There are a number of settings in which you will be taught at university which include lectures, seminars, tutorials and laboratory sessions.
Each setting has different expectations, so read through the sections below to gain an insight into each learning environment and how to get the most from it.
These resources can be used in conjunction with the podcasts on studying at university, which contain descriptions of what happens in the different teaching environments, practical tips on how to prepare for and what to do during and after the various sessions to help you to learn effectively.
The format of lectures is generally the same across all subjects; they consist of the lecturer and students. The lecturer will stand at the front of the room and give formal talk to a group of students (varying in size).
The presentation will contain the key pieces of information that will be supplemented by seminars, tutorials and laboratories. It is imperative that you prepare for a lecture beforehand so that you understand the topic and the materials which are provided to you.
Seminar The format of seminars vary according to subject and lecturer, but generally, they consist of a small group of students and the objective of seminars are usually quite practical; i.e. seminars usually provide an opportunity to practice methods/discuss concepts and carry out activities.
The format and purpose of tutorials vary, however, they are generally for very small groups of students or are arranged on a one-one basis. Most often, the purpose is for tutors to provide feedback and/or discuss progress.
If you are studying a science or computing, part of your timetable will include practical sessions which take place in laboratories (i.e. rooms with specialist equipment).
Adapted from Cottrell, S. (2003). The Study Skills Handbook. Hampshire: Palgrave Macmillan.
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