With spring registration upon us, many students are scrambling to decide which classes to take next semester. At a school as large as the University of Minnesota, there are nearly endless options.
The school offers two primary types of classes to students: lectures and discussions. While there are definite pros and cons to both types, it seems discussions are much more profitable to the average student than lectures.
This is due to the nature of lectures, which are often large. Lecturers rarely take attendance. Students often revel in this, as it makes your presence in class optional. That said, students who don’t attend lectures don’t get nearly as much exposure to the material as students who do.
In addition, the massive amount of students in a lecture hall often makes it difficult to pay attention for more than a few minutes.
What lectures do offer is a remarkable amount of freedom. They leave decisions such as class attendance and participation up to the students rather than the professor.
Discussions, in contrast to lectures, provide students the option to get to know their classmates and professors, allowing them to create relationships with them. Discussions often require attendance, which can be both beneficial and detrimental. Although it forces students to go to class (which is good), there are severe penalties for missing more
than a few sessions (which, let’s agree, is not).
I’ve found discussions are much more enjoyable than lectures. Not only do they help to broaden your network, but they also provide a quieter, less rambunctious atmosphere that makes it easier to learn.