Lecture and seminar - what is the difference?

Shannon Stevely

Faculty: Health, Social Care & Education
Department: School of Education and Social Care
Course: BA (Hons) Early Childhood Studies
Category: Education

28 June 2018

A common question that everybody asks is: “What is the difference between a lecture and a seminar? Why do we have these when we come to university?”

Every course is different, but for my specific course I have 3 hours a week for each module, which is made up of a 1 hour lecture, where the lecturer will deliver the information to the whole group about the module and explain the assessments in detail. The other 2 hours are the seminar where the group is made smaller to allow workshops and one-to-one support with the lecturer. The benefits of having the whole group together for the lecture is good because if any questions are made about something specific during the delivery, then everybody will be there for this and can learn more information from each other.

The seminar is always after the lecture and this is when the class is split into smaller groups. For example, if the class is 30 students, the seminar group would be 15 students at one time and the other 15 students are later on in the day. Seminars allow students to work on their projects individually, ask any questions to the lecturer and gain one to one support on ways to improve their work. If you didn’t understand something in the lecture, the lecturer can go into more detail. This is where a seminar is beneficial to students due to it being a smaller number of students together and having that one-to-one support.

This will not be the same through your time at university, each semester will change and timetables will vary so you may be in different days to your first semester. This all changed for me in the second year. I still have 3 hours a week for each module but my lecture and seminar are both together now and we have a little break in-between. I prefer this because we get given the lecture and then we can go straight into working on our projects and the lecturers are still available. My second year modules are different to my first, because we are completing presentations and portfolios as well as essays so it is more creative which is fun and independent.

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