Response Lecture (Online)

What is it? 

During a response or interaction lecture, students discuss and delve into structured subject matter, they answer questions related to this subject matter and, conversely, you offer them an explicit opportunity to ask you, the teacher, about any uncertainties. Since a response lecture falls under the heading of activating teaching methods, the students must study the necessary material in preparation. A response lecture wants to stimulate students to actively process the study material (independently or in group) and it allows teachers to follow up the learning process. 

When do you use response lectures? 

You can use a response lecture in different ways and at different times: 

  • As part of a flipped classroom. In the run-up to the response lecture, let the students acquire specific knowledge, do exercises or assignments etc. Depending on the nature of your profession, you can even make it a weekly habit. 
  • As part of a learning path. A learning path consists of consecutive learning activities, offered in an online learning environment. The response lecture can be one of them. 
  • With a difficult concept. Does a theory or concept invariably lead to the same questions that require a lot of class time? Consider offering this via a knowledge clip and answering additional questions and providing further explanation during the response lecture. Students can then watch the clip again afterwards. 
  • At the end of a course. Organize your last class based on questions you collect from your students beforehand. 
  • In the context of collective feedback. For example, organize a response lecture (based on questions from the students) after a task, assignment or exam. 

How do you use response lectures? 

Ahead of your class, you provide your students with material that they have to process in the run-up to the response lecture. Think of teaching materials and knowledge clips that explain factual knowledge, simple concepts or procedures. Good preparation by the students increases the extent to which they can actively participate during the response lecture. 

Provide a mechanism to see if students have understood the material. For example, link some first applications to it via a small assignment or quiz. You can then immediately return to the results in the response lecture. 

Clearly and sufficiently communicate in advance what exactly you expect. Allow enough time in students’ class schedules so that they can prepare. Provide the necessary incentives for your students to appear prepared in the response lecture. For example, you can work with a score (for a preparatory assignment, for active participation, for a quiz or test, etc.) or with the promise of (personal) feedback when making the preparation. More permanent assessment leads to a better distribution of studies, which in turn ensures that students learn more deeply, resulting in better retention. Feedback (both constructive criticism and positive reinforcement) is an engine of deep learning. 

During the response lecture itself, you provide learning activities that focus on higher cognitive levels (applying, analyzing, evaluating, creating). Challenge students to partially process the subject matter during the response lecture. For example, think of: 

  • Let students ask questions in a question round (analyzing) 
  • Let students answer each other’s questions (applying) 
  • Solve and correct an assignment (possibly prepared at home) or test together (applying, assessing) 
  • Let students compare their solutions with their peers (analyzing) 
  • Give them assessment criteria (assessing) 
  • Let them create new exercises (applying, creating) 
  • Let them solve old examination questions (applying) 


Do’s & Don’ts 

  • Transparency is an important condition to let students learn more in depth. Therefore, clearly communicate the expectations/requirements regarding the prior knowledge that you expect from the student, the goals that the student must achieve and how those goals translate into assessment criteria. 
  • Make sure students come to class prepared. To do this, use the tips to get students to come to class prepared
  • Do not answer elementary questions that show insufficient preparation. 
  • Avoid repeating content that students had to prepare themselves during the response lecture, as this will motivate them to come to class prepared the next time. 
  • The yield of a response lecture is partly determined by the preparation, cooperation and request for oral feedback from the student. Make students aware of this. 
  • The efficiency of a response lecture decreases when students perceive an excessive workload as a result of the activating teaching method or when the goals of the learning activities are insufficiently clear. 

Which tools can you use? 

The preparation for the response lecture can be done asynchronously: 

UGent Practices

Last modified Dec. 1, 2021, 3:30 p.m.