Disciplinary Differences in the Knowledge Structures in University Lecture Slides
Social Practices in Higher Education - A Knowledge Framework Approach to Linguistic Research and Teaching - Tammy Slater
Zhi Li [+]
University of Saskatchewan
Lecture slides, as a common companion to academic discourse, can play important roles in students’ academic listening comprehension partly because subject content or knowledge structures in Mohan’s terms can be constructed through both language and visuals on the slides. Previous studies have recognized some disciplinary differences in both written and oral academic discourse which may impose challenges on academic listening. Despite the prevalence of lecture slides in classroom contexts, the slides are still under-researched as a part of academic genre and even fewer, if any, studies have paid attention to the potential differences in the knowledge structures between slides used in different disciplines. This exploratory study aims to fill in this gap with a comparative analysis of the knowledge structures in the lecture slides from six undergraduate courses in two broad disciplines, namely, Engineering and Social Sciences. The slide contents were manually coded for both text-based and visual-based knowledge structures. Descriptive statistics indicate that while there were some noticeable differences in the frequencies of occurrence of the six knowledge structures within each discipline, these two disciplines also saw similarities in the general distribution of the knowledge structures. The implications of the findings for EAP pedagogy and assessment are discussed.