100+ Anecdotes of Most effective Lecture classes as recalled and narrated by Computing students

Posted on July 26, 2010


Author:  Sanjay Goel, http://in.linkedin.com/in/sgoel


During 2004 summer break, I had requested some of my students (entering 4th and  3rd year) to recall and briefly narrate (write) the proceedings of the formal lectures (ever attended by them at any age during K1-12 or college) that were most effective wrt  their learning.   These students graduated in 2005 or 2006.

Here are the anecdotes as narrated and summarised by them.

1. Jashan Parikh:

Very Large Class :   Good presentation using nice illustrations for algorithm visualization, followed by good student responses to teacher’s questions.

Small Class: Good presentation using nice illustrations for algorithm visualization, followed by good student responses to teacher’s questions.

2. Proful Vaid:

Very Large Class: One sided, Teacher did all the talking saying only that which was important. The flow was linear and progressive and no sudden jumps from 1 topic to another.

Small Class:   Interested students, none had any knowledge about the subject, Big coverage, several intra group discussions.

3.  Robin Singh:

Very Large Class: 30 min almost non interactive talk, followed by 20 min of discussion in the form of  teacher using real life examples, taking views of students, 6-7 students responded. He analysed all the views. He again asked for responses while consolidating and converging the response to draw conclusions.

Small Class :   None was good. Waste of time.

4.  Priya Singh

Very Large Class: We were made to think, lot of discussion with teacher and amongst students. We were given a problem to work on in group. Lot of intra group discussion. Opinion of groups was taken. Finally group’s work was analysed by teacher.

Small Class :   : Lucid presentation

5.   Ankit Dalmia:

Very Large Class: An issue announced to think on, Brain storming with yourself, internal dialogue. A conversation with the faculty giving vision of reality.

Small Class:   : N.A.

6.   Vanshi Kathuria:

Very Large Class: In one or two lectures classes (2.5-3 hrs.), we had large groups working as teams for long duration (1-1.5 hrs.)— a great way to learn  things real fast. In fact any large class where you have a large number of students involved in an open discussion even for 15 min. is great from learning perspective.

Small Class :   N.A.

7.  Setu Garg:

Very Large Class: 15-20 min. of one sided presentation. Teacher asked “Is it clear?”, “No”, students replied, “where is the problem?”, said the teacher,  No response from the students. Teacher started asking Questions related to the topic and continued to ask 5-6 Qs. Critiqued student’s responses and finally told the correct answer. This took around 20 min These Q-A session clarified the concept. Teacher continued with his presentation,  while I continued to reflect upon the prior presentation and subsequent conversation. This class was great because of the central 20 min.

Small Class :   Completely one sided but very lucid presentation on a very tough topic.

8.   Sai Deepak:

Very Large Class:

1.      20 min presentation, Teacher asked us to analyse the algorithmic  complexity of the algo, students worked on, showed their solutions, Followed by teacher’s version of the solution. Teacher continued with the presentation.

2.   Yet another subject and a different teacher, same format as above.

Small Class:   The computer did not work. Teacher wanted to use Computer for making the illustrated presentation. The colors of the projector were conged off. Teacher asked us to analyse the situation and suggest possible reason. We worked on this problem suggested our solutions. Teacher finally gave the correct solution incorporating the analysis by students.

9.  Y. Rajput

Very Large Class: Teacher gave on the spot reward (as marks) for performance in the class

Small Class:    20+ students, 2 hr. class. A lot of interaction. Maximum discussion. Student’s prior experience was used to introduce the topic. Students were reacting and the teacher was inviting comments based on their experience. Teacher raised Questions.

10.  Shweta Kumari:

Very Large Class: Teacher talked non interactive ( 20 min). Teacher gave a problem. We worked on it. Discussed it with the sidy  and than with  teacher. (10+ min).  Teacher re-explained the same concept (10 min).  Gave another problem and asked us to work ( 5+ min). Introduced another concept.  Asked for doubts and clarified (15 min).

Small Classs :    Teacher talked (10 min). asked if any body has any doubt.  Gave a problem (5 min to solve) We showed the answers to teacher.  Teacher explained the solution and asked for doubts.   This cycle happened 4 times.

11. Nijhu:

Extra Large Class: 1.   Teacher told us the topic of the lecture and raised a simple question related to explaining a daily life experience. And asked us to respond with the first thought.  Every body spoke. It was great experience. We had fun and I realized that every body is creative and can contribute.  The topic was Brainstorming.

  1. Teacher gave us a design problem and asked us to work on it in group. (15-20 min).  many groups were asked to explain their solutions. (10+ min). Teacher consolidated the solutions. Restated the problem in more comprehensive and formal manner and gave us home assignments. (20+ min).
  2. Groups already knew their project area. Teacher interacted with each group on the possibilities and others also contributed.

Small Class :    Teacher randomly formed groups. Announced a common analysis and synthesis problem. We worked in group for 15 min. Group representatives came up and presented their solutions. Teacher gave marks on the spot.

12.  Vivek Mishra:

Extra Large : Teacher’s presentation (15 min) students were asking Qs and teacher was answering. Teacher gave a problem we worked on it (5 min). Teacher asked a student to explain the solution and explained it also. More students shared their solutions and discussion on different solutions took place.(10 min).

Teacher gave another problem we solved it fast and discussed (5 min)

Very Large Class: Teacher’s presentation (15 min) students were asking Qs and teacher was answering. Teacher gave a problem we worked on it (5 min).  Teacher showed correct solution and asked us to verify our solution.

This presentation-problem-solution cycle happened 3-4 times.

Small Class :     Nil

13.  C. Vijay Anand:

Small  Class :     Student made presentation on their projects on the same topic. The presentations were critiqued by all.


Subsequently,  in 2004,  at the beginning of the semester in the first class of a course, I requested a class of 3rd Semester students to recall and briefly narrate (write) their anecdotes on this theme without mentioning their name.  These students graduated in 2007.   Here are the  anecdoctes along with the CGPA of the students, as narrated  them:

1          Class Strength :  30       1 hr.    CGPA 9.5

We were given just 5 min. to think about a particular topic to think about a particular topic and then we had to give a presentation on that topic. It was like a brainstorming session in which we could show our creative analytical and lingual skills.

2.        Class Strength :  200       1 hr.      CGPA   6.4

Teacher gave us tips for the exam and left us in  30 min. I listened and tried to note the tips besides talking.

3.        Class Strength :  100       1 hr.     CGPA   6.2

Everything was going in perfect rhythm. I was already having a little knowledge about the topic . So instead of making notes I preferred thorough understanding.

4.        Class Strength :  250       1 hr.     CGPA   7.2

The teacher made the topic so easy that there was no need to go through the book. I made notes and understood concepts.

5.        Class Strength :  100       1 hr.     CGPA   5.6

The Class Strength was less as the attendance was not compulsory. Only interested students were present. The best part was that the man was very friendly so the class was very interactive.  I tried to understand what the lecturer is saying and find its field of application.

6.        Class Strength :  50       1 hr.     CGPA   5.6

Teacher delivered it in a very relaxed manner. I listened.

7.        Class Strength :  62       1 hr.     CGPA   5.85

Teacher used to ask us everyday what we learnt on the previous day. And used to explain every concept very clearly. It was an interactive class. We used to listened to her very attentively.

8.        Class Strength :  250       1 hr.     CGPA   6.7

I got what I wanted to hear—an inspirational speech rather than merely delivering the course notes.

9.        Class Strength :  65       1 hr.     CGPA   6.3

The teaching was so efficient that we could mug up the things right in the class. I listened carefully.

10.        Class Strength :  200       1 hr.     CGPA   7.2

He used real life examples to describe. I attentively attended the class.

11.        Class Strength :  150       1 hr.     CGPA   6.4

I was feeling like flowering in the thoughts, understand each and everything very clearly, clearing up all my previous doubts. I tried to concentrate on the words spoken by the teacher.

12.        Class Strength :  150       1 hr.     CGPA  7.2

Teacher demonstrated every command in the class. I noted down the commands, understood the meaning and areas of application.

13.        Class Strength :  150       1 hr.     CGPA  5.6

It was  a presentation type class. I carefully listened. Took notes.

14.        Class Strength :  180       1 hr.     CGPA  6.6

Although it was fast but very good and cleared my facts very well. I listened to teacher carefully and wrote important points and clarified my problems.

15.        Class Strength :  100       1 hr.     CGPA  5.4

The teacher involved us to do creative thinking about the topic which we used to consider  very boring. We discovered on the spot conceptual knowledge  of the subject.

16.        Class Strength :  100       1 hr.     CGPA  5.7

I learnt to apply the concept in real world. Also I got cleared of my previous doubts. I attended and listened to it very carefully.

17.        Class Strength :  50-60       1 hr.     CGPA  7.1

Teacher discussed  problems at the end of each and every topic he discussed. I was able to ask my doubts simultaneously as lecture proceeded.

18.        Class Strength :   60       2 hr.     CGPA  5.7

We were given a project which was to be completed in 2 hrs. I studied, listened and enjoyed.

19.        Class Strength :   30       1 hr.     CGPA  5.8

Teacher involves students in her speech so deeply that I think I should listen to her always. I participate in the class. I make sure that my mind is not diverted.

20.        Class Strength :   60       1 hr.     CGPA  7.9

General perspective of understanding of world & oneself. I got out most from oneself. Boosting confidence broaden the view of thinking to once goal.  I studied with enjoyment and free interaction with teacher.

20.        Class Strength :   300       2 hr.     CGPA  7.5

I learnt what an engineer does and how creative he has to be to succeed. I thought about the question raised by teacher.

21.        Class Strength :   200       1 hr.     CGPA  6.8

teacher taught extremely well. I paid full attention to what he said and made notes.

22.        Class Strength :   100       1 hr.     CGPA  7.8

We learnt about tools to manipulate pictures. I thought of some other creative tools.

23.        Class Strength :   200       1 hr.     CGPA  7.7

Teacher explained each and everything very clearly and took real life examples. I tried to understand what the teacher is teaching.

23.        Class Strength :   30       1 hr.     CGPA  8.2

It was about solving techniques for the same question. It was very creative and interesting. I also tried to solve the question in a unique way.

24.        Class Strength :   120       1 hr.     CGPA  7.4

It went very slowly. I recalled my earlier exposure to the subject material.

25.        Class Strength :   40       2 hr.     CGPA  6.4

Teacher gave full attention to all the students, clarifying everybody’s doubt and also gave application of certain things. I kept a note of all that was taught only after understanding and also made a separate list of all the important extra things.

25.        Class Strength :   200       1 hr.     CGPA  8.86

Very Interactive lecture between students and teacher. Teacher started with a basic concept, eventually moved up to a higher level slowly. Helped in understanding the concepts and also the application. We were asked to think of the applications and participate actively which I did with great enthusiasm.

25.        Class Strength :   160+       1 hr.     CGPA  5.6

Teacher explained the topic, supplemented with examples, so at the end we could solve most problems ourselves. I listened to all he taught carefully. I also worked out some examples in my notebook.

26.      Class Strength :   150+       1 hr.     CGPA  4.6

I just tried to concentrate on the class.

27.      Class Strength :   150+       1 hr.     CGPA  7.8

I got the knowledge that there is always a mean to make your thoughts real. I did careful listening and pondered about the lecture’s content.

28.      Class Strength :   120+       1 hr.     CGPA  4.8

Everything was taken from basic and in a very easy manner. I made programs and understood theory.

29.      Class Strength :   200+       1 hr.     CGPA  6.9

I paid attention to what the teacher did and I thought that even I can make such wonderful animations.

30.      Class Strength :   250       1 hr.     CGPA  4.9

All the unclear concepts were clarified on the spot and mapped to real life examples. I carefully listened to teacher’s presentation.

31.      Class Strength :   150+       1 hr.     CGPA  7.8

After going thru the lecture, I was the single one to solve the problem. I tried to understand what the wants to say.

32.      Class Strength :   75       1 hr.     CGPA  6.6

We were doing a long derivation. Something went wrong, we were told to analyse the problem ourselves and find the solution along with the teacher. The teacher asked each and every person about it. We analysed the problem according to our own ability.

33.      Class Strength :   50      1 hr.     CGPA  6.2

Everything became clear to me as a result of step by step procedure. I answered a lot of questions as I was prepared from before on the topic and cleared all my doubts regarding the subject.

34.      Class Strength :   250       1 hr.     CGPA  6.5

It was an interactive class b/w teacher and students.

35.      Class Strength :   120       1 hr.     CGPA  8.9

The teacher taught with passion and class was very interactive.

36.      Class Strength :   75       1 hr.

I voiced out my opinion regarding some topics and raised a few questions. Theoretical approach were discussed.

37.      Class Strength :   30       1 hr.     CGPA  7.65

Teacher asked us to enact like real life professionals in the class. I learnt a great deal about negotiation by negotiating with others.

38.      Class Strength :   30       1 hr.     CGPA  5.8

many students were bunking so we all got individual attention. I solved several problems given by the teacher.

39.      Class Strength :   240       1 hr.     CGPA  7.65

The best things I ever wanted to hear about our future & thus plan for was said there. I also got to know about many new fundamentals. I tried to concentrate and listen to it.

40.      Class Strength :   100+       1 hr.     CGPA  6.1

I was surprised by the question of the teacher and was relieved when I answered it correctly. A sense of self belief and confidence developed.

41.      Class Strength :   100       1 hr.     CGPA  6.5

It was pin drop silence and the subject was very clear to us. I tried to understand what was being taught.

42.      Class Strength :   100+       1 hr.     CGPA  7.5

Teacher started from basic funda’s and in between gave us the applications which can be used to develop new instruments.  I jotted down. The thinking process was on it compelled me to think new and apply those in daily applications.

43.      Class Strength :   200       1 hr.     CGPA  5.3

I listened to what he said and noted key points.

44.      Class Strength :   60-70       1 hr.     CGPA  8.6

Explained the concept from the beginning and in a very organised manner. The concepts are very clear and I can never forget them. I clarified my doubts and made notes.

45.      Class Strength :   300+       1 hr.     CGPA  9

The teacher taught at basic level. Beginners were able to understand well. I took notes.

46.      Class Strength :   150+       1 hr.     CGPA  6.5

The students were divided into two groups in two groups and then we had to negotiate a solution. I was attentive and listening to the views of my opposition. I also came up with new idea

47.      Class Strength :   30       1 hr.     CGPA  5.9

Teacher gave us the problem sheet and asked if we had any problems. Then he solved the problem  which are common. I did not get it. He solved it on my notebook and explained how to proceed in the exam with such problems.  This procedure worked and I got B+.

48.     Class Strength :   250       1 hr.     CGPA  6.25

The lecture was easy going into the mind without any guided effort. I really listened to that and I understood the lecture.

49.       Class Strength :   200       1 hr.     CGPA  6.7

I concentrated , listened and wrote notes properly.

50.       Class Strength :   150+       1 hr.     CGPA  6.65

We were talking and studying together.

51.      Class Strength :   200       1 hr.     CGPA  7.7

She asked various questions in the class.

52.      Class Strength :   200       1 hr.     CGPA  8.5

We were told what was it about, Concept was told then problem was

given which helped in better understanding. The same was explained later. I listened and solved problems.

53.      Class Strength :   300       2 hr.     CGPA  5.3

This lecture gave me a lot of strength as I was afraid from last one month. Seniors had told me that it a very tough subject. I was encouraged for on the spot creative thinking, mapping every concept to real life. It clarified by problems, discovered. I carefully listened and made notes. I also slowly started gaining confidence to communicate with teacher. It totally developed my practical knowledge.

54.      Class Strength :   30       1 hr.     CGPA

Teacher had earlier given homework. There was a good discussion on the topic. We could ask Qs and solve problems. I was prepared for discussion as I had consulted books. It was easier to understand everything.

55.      Class Strength :   20       2 hr.     CGPA   5.5

Teacher explained the concept in a very creative way. I listened and imagining in mind what was being explained.

56.      Class Strength :   29       1 hr.     CGPA   6.1

We solved problems.

57.      Class Strength :   150       1 hr.     CGPA   6.2

teacher presented it very well. I tried to listened

58.      Class Strength :   40       1 hr.     CGPA   8.7

The teacher started with a brief introduction of the topic. I jotted down the main points, tied to understand and clarified my doubts.

59.      Class Strength :   210       1 hr.     CGPA   7

All my doubts were cleared then and there.

60.      Class Strength :   150       1 hr.     CGPA   6.2

Teacher’s style forced me to listen.

61.      Class Strength :   270       1 hr.     CGPA   6.2

I was very carefully listening and asking my doubts.

62.      Class Strength :   250       1 hr.     CGPA   5.8

the teacher was able to hold the class through the lecture. Every person could understand what he taught.

63.      Class Strength :   120       1 hr.     CGPA   6.4

Teacher demonstrated every command. We carefully listened and noted important points.

64.      Class Strength :   120       1 hr.     CGPA   7.6

We solved some numerical problems.

65.      Class Strength :   30       1 hr.     CGPA

Teacher worked very hard so that we can get the best from him. I did career planning and sometimes talked about my past life.

66.      Class Strength :   25       2 hr.     CGPA   5.8

Organised my group members and divided the task

67.      Class Strength :   30       1 hr.     CGPA   6.6

I presented my views which gave me confidence

68.      Class Strength :   250       1 hr.     CGPA   6.0

Teacher did not merely explain the topic. He gave real life examples that enabled the matter to be firmly stored in mind. No notes were taken. There was no necessity. We just sat and listened.

69.      Class Strength :   70       1 hr.     CGPA   5.4

I jotted down the points and solved the questions.

70.      Class Strength :   100       1 hr.     CGPA   6.5

Teacher taught with examples and explained every line of his notes. The notes were very systematic and understandable.  I tried my best not to divert my attention and studied with full concentration.

71.      Class Strength :   30o       1 hr.     CGPA   5.7

We were free to express ourselves. Teacher and student were interfacing to each other frankly. I gave my ideas and suggestions.

72.      Class Strength :   20       1 hr.     CGPA

Listened and thought to be in a live scenario.

73.      Class Strength :   100       1 hr.     CGPA   6.9

Explaination, doubt clarification, problems. I tried to solve problems and sought clarification from teacher.

74.      Class Strength :   150       1 hr.     CGPA   9.0

First an interactive session was there. Followed by explanation with examples. I carefully listened and made notes.

75.      Class Strength :   30       1.30 hr.     CGPA   8.9

Teacher real life application of a mathematical theorem. I put in Qs to overcome my doubts and solved problems.

  1. Class Strength :            .     CGPA  6.5

Very interactive class. Involved my self in interaction.

77.      Class Strength :   100       1 hr.     CGPA   5.4

Very interactive. I was attentive and enjoyed giving replies to the Qs   asked.

78.      Class Strength :   300       1 hr.     CGPA   5.6

Very interactive. Listened very carefully and tried to give answers as far as possible.

79.      Class Strength :   100       1 hr.     CGPA   8.6

Very interactive and involving  session. Made one really think. I answered Qs, analysed other’s answers, related the things to real life.

80.      Class Strength :   150       1 hr.     CGPA   7.5

We always learnt something more than the course format. And applications of the fundamentals. I listened carefully.

81.      Class Strength :   240       1 hr.     CGPA   8.2

It was not restricted any topic. We had discussed natural phenomenon around us and their relevance to the subject.

82.      Class Strength :   30       2 hr.     CGPA   7.71

Topic was practically relevant. Teacher asked us to think and ponder about diff theoretical concepts and helped us visualize them in reality and asked us to think about them.


You may have noticed the differences in the nature of the anecdotes of these groups. This difference can be attributed to the  Exposure to active and interactive  lecture classes in their 2nd-3rd year classes.



1.  Theories that can help teachers/trainers/e-learning designers to think like educators, help students to improve their learning ability, and also help Software Developers in developing domain competence and readiness

2.  Some Theoretical Perspectives about Learning and Teaching

3.   Great Gurus’ Wisdom – What Socrates, Galileo, and Einstein said about teaching?



Keywords:   Software Engineering Education, Computing Education, Computer Science Education, Engineering Education, Information Technology Education, Information Systems Education, College Education, Higher Education, Professional Education


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