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Mechanical Engineering Lecturer is Keynote Speaker at UCD Annual Teaching and Learning Conference

Monday, 27 May, 2019

Barry Brophy, school of Mechanical and Materials Engineering, was one of two keynote speakers at the UCD annual Teaching and Learning conference on May 8 th . His talk looked at the power of presentations within lectures – live, interactive, visual, personal, emotional, three-dimensional, multi-layered communications – and how unconscious biases lead people away from playing to these strengths in formal lectures.

In particular he looked at how lecturers an unconscious tendency towards speaking in the abstract rather than the concrete, overloading slides with text, making their lectures topic-centred instead of application-centred, and telling fewer stories than they would in conversations with the same people. Among the many presentation/lecture samples shown was a hairdryer levitation experiment from a fluid dynamics presentation.


Barry Brophy carrying out a fluid dynamics demonstration (with hairdryer) to explain how lecturers can often be biased into presenting theory-only lectures without examples, analogies, demonstration, stories and images that they would use in conversations with the same people.

The other keynote speaker at the conference was Ron Barnett, Emeritus Professor of Higher Education at University College London. Professor Barnett is an international speaker who gave a talk entitled ‘Reconceiving the Lecture: towards mutual unsettlement’, in which he outlined a positive case for the lecture in the twenty-first century university. You can find out more about the conference here: http://www.ucd.ie/teaching/news/news_items/name,448337,en.html

UCD School of Mechanical & Materials Engineering

UCD Engineering and Materials Science Centre University College Dublin Belfield, Dublin 4, Ireland.
T: +353 1 716 1884