Monday, February 23, 2009


Our January “Education Item from the News” from The New York Times, titled “At MIT, Large Lectures Are Going The Way Of The Blackboard” really seemed to spark some interesting conversation. The vast majority of the 18 posts seemed interested in rethinking Grand Rounds to make it more engaging, while a few others thought that Grand Rounds was OK, and described it as a unique educational venue in which experts presented interesting findings on topics of interest. The perhaps missed point was that “Grand Rounds” was just an example of a teaching venue that might benefit from “rehab”. Individuals do not learn unless they are engaged and teaching formats that rely on “listening” alone as the means of engagement disadvantage many learners.

One of our readers suggested the use of the Audience Response System (ARS) as a means of promoting engagement in large groups. ARS has been found to increase attention on the part of participants and may be a great way to encourage engagement. A few other ideas from our BLOGGERS were to:

  • “Allow invitees to large lectures to submit questions to the speaker a few days PRIOR to the session to allow them to customize their presentations.”
  • “Archive the presentations in a way that can be accessed later by non-attendees and attendees who would like to review.”
  • "Grand Rounds"-- when given by residents and fellows and arranged properly so that feedback can be given-- can serve the very important function of allowing trainees to hone their public speaking skills. It is important for doctors... as teachers... to possess such communication skills.”
  • “Teaching to smaller groups provides an opportunity to engage all participants in a discussion that presumably, enhances an active learning; the lecturer, acting as a moderator, can gauge the level of understanding and effectively ensure the learning of the information”


Neil said...

There is terrific resource on Classroom Response Systems maintained by Derek Bruff at this site It is definitely worth a look.

Neil said...

the URL for Derek Bruff's site is