The History Lecture Lowdown
As promised, this is a follow-up blog to my last one (https://our.warwick.ac.uk/the-history-seminar-lowdown/) about what to. expect in a History seminar. Today’s blog, unsurprisingly, is to help you to prepare yourself for the lecture.
Lectures are where you will get the majority of your course content; seminars are there to consolidate what you have learned, but the lecture will give you a LOT of information to take on board. This can be pretty overwhelming – I remember finding it really difficult to keep up with the lecturer’s pace in my first few lectures. It is a big change from the kind of learning you will have been used to at school, so allow for some adjustment time. You need to work out how you work best in lectures, whether that be with a pen and paper, typing on your laptop, with the lecture slides to hand, or even re-watching the lecture later on to make your notes! Personally, I like to type on my laptop. Whilst it will vary from one lecturer to another, many will work through the lecture at a decent pace, and I find it much easier (and less stressful!) to type than to write. This is of course a very individual choice, so it’s worth giving both a try and deciding which you prefer. Nonetheless, another reason why I’m #teamlaptop is because you can quite often access the PowerPoint and have it open on your laptop, which means I can copy and paste chunks of text and then type what the lecturer is saying rather than spend time in the lecture copying down text.
So what happens in a lecture? I typically had one lecture per week per module in First Year (so 5, as we had 2 per week for Making of the Modern World). This means that everyone on the module will attend the lecture, as opposed to the smaller groups you have in seminars. For the bigger modules, there can be over 100 people, and for others there might be 10! Because of the larger numbers, lectures aren’t particularly interactive. The lecturer stands at the front and talks through their PowerPoint for an hour, and you sit and absorb it. If you have any questions, the lecturer is usually happy for you to go and ask at the end of the lecture, but you don’t typically raise your hand and contribute like you would in a lesson at school. Personally, I like lectures because it gives me the opportunity to gain a foundational understanding in the week’s content. I love listening to someone who is so interested and knowledgable about their subject. If I don’t fully understand it, I know I have time before the seminar to do my reading and consolidate my knowledge. I find this a much less stressful method of learning.
This is made even better by Lecture Capture. The History Department is very good at recording their lectures, which has certainly come in useful if I have felt unsure about a topic later on, or wanted to revise it, or been unable to attend.
If you have any further questions about what to expect in a History lecture, feel free to drop a comment below!