Following the pivot to online teaching as a result of COVID-19, discussion has turned to how the “new normal” in higher education will look, in light of rapid changes and technological upskilling that have taken place across the sector. Amongst this discussion, along standing debate as to whether higher education should abandon traditional face-to-face lectures has reignited, either because of uncertainty surrounding when large crowds can feasibly and reliably gather, or for pedagogical reasons, such as retaining the use of flipped classrooms or shorter chunks of pre-recorded material that have been developed during the pivot. In this paper, we set out our reflection on this issue based on the evidence available. We conclude that traditional on-campus lectures, and the recordings of those lectures have a place in higher education and the suggestion that they should be abandoned is as unhelpful as the suggestion that they should be the default mode of teaching. When lectures are deliberately chosen as the most appropriate method of teaching and when the same pedagogical care and attention is given as to other modes of delivery, they provide an effective, pragmatic solution, particularly for large classes. Our response to the pivot should not be to abandon lectures but to critically reflect on their purpose and potential.


This content is not covered by the Open Government Licence. Please see source record or item for information on rights and permissions.

Cite as

Nordmann, E., Hutchison, J. & MacKay, J. 2021, 'Lecture rapture: The place and case for lectures in the new normal', Teaching in Higher Education. https://doi.org/10.1080/13562517.2021.2015755

Downloadable citations

Download HTML citationHTML Download BIB citationBIB Download RIS citationRIS
Last updated: 30 May 2023
Was this page helpful?