One-minute lectures concentrate the mind

July 18, 1997

There will be no time to fall asleep during lectures at Leeds University anymore. A new minimalist teaching approach has led to the one-minute lecture.

Chemistry lecturer Terry Kee has been given a three-year grant to develop the new technique. Students are set 2,000-word essay topic. Then small groups are asked to combine their work and prepare a one-minute lecture focusing on the main elements. "They need to think on their feet, and they need to organise brilliantly," says Dr Kee. "They also learn flexibility. They have to think laterally and very quickly."

They also have to cut out irrelevant information, a skill undergraduates have trouble with. Without this skill their exam results will suffer and they will be unprepared for work.

Dr Kee has been given Pounds 250,000 by the Higher Education Funding Council through the Improve Chemistry initiative.

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