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THE JOY OF TEXT; INTERACTIVE LECTURES IN THE ELECTRONIC AGE
  1. Jack Leach,
  2. Rebecca Morrison,
  3. Edward Newman,
  4. Krishna Dani,
  5. John Paul Leach
  1. University of Glasgow; Southern General Hospital

    Abstract

    Introduction Lectures are an efficient and commonly used way of teaching large groups of students. Unfortunately such large groups may not lend themselves to much interaction, limiting and reducing the impact of the teaching material. In particular, anecdotal experience suggests that students are reluctant to ask questions pertaining to lectures when large numbers of other students are present. We implemented a novel method of taking questions during the ‘Neurology Week’ for students in their third year of the undergraduate medical degree course at the University of Glasgow; live text messaging.

    Methods In the introduction to half of the week's didactic lectures, students were given a mobile phone number and encouraged to submit ‘live’ text questions to the speakers. A chairperson (EN or KD) would read texts as they arrived and either immediately ask the question to the speaker via a roving microphone or postpone the question until the end of the talk/section. The number and nature of the questions were compared in those sessions with and without the live text facility. Students and speakers took part in a survey to evaluate their experience of the ‘live text’ experiment.

    Results In 4 hours of lectures with text facility, 86 texts were received; these comprised 56 requesting factual clarification or expansion, 28 jokes, and 1 practical point about the lecture hall. Additionally, 2 oral questions were posed after the lectures. After 4 hours of lectures without text facility, there were 9 questions posed to the individual speakers, all requesting factual clarification. These oral questions and their answers were not shared with the rest of the group. After exclusion of jokes, the number of questions posed to lecturers where live texting was offered was found to be significantly greater than the number posed where no live texting was available (p=0.03, Mann Whitney U test). Students' and speakers' survey responses confirmed that they found the text–questioning to be enjoyable and worthwhile.

    Conclusions Considered use of cheap and readily available technology allows interactive teaching to take place even during large group lectures. Students ask more questions, and this ‘extra’ education is shared with the entire group. We believe that such methods should be utilised more widely and would be equally valuable during postgraduate teaching.

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