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How I’ll learn: seminars

In this step we explain how seminars work at UK universities
Seminars are another common UK teaching method.

Omar’s experience

Seminars turned out to be meeting as a smaller group after the lecture to explore the ideas further and for us to ask more questions to help us to understand. My group had 15 students in it, but sometimes seminar groups are bigger than this, say maybe 20 or 25 students. We also had to research topics and present that at the seminar for discussion, which took quite a bit of time but really helped me to understand that topic better. This is called ‘independent learning’, which means the student has to go away and look at things on their own to deepen their knowledge and think more about what they are studying.

What will you experience?

Students in UK universities are now expected to complete a significant amount of independent learning in order to prepare for their seminars, which may involve presenting information to their peers using the research they have completed after a lecture. Many seminars now involve working in groups in order to research and present information to the whole seminar group and they often involve lively debates about the issues being discussed.
Online students may not have seminars at all or they might participate in seminars using chat rooms, discussions (like the comments on this course) or even video calls. Many universities now offer students the opportunity to discuss their ideas and deepen their understanding of the subjects they are studying using video conferencing software. This allows students to ask each other about parts of a lecture or a reading that they haven’t understood.

Your task

Have you ever taken part in a seminar? What happened? Was it similar or different to the ideas Omar told us about?
© Coventry University. CC BY-NC 4.0
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