Start Chart: Activate Students in Your Second Lecture

In your first lecture you inspired students to care about the topic and the course. Your passion and perspective hooked them 100% and now those students are ready to dive into the content.  Start delivering on the promises you made in the first lecture! The next stage on a successful student learning journey is activation.


There are many ways you can activate your students depending on your course topic and your own personal teaching style. Adapt the plan below to work with your own topic and teaching style.


Before you can activate students with what they’ve just learned, you have to teach it! Start the lecture by giving a short introduction sentence: “In this lecture you’re going to learn…” This signals to the student that you’re jumping right into the content, and about to teach them something real. Choose a concept relevant to the course: you don’t have to get into the nitty-gritty, but something foundational that will set the stage for what’s to come. This element of the course topic should be relatively easy to understand (but not already understood).

As an example, imagine you’re teaching a course on photography fundamentals: you could start by explaining the importance of light and shadow in photographs. You may even talk about how contrast can influence the mood evoked when viewing the photograph.

If you’re teaching a course on beginning SQL, you could start by defining the SELECT/FROM/WHERE phrases. This gives students the skeleton of every query they’ll write from that point forward.


Now that you’ve taught the concept, give an example. How does this concept apply to a real world object, scenario, or situation?

Using our photography course example, you could now show a series of photos for the student to consider. Compare a few photos that use contrast to those that don’t. You’ve just visually and concretely demonstrated the concept you taught. Your students will start to view photographs in an entirely new way.

Or in a completely different example, demonstrate opening an interactive coding browser and typing three lines of code.


You’ve just given your students an example and now you should prompt them to try it for themselves. This is where the real activation comes in! Your students have just learned something important — when you have them actually apply their new-found skills you’re boosting their confidence by instilling the belief: “Yes, I can really do this!”

Again, let’s use the example of the photography course. You could ask students to place an object on their desk and take a photo, then position a lit lamp on one side of the object and take the same photo. Have them compare the two photos and the visual impact of each.

Whatever you do, ensure that your directions for the activity you choose are very clear, and that the activity itself is not complicated – nothing is worse for the student than a failed activity in the beginning of the course!

Put it all together

Now that you know you’ve strategically planned your second lecture to activate students, you can move on to the the production phase.

  1. Film your lecture!  Click here for a lecture creation timeline you can use to help produce your video.
  2. Share your completed video in the Udemy Studio. You can upload it as a test video, to YouTube, or directly to the Facebook group.
  3. Move on to the third phase of the Start Chart: Rewarding your students!

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