A focus group study of student attitudes to lectures

Michael Hitchens*, Raymond Lister

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference proceeding contributionpeer-review

8 Citations (Scopus)


This paper reports on the findings from focus groups, conducted at Macquarie University, on the attitudes of computing students to lectures. Students felt that two things were vital for a good lecture: (1) that the lecturer goes beyond what is written in the lecture notes; (2) that the lecture is interactive, by which students meant that the lecturer asks if students understand concepts and adjusts the delivery accordingly, and also the lecturer answers the students' questions. The students in the focus groups also discussed what makes for a bad lectures: (1) lecturers reading straight from slides; (2) lecturers who 'blame the students', by saying that students don't work hard enough and are too lazy to turn up to lectures; and (3) lecturers who cover the material too slowly or too quickly. The most prominent reason given for not attending lectures was the timetabling of lectures in such a way that students had too few classes in one day to make the sojourn to university worthwhile. Any university seeking to improve attendance at lectures should perhaps look as much to improving its timetabling practices as it does to improving the practices of its individual lecturers.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationProceedings of the Eleventh Australasian Conference on Computing Education, ACE 2009
EditorsMargaret Hamilton, Tony Clear
Place of PublicationDarlinghurst, NSW
PublisherAustralian Computer Society
Number of pages8
ISBN (Print)9781920682767
Publication statusPublished - 2009
Event11th Australasian Computing Education Conference, ACE 2009 - Wellington, New Zealand
Duration: 20 Jan 200923 Jan 2009


Other11th Australasian Computing Education Conference, ACE 2009
Country/TerritoryNew Zealand


  • Focus groups
  • Lectures
  • Student attitudes


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