What makes a lecture or seminar awesome? And what’s a boring one? Results from a short discussion with students from Generation Z

Each year I meet new students in my role as university lecturer at the Bucharest University of Economic Studies. And each year, I learn a lot from them. A couple of year ago, I found two pieces of information that you can find below. The first is related to “Top 10 Skills”, mainly as a comparison between 2020 and 2014, in which Complex Problem Solving, Critical Thinking & Creativity are the first 3.

The second picture is one of my favorite when it comes to the future of education. The role of the educator switches from “Expert” to “Facilitator” while the access is currently desired to be anytime, anywhere and on any device. Moreover, the expertise is no longer only given by the teacher. In the Fourth Industrial Revolution “anyone can teach”, as the sources of information provides the foundation for any student to master a topic and then share it with his/her colleagues. So, there is a shared responsibility today, of the teacher to create that learning experience that capture students attention and involvement, but also of the student to get involved, to ask questions, to share what they learnt, read, discussed and open a totally different conversation in the classroom.

Based on this, this semester I wanted to find out from the students that I worked with (2nd year & 3rd year students in Business & Economics) what makes them get involved. So, the discussion meant for them to answer these 2 questions:

  1. What makes a seminar/lecture boring ?
  2. What makes a  seminar/lecture awesome?

They had to work in groups, discuss and come up with some answers. Below are the results. Some of the answers are really common sense, but others where quite surprising.


If we can summarize the findings, we can say that in order for teachers to create a learning experience for students, a couple ideas could emerge:

  1. Challenge, interact & involve students – this might take a while, as this is an important change for them as well
  2. Structure information that is practical and updated – if it’s new & useful for their career
  3. And most important – ask them what are their interests, career perspective – in order to update case studies and examples to fit their needs.

The new generation is very smart, has a lot of ideas, and access to many sources of information. Sometimes, too much information can lead to a new need. The need to filter the sources, the information, the “opportunities”. They have much more sources that capture their attention then me and my colleagues had 15 years ago as students.

They are smarter, more informed. But, the true difference in their generation and the growth in their competitive advantage will be made by those that will filter and focus.

  1. Filter the relevant sources of distractions – towards helping them with their goals, passion, interest
  2. Focus – learning to direct and keep their attention on a task, without being interrupted by social media, notification or “noise news” that eventually might not prove to be helpful. I really believe in the power of this generation of students to bring their creativity, ideas & passion by figuring out how to use technology in a more productive way.


Because, what really makes an awesome seminar or lecture is the conversation that is taking place. And through this shared responsibility: teacher to challenge, involve, interact and structure their information and students on filtering information around them and focusing on getting the most of a seminar or lecture, that’s when the real conversation starts to happen and visible results can be seen.