Reconstruct a Lecture

In this activity, students collaborated as a class to reconstruct a lecture based on randomly-mixed lecture slides and prior knowledge of their primary object of analysis (Lydia Millet’s novel A Children’s Bible.)

Author: Becky Hsu, Lecturer in College Writing Programs
Course Number & Title: ColWrit R1A: Accelerated Reading & Composition
Grant Type: Lecturer Teaching Fellows Program (LTF)

This work is licensed under CC BY-NC-SA 4.0

Reconstruct a lecture
Activity Title Reconstruct a Lecture
Delivery Format In-person

High Impact Practices (HIPs) Categories

(Review definitions for each category)

  • Collaborative Assignments and Projects
  • First-Year Seminars and Experiences
  • Writing-Intensive Courses
Learning Objectives
  • Organize ideas around a common topic
  • Analyze and organize logic with attention to rhetorical style
  • Comprehend key ideas and plot events in the novel A Children’s Bible
Brief Summary of Activity Students must collaborate as a class to reconstruct a lecture based on randomly-mixed lecture slides and prior knowledge of their primary object of analysis (Lydia Millet’s novel A Children’s Bible.)
Innovative Teaching Reflection

It takes a problem professors often encounter - how do you transfer ideas to students efficiently without lecturing at them? - and turns it into an interactive activity in which the students absorb lecture material by discussing the lecture and piecing it together. They then have to present and justify their lecture as a class to the instructor.

This activity can also be adaptable to large lecture courses if the class is split into multiple teams, and each team is tasked to reconstruct the same set of slides as a competition OR each team reconstructs a different set of slides and then compare ideas across teams to see how the slides all fit together. This activity can therefore work as a final review activity as well.

Activity Length 60 min
Step-by-Step Instructions
  1. Create a lecture. (In my case, I developed a lecture based on students’ past discussion ideas and notes. I then matched the # of slides to the # of students in my class.)

  2. Before class, print out your lecture slides (1 slide = 1 page.)

  3. Present the objective to the class - to reconstruct a lecture with the whole class and without instructor input.

  4. Hand out randomly a page to each student.

  5. During the activity, guide students through each stage of the reconstruction process: Individual prep (1 minute - students read and try to understand their own slide) → Partner (2 minutes - partners discuss their slides together) → Quads (5 minutes) → Octuplets/sextuplets (5 minutes) → Whole class (20 minutes - maybe more.)

  6. Once the students have settled on the organization that makes sense to them, ask each student to stand in line and in order and present their original slide. Ask them to justify why they occupy their position.

  7. Review with the class the original organization, their justification, and address questions.

Impact & Feedback

All students were actively engaged throughout the entire process. Students, even quiet ones, were questioning and discussing with each other how to puzzle the lecture together. 

They enjoyed the fact that this was a low-risk assignment that had a reasonable reward for collaboration → extra credit points. It made them invested in the activity without stressing out about “getting things right.”

Activity Details See handout