–free format, Dr. Wood”s students are also required to engage in inquiry–based learning by seeking out new ways to apply science, formulating their own hypotheses, and independently researching answers to problems.

While Dr. Wood uses her Biology courses to illustrate her ideas, these concepts can easily be incorporated into any classroom subject. For more information on how the Teaching & Learning Centre can advise on different teaching and learning methods and applications, please see http://commons.ucalgary.ca/teachingprograms/index.php. Dr. Bonnie Wood’s visit was made possible by funding from the Teaching & Learning Centre as part of its ongoing effort to inform the academic community about innovative teaching methods.

Read the OnCampus Article | View the Video | Read the Testimonial

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