How to Use Lecture Tutorials

Initial Publication Date: February 17, 2009

Step-By-Step How To

  1. Lecture on the material as usual. You can also just give an introduction of the background information that students need to know before beginning the Lecture Tutorial.
  2. Optional: Pose several well-designed, multiple-choice questions, such as Conceptest questions, for the students to gauge their understanding of the material. This also helps you see where the students are, and it helps to introduce the Lecture Tutorial.
  3. Have the students split into groups of 2-3 and work on the Lecture Tutorials. Wander around the room and answer their questions. In a large class, direct student groups to ask questions to other groups in the class, so they do not sit there stuck, waiting for you. Lecture Tutorials take 10-15 minutes for most students to complete.
  4. Review some of the main points of the Lecture Tutorial.
  5. Optional: Pose new multiple-choice questions to check if the students have the expected understanding of the information.
  6. Continue with lecture.

Helpful Hints

  • Begin using Lecture Tutorials during the very first week of the semester. If you wait until the middle of the semester and the students expect lecture, it generally does not work well to try to get them to interact.
  • Have the students introduce themselves to their partner/group the first couple of times using Lecture Tutorials. You may also want to require the students to change groups for the first week or two, so they meet more people in the class and find someone they want to work with.
  • Complete the Lecture Tutorials on your own before class to prepare you for possible questions.
  • At the beginning, to help motivate students, advise them that they are in charge of their own learning, and the Lecture Tutorials will help them learn. Also inform them that materials on the Lecture Tutorials will be on the exams (and make sure it is!). Let them know that they should use the Lecture Tutorials as study guides, but this only works if they put time and effort into answering the questions in class.
  • Wait for most students, but not necessarily all students, to finish the Lecture Tutorial before continuing. If some students do not finish, direct them to finish it on their own or come to your office hours.
  • When debriefing after the Lecture Tutorial, do not answer every question, or students will wait for your answer! Instead, pick a few questions that students had difficulties with. These questions can be the Student 1 vs. Student 2 debate questions, the last question on the Lecture Tutorial, and any other question that you learned groups had problems with as you were wandering the classroom. Alternatively, students or student groups can be called upon to offer ideas.
  • Include (and possibly emphasize) questions relating to Lecture Tutorials on your exams. The Lecture Tutorials are designed to give students practice answering higher level questions. It is a good idea to create new higher level questions such as the ones at the end of the Lecture Tutorials. Multiple choice questions not posed in class can be used as exam questions.