Subversive lecturing – coopting social software to promote real learning

Subversive Lecturing: Chat Room or MOO activity. Wonderful! I wish we had the ability to do something like this back when I was in university.


This is a bit of a weird one, it rests on the premise that sitting in a lecture making notes isn’t the best way to learn and that if you are actually able to ask questions, express reactions and participate in conversations about the material being presented while it’s being presented you’ll be more engaged and learn more.

It’s basically an easy way to turn a boring old lecture into a pretty dramatic learning experience.

It can work well in a distance learning setting but you can see it much more effectively if you’ve ever attended an online conference or participated in a conference where participants can chat to each other through wireless technology while listening to presenters.


1. You need to schedule a time that you will be delivering the lecture (for example, using Macrimedia Breeze or perhaps even better, Yahoo messenger – free!)

2. The software you are using may work alongside a chat environment or you may need to create one, for example at (which is eeeasy if you have email addresses)

3. When starting the lecture tell your audience that they should use the chat room to raise questions and have brief discussions relating to what’s being talked about. Stop every ten minutes or so to deal with these questions… you’ll get FAR more questions / ideas and thoughts than you would in a regular lecture.

4. After the lectures finished you can pose a couple of questions, leave the group to continue discussing or participate yourself in a discussion related to the topic.

5. As a reflective tool for your teaching a great great great thing about this is that you can then copy and paste the conversation into Word and save it. All the information gaps and relevant issues to that cohort and a hell of a lot of useful stuff for the next time you cover this will be there! I guarantee it!


[Roland Tanglao’s Weblog]

Roland points to a very well thought through plan for how to integrate instant messaging and weblogs into a conventional lecture based teaching strategy. Better yet, it turns out this leads to wonderful new weblog, incorporated subversion, full of other creative plans and ideas for ways in which multiple social software tools might be blended with conventional teaching and learning strategies. Even better, these plans and ideas are all wonderfully concrete and actionable. A new addition to my subscriptions (RSS feed)