The Student Room Group

What are lectures/seminars/workshops/tutorials at university?

I was wondering what the differences are between these classes and what you are expected to do in them
Hi,

This is a great question! I’ll break each one down for you…

Lectures enable tutors to reach a large number of students usually held in a big lecture theatre all at the same time. Lectures provide an introductory theoretical overview or detailed information on a subject. They act as a forum for the introduction of key ideas, key theories and key subject experts.

Lectures prepare students for the seminars or tutorials that also make up the course. They can be an introduction to academic theories and evidence. They can prepare students for thinking about different theories and viewpoints and also help students consider new ideas and progress of thought in a particular area.

In lectures you'll probably do a lot of listening and note taking.

Seminars and tutorials are similar. These are small group sessions for each module, probably once a week, for each module. Seminars support your lectures and allow you to explore that week's topic in more depth.

They allow you to be more vocal and give you the opportunity to discuss topics and issues with other students and staff. Some seminars may involve you giving a presentation each week followed by a discussion.

Seminars great for:

· Applying knowledge from lectures and background reading
· Solving problems in a team to maximise your creativity
· Testing your understanding and developing new insights
· Learning from other people's approaches and ideas
· Clarifying concepts you might not have understood.

Finally, workshops or practicals introduce disciplinary methods or procedures and give you the opportunity to have hands on experimentation and experience. You enhance your understanding of subjects and may work on your own in past or in small groups.

I hope this helps! 🤩

This link will give you more useful info - Library Guides

Emma.
Reply 2
Original post by Teesside University

Seminars and tutorials are similar. These are small group sessions for each module, probably once a week, for each module. Seminars support your lectures and allow you to explore that week's topic in more depth.
They allow you to be more vocal and give you the opportunity to discuss topics and issues with other students and staff. Some seminars may involve you giving a presentation each week followed by a discussion.


That's a good summary, but the key thing that needs to be stressed is that seminars/tutorials require that students prepare in advance, and actively participate. So really they don't just "allow" you to engage in discussion etc, they expect engagement.
Different universities use different terminology for their teaching systems. For example, at Oxford a tutorial is the core teaching method, and involves one, two, and sometimes three undergraduates in discussion with a tutor, usually focused on an essay written by one or more of the undergraduates. At Cambridge, this is called a supervision. At other universities, a tutorial may be a larger group session with a tutor. Some other universities might call this a class or a seminar. Lectures are probably much the same at most universities, with an academic presenting material, often via powerpoint slides, over an hour or two to a large group of students.

A key difference between school and university is that, at university, the student is expected to do a lot of independent reading and, to an extent which varies from course to course and from place to place, to self-instruct with varying amounts of guidance from the academic staff. The university student's week tends to be less timetabled than it is for a pupil at school, and students have to get used to organising their work when not having contact with academic staff. Falling behind leads to needless stress and may impact performance, so keeping on top of the work is a thing worth doing. There is usually still plenty of time for socialising, playing sport, doing performance art, taking part in clubs etc.
Original post by sparkle56
I was wondering what the differences are between these classes and what you are expected to do in them

Hi there!

I think that's a great question that you asked, when I first got to uni I was also a bit confused about the differences between these.

For lectures, these are classes where the lecturer will relay lots of information about specific topics to the class. It would usually involve presentation slides with summarised info on what the teacher is talking about. Lectures do not usually have time for questions and answers, although some teachers are also happy to do that. I find that lectures are basically where you get introduced to a new topic and have summarised information about that topic relayed to you. it may not be very in-depth, but depending on the topic being discussed it could spread out over multiple lectures.

For seminars, these are usually smaller groups of students, about 15-20, in a class. For a seminar, usually, students would have had a worksheet, or something like an assignment, where they would need to do research, possibly answer some questions or attempt a problem scenario that was given out previously. Then the students would come in and be able to discuss the subject matter with the teacher and other students, to share insights and seek clarification on areas needing it.

I find that seminars are very helpful for truly understanding the material, as you would have had to undertake research and readings that give you more insight on the topic, and then sharing the opinions and ideas from the readings with your teacher and fellow students develop your scope of understanding.

For workshops, I believe that are similar to seminars in terms of structure and class size, however, I feel they differ as where seminars focus more on the theoretical aspect of the topic, workshops are usually more inclined to being practical. These would differ based on what degree you are studying but it is done to help students grasp all aspects of the topic.

Tutorials I believe are more one-on-one teaching sessions with a tutor, so you may feel more at ease talking to them about areas you struggle with and be able to receive personalised support and feedback.

I hope all that I explained was helpful. If you require further clarification, feel free to reach out.

Best wishes,
Lancaster University Student Ambassador,
Glory.

Quick Reply