UW Continuum College Instructor Resources

Lecturing When Appropriate

While there must be some degree of lecturing in your classes, allot yourself a specified amount of time. For example, whenever students are exposed to new or unfamiliar material, it is good for the instructor to first present this information. The length of a lecture shouldn’t exceed 30 minutes.

However, the lecture method should not be one-sided recitation of new material to students. Find ways to connect with students while you share this new content.


Ask questions

It is important to slow down and punctuate your lectures with questions. Allowing students to interject with questions will help students clarify confusing points and/or help them better understand the materials.


Invite students to answer

After answering students’ questions, you can also encourage students to add on to your answers. Instructors can intentionally provide less complete answers and encourage students to fill in the missing gaps.


Vary the format

Do not rely solely upon one-way lecturing throughout the three-hour class. The most effective lectures are the ones that allow for student participation. Beyond this, varying instructional methodologies will significantly enhance the learning environment.


Engage Students

Students are often afraid to ask questions and need an open environment to feel comfortable speaking out. Actively engage students from the very first day of class so that they feel like they are equally responsible for contributing to the classroom environment.


Recognize students’ contributions

Do not merely encourage participation. Listen to students’ contributions, paraphrase and clarify when necessary. Students want to be heard, but they want their ideas to be valued too.


Video Resources

How to Keep Students’ Attention (4:00)