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Large Group Teaching

NEW: A vision for education and skills at Newcastle University: Education for Life 2030+

Large Group Teaching

At Newcastle University large group teaching most commonly takes place in lectures. There is no fixed definition of what “large group” means – though many suggest that a group bigger than 30 is a large group. Over this size, it becomes difficult to facilitate whole class discussion and it is more challenging to check that students are involved and following the teaching session.

Lectures – Scheduled Teaching

Planning lectures

A good lecture will stimulate curiosity and convey your interest and enthusiasm for your subject. In your preparation, you will need to consider your student’s familiarity with the material and how best to present the content in a way that they will follow. 

At the start, find ways to make links with prior knowledge; this could be a recap on the previous lecture or a real world example to build on.

It is challenging to maintain attention for a full hour, so plan in changes of pace or activity to help your students maintain focus and concentration. Simple techniques include:

  • Short discussions / problem-solving in twos or threes
  • Anonymous polls / quizzes using classroom technologies like OMBEA
  • Short video clips or animations

Providing slides or notes on Canvas before the lecture will support students in their notetaking and will be a vital for students with additional support needs.

Teaching room equipment

As part of your preparation, make sure you are familiar with any new technologies you need to use. NUIT use standard equipment in teaching rooms and their AV team can support your use of in-venue facilities. You may need to: adjust audio playback for any sound/video material; use wireless microphones; operate visualisers; use wireless presentation systems for computer / mobile devices; or pause / restart lecture recording.

During lectures

Make sure students can hear you – use a clip-on microphone in larger venues if you walk around when lecturing. Be prepared to adapt your delivery and rescope your material if students need extra support.

After lectures

If the lecture has been recorded, make sure the recording is made available to students.

A helpful way to reflect on and develop your lecturing skills is to engage with peer dialogue with colleagues in your academic school/unit.

Online Lectures

In some circumstances it may be appropriate to provide lectures as synchronous online sessions on Zoom or Teams. Some additional considerations are required to ensure that the online session is inclusive and fair.

Flipped Teaching

In flipped teaching, students are introduced to learning materials in advance of in-person teaching sessions. The learning materials could be provided in a wide range of forms from text, readings, videos, quizzes – students work through these individually at their own pace. The focus of in-person teaching shifts to facilitated discussion and problem-solving activities, working at higher levels of learning.

When planning flipped learning, it’s essential to make explicit links between pre-work and activities taking place in the in-person teaching. Flipped learning takes longer to prepare than standard lecture material but has the advantage of being reusable in future years.

 Student ValueChallenges

An event 

Opportunities to connect with the lecturer and peers

Asking questions after the lecture

Notetaking and keeping up – one pace for everyone

A fixed time, illness may mean lectures are missed.

NB: providing lecture recordings mitigates these challenges

Flipped Teaching

Work at your own pace

Revisit materials and rewind audio/video without the pressure of notetaking

Present additional material for those who are struggling.

Requires self-discipline /organisation to work through materials

Some will see self-study elements as isolating.



Key resources for your students

Guidance on making notes effectively in lectures and other content-rich teaching.

ReCap integrates with Canvas allowing you to view lecture and other recordings.


Governance, strategy and policy

The Newcastle University Canvas Baseline sets out the minimum core requirements expected on all University modules within the centrally supported Virtual Learning Environment (VLE).