No. 3 – Teaching After the Storm: Reimagining the Traditional Lecture

25 May 2021, 17.00 CEST



In this webinar, we explore the question is the lecture dead? Will the traditional lecture format be a casualty of efforts to build back better? One of the biggest challenges facing educators when quickly moving to emergency remote online teaching was how to teach large classes effectively. At the beginning of the COVID crisis, many people merely replaced their traditional face-to-face lecture with a live synchronously delivered session through Zoom, Teams, Collaborate, or other online platforms. It soon became apparent that lecturing down a digital pipe to a large group of students passively watching from their screen-tops was not the most engaging form of online learning. While this approach was understandable during the height of a crisis, students’ feedback and a commitment to providing quality higher education challenge us to do better. The pandemic experience raises longer-term questions about the value of the traditional lecture method—irrespective of the delivery mode. A diverse and experienced group of international educators reflect in this panel discussion on the challenge of teaching large classes both during and beyond the pandemic. Post-pandemic, what is the future of the lecture? Is there still a place for the lecture? Is the traditional lecture antithetical to promoting active and meaningful learning that develops more creative, innovative and imaginative learners? Beyond the storm, how do we avoid the danger of grafting old 19th Century teaching methods onto new 21st Century digital technologies? If the lecture still has a place in the new digital learning classroom, what should it look like? How might we develop a hybrid model of the lecture that harnesses the best of older pedagogies with new digital technologies to enhance the student experience when teaching large classes? As part of this lively roundtable discussion, the panel will consider these questions, and more, as well as those posed by participants as we defend, challenge and reimagine the lecture.


Mark Brown
EDEN Treasurer

Mark Brown is Ireland’s first Chair of Digital Learning and Director of the National Institute for Digital Learning (NIDL) at Dublin City University. He is an EDEN Fellow and plays an active role in several leading professional bodies, including the European Association of Distance Teaching Universities (EADTU) and the Open and Distance Learning Association of Australia (ODLAA). In November 2019, only a few months before the beginning of the COVID-19 crisis, Mark was Chair of the ICDE World Conference on Online Learning in Dublin.


Ann Marie Farrell

Ann Marie Farrell is a lecturer in the School of Inclusive and Special Education, Institute of Education, Dublin City University (DCU).  She has a background in teacher education and won the DCU President’s Overall Award for Excellence in Teaching 2020. Also in 2020, Ann Marie led a team of researchers investigating the challenge of moving large classes online in response to the closure of campuses. Her research interests include, teaching in large class setting; co-teaching in the university setting; curriculum and programme development; using technology to enhance teaching and learning; developing collaborative practice at university level.

David Hornsby

David Hornsby is a Professor of International Affairs in the Norman Paterson School of International Affairs and the Associate Vice-President (Teaching and Learning) at Carleton University, Canada. A passionate educator, David has published in both the biological and social sciences, and maintains a real interest in large class pedagogy and the massification of higher education. David is a distinguished lecturer having previously been awarded the Faculty of Humanities Teaching and Learning Award and the Vice Chancellor’s Teaching Award (Individual) at the University of the Witwatersrand.

Blaženka Divjak

Blaženka Divjak holds a PhD in Mathematics from the University of Zagreb. She is a Full professor at the University of Zagreb, Faculty of Organization and Informatics. Blaženka has served as Vice-Rector for students and study programs at the University of Zagreb (2010-2014) and she was twice elected Vice-Dean for scientific work and international cooperation in the period 1999 – 2003 and 2007- 2010 at the Faculty of Organization and Informatics. She was the Croatian Minister for Science and Education from June 2017. until July 2020. Blaženka was leading four major reform processes: curricular reform of general education, reform of vocational education and training, enhancement of relevance of higher education and excellence of research.

Paul Prinsloo

Paul Prinsloo is a Research Professor in Open and Distance Learning (ODL) in the College of Economic and Management Sciences, University of South Africa (Unisa). His academic background includes fields as diverse as theology, art history, business management, online learning, and religious studies. Paul is an established researcher and has published numerous articles in the fields of teaching and learning, student success in distance education contexts, learning analytics, and curriculum development. His current research focuses on the collection, analysis and use of student data in learning analytics, graduate supervision and digital identity. Paul reports that he was born curious and in trouble. Nothing has changed since then.