Book stackThese resources for planning successful and effective lectures come from the University of Minnesota‘s Center for Teaching and Learning, a free source of great information about undergraduate instruction available to those within and beyond the University. They offer a number of resources on ‘Designing Smart Lectures,’ but today we’ll focus on lecture planning and delivery. 

3 important things to keep in mind when planning for the lecture:

  • Articulate the goals for every lecture to yourself, and plan to share those goals with your students at the beginning of your presentation
  • Determine which key points can be effectively developed during the class session
  • Develop an introduction, body, and conclusion to your lecture to meet those goals and to help your students follow your thoughts

Specific tips on lecture organization:

  • Stick to 3-4 main points in a 50-minute period
  • Vary your format of presenting every 15 minutes
  • Organize material in logical order:

Cause-Effect: Events are cited and explained (i.e., one can demonstrate how the continental revolutionary movements of the late 1700’s affected British politics at the turn of the century).

Time sequential: Lecture ideas are arranged chronologically (i.e., a lecturer explaining the steps in a clinical supervision model, talks about the first step to be undertaken, the second step, and so forth).

Topical (Compare and Contrast): Related elements of various selected topics are focused on successively (i.e., a professor lecturing about etiologies, typical histories, and predisposing factors of various diseases).

Problem-solution: The statement of a problem is followed by alternate solutions (i.e., a lecture on the Cuban missile crisis could begin with a statement of the foreign policy problem followed by a presentation of the alternative solutions available to President

Pro-Con: A two-sided discussion of agiven topic is presented (i.e., the lecture is organized around the advantages and disadvantages of using the lecture method of instruction)

Ascending-Descending: Lecture topics are arranged according to their importance familiarity, or complexity (i.e., in a lecture introducing students to animal diseases, the diseases of primary importance could be discussed first, the tertiary/less important ones last)