The Handbook for Economics Lecturers

2.5 The role of seminars in a programme of learning and teaching

The most important first step in planning a seminar programme is to ensure that activities complement the lecture programme. In contrast to lectures, seminars offer good opportunities for interaction between the tutor and students, and the key function of a seminar is to exploit these opportunities. Tutors are able to diagnose students’ difficulties and present challenges that should focus students’ efforts on the more critical ideas to understand and techniques to master. Students are able to check their understanding and seek advice when they recognise that their understanding is incomplete. Through these interactions, students should be able to deepen their understanding, recognise the relevance of ideas introduced in the lecture and make connections between ideas and evidence presented in different lectures. If a seminar begins to resemble a mini-lecture, it has completely lost its way.