Easy-to-apply, and low-resource consuming lecture activation and content review method, M. Heiskala

Case presenter

Mikko Heiskala, Researcher / Education Coordinator
Aalto SCI, Department of Information and Computer Science


Easy-to-apply, and low-resource consuming lecture activation and content review method

Key words

Lecture activation, content review, student discussion

Basic course information

T-86.5310 ICT Enabled Service Business and Innovation P (4-6 cr)
-master studies
-60-70 students


I tested a lecture activation method on the last lecture of the course to review course contents.

I combined 'slide-karaoke' with cumulative group discussion in the lecture hall.

See this thread in Yammer for more info:

I wanted to try a lecture activation method that would not require much effort from the teacher. I think I succeeded. The student feedback was rather good.

Study prosess

This was the setting on the lecture:

[1] I show a slide or two from some previous lecture about a main topic of the course. (1-2 mins).
[2] Students review and/or make notes individually about what they remember about the topic. (3-4mins).
[3]Students discuss and compare their notes with another student sitting next to them. ( 3-4mins).
[4]Students discuss and compare their notes in groups of four. (3-4mins).
[5] We discuss the topic with the whole class, comments coming from students and teacher emphasising most important points.
[6] Repeat 1-5 for other topic. (As we went through the main topics of the whole course)

No ICT was used other than powerpoint and projector. Students did refer back to lecture slides posten in Noppa though.
I picked a slide or two about the most important topics from the previous lectures on the course and reviewed the topics myself. As the course had many visiting lecturers in addition to myself, this was most necessary. On courses with one main teacher, I think this would be an easier task.

Informed the students in advance about what is going to happen in the last lecture, in Noppa news and on the previous lecture.

As the lecture hall was rather big, ~250 seats and the course had ~60 students attending lectures, I prepared a slide giving instructions to students sit on just one side of the hall as the session included a lot of discussion with fellow students. This slide was on the screen when students began to arrive at the hall. It worked well, students sat close to each other without almost any additional ushering from my side.

On hindsight, in a hall this big it would have been better to 'ban' the seats higher up in the hall. It was difficult to hear student comments from above, for me and students closer to the front, and lower.

I had two slide decks: one for the topics and another for a ""timer"", showing minutes left for discussion - and keeping time for me as well. The hall had two projectors so this was possible. I'm sure time-keeping is easy to do without this timer too.

So all in all, not much preparation needed.

Communication and interaction

This doesn't apply to my case. It was just an experiment on one lecture.

Learning and feedback

After some uneasy looks and FB browsing on the first round, students picked up the idea well to the second discussion round and kept lively discussion going for the whole 3x45min lecture.

Some feedback I collected from students with roughly 47% response rate:

1. The review session was beneficial to my learning and understanding.
80% agree with the statement strongly, 10% agree somewhat and 10% are in the 'hard to say' camp.

2. The review session helped me in preparing for the exam.
67% agree strongly, 24% somewhat and hard to say and disagree somewhat have 5% each.

3. Discussion with fellow students deepened my understanding of the reviewed topics.
43% agree strongly, 52% somewhat and 5% are hard to say.

4. It would be a good idea to have a similar review session about the previous lecture in the beginning of each lecture - during the whole course.
38% agree strongly, 29% somwhat, 19% are hard to say, 10% disagree somewhat and 5% disagree strongly.

I also compared performance in the first (easy-ish) exam: all (N=59) avg 3,4 / 'not on review lecture' (N=21) avg 3,0 / 'attended review lecture' (N=38) avg 3,7

This doesn't necessarily say much about the method tried but might be used to motivate students to attend similar session next year.

I also posted more of the feedback in Yammer:


I plan to use one round of this method next year in beginning of each lecture to review the previous lecture. One round should take about 15mins. The questions could be there waiting for the students on the screen when they arrive at the class.

Another option to perhaps try is to video record some lecture and then use a lecture session just to review and discuss it with students using this method.


https://www.yammer.com/aalto.fi/#/Threads/show?threadId=123222717 https://www.yammer.com/aalto.fi/groups/aaltoteachersunited/uploaded_files