Teaching practice

Administration issues          Teaching strategies    Using lectures to update students
    Presenting good lectures        
    Engaging students    
    Online learning    
    The final lecture    

Preparing well eases your workload

If you have prepared well before the semester even starts, you’ll find that teaching during the semester is not nearly so challenging as it might otherwise be. For a general overview of organisational issues before your classes begin, see Teaching preparation.

Nevertheless, there are many things you can do while you are teaching that will make the experience better for both you and your students.

Regular administration issues:

  1. Keep your eLearning site up to date. Make sure to get any material you intend to provide, such as your lecture outlines and images, onto your site in time for each lecture.
  2. Don’t forget to monitor any student discussion forums on eLearning that you may have set up - or organise for your teaching team to do so.
  3. When preparing your schedule, remember to allow administration time to respond to your students’ emails, and to provide support to sessional staff.

Teaching strategies

An effective UoS design allows students to expand their knowledge as the unit progresses.
This involves both the constructive alignment of your UoS components and consideration of how your unit sits within the broader curriculum. See UoS alignment for further information.

The Merlot Pedagogy portal provides links to helpful resources on different strategies that you can use when teaching.

You’ll find tips elsewhere on this site on how to familiarize students with their UoS; develop research skills in students early on, approach online learning and active learning, and much more. See our pages on Academic skills development, UoS design, Diversity in learning and teaching, and Active learning. Links are in the feature pane on the right-hand side of the screen.

Teaching practice

Presenting good lectures

Lecturing remains one of the primary methods for presenting learning material at the University of Sydney.

Engaging your students

Keeping students motivated and interested in a subject is essential if they are going to learn effectively.

  • Merlot Pedagogy has a list of resources from international universities that discuss ways of motivating students.
  • The Teaching & Learning resource from the University of Western Australia includes links to articles, as well as tips and techniques from various universities. Look for the section on Engaging Students.
  • The Business School’s ‘Teaching for learning well’ web resource offers tips on how to engage your students.
  • Ten Easy Ways to Engage Your Students discusses interactive techniques that make a class more effective.
  • Many first year units of study are designed as general introductions to the discipline, or foundation skills units that they are required to complete. Motivating first year students in units of study like this, which may seem disconnected from their primary interests or even from their degree program, can present challenges. See Learning and teaching issues in our section on Service teaching for some tips on designing and teaching a UoS in this situation.

Online learning

Remember that eLearning enables you to repeat your lecture material online, as well as to provide resources, support and information that you don’t have time to provide in your lectures. It can also be used to give learning activities to help students prepare for classes or revise key points afterwards.

See Blended learning for tips on combining face-to-face and online learning.

Using the lecture to keep students updated

Provide regular updates at the beginning of your lectures about what students should have learnt so far, and where they are heading now.

  • Updates help keep students on track and gives them an understanding of how individual lectures fit into the big picture.
  • This can also be a good time to remind them to keep an eye on your eLearning site for updates on anything pending, or matters that they are required to attend to (for example, excursions, submissions, quizzes, research preparation, etc).

The final lecture

Your last lecture is an opportunity to reinforce the learning outcomes from your unit.

  • You can use the final lecture for semester review, discussing the exam, etc.
  • Also take some time to position what your students have learnt in the broader context of their major, their course, or their professional practice.
  • This resource from the Business School provides some tips on delivering your final lecture.