Poster Sessions

There’s a simple and effective teaching technique described in the PIDP textbook Student Engagement Techniques (Barkley, 2010) that I hadn’t seen before called “Poster Sessions”. The technique is described very well in the digital project by past student John Boulton.

One of the strengths of the Poster Sessions technique is to maximize student engagement. Boulton points out a key fact that we must face as educators:

The key to engaging the disengaged is to recognize that there simply is no catch-all solution that will work for all.

To summarize the technique:

  • An interactive discussion is held in which students actively choose the topic for their assigned group. This helps achieve buy-in.
  • Each group researches their topic, summarizing their findings on a poster
  • The groups each exhibit their posters on a pre-chosen deadline day. Half the students view the exhibition and ask questions, while the other half continue their work.

I’m in the middle of delivering a brand-new course this week, and am a little stuck to come up with an exercise to cap off the three-day course. I think I’ve found my approach … this is definitely just-in-time learning!


  • Barkley, E. F. (2010). In E. F. Barkley, Student Engagement Techniques: A Handbook for College Faculty (p. 13). San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.
  • Boulton, J. (2015, October 3). Poster Sessions. Retrieved from YouTube:

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