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Lecture Handouts

Handouts are useful tools for student preparation, comprehension and revision. While handouts can follow many different formats and include a variety of content, they generally summarise the material covered in a lecture, and may include some added exercises or questions for reflection. Inclusive handouts will be accessible, accurate, and will add to the students' learning experience. Lecture handouts - who benefits?


Inclusive Guidelines for Lecture Handouts:

By providing students with handouts at least 24 hours in advance you allow students to prepare for your lecture (e.g. consider any questions for reflection, read any preparatory reading).

Furthermore, handouts lessen the need of students to take notes. This means that they can engage at a greater cognitive level with your materials because they are not occupied with the mechanical task of writing.

Don't leave handout circulation until after class. Students will feel the need to take more notes if lecture handouts are not available within the lectures:

  • in case handouts are not circulated as promised, and
  • because they will not know what details are included within notes.


Student feedback indicates that students are often promised a copy of presentations / handouts after lectures and either do not receive them or receive them many weeks into the future.


Extensive note taking during lectures can be particularly problematic for students who experience fatigue for any reason, non-native English speakers, and students with certain disabilities (e.g. physical disabilities, dyslexia).


Msc Student, Non-Native English Speaker
‘I do not have time to listen to the professor, to understand him, and to take proper notes. I cannot do all this together….doing two works, all three does not'


A note on provision for print disabled students who use assistive technology

Resources often have to be adapted, or alternatively formatted, for print disabled students using, for example, screen readers, or screen magnifiers.

The lecturer can help ensure the provision of accessible materials to students with print disabilities when preparing lecture handouts and reading lists by preparing in accordance with accessible information guidelines, and circulating in advance of classes.

Consider electronic resources when compiling reading lists. Increasingly material published after 2002 (particularly journal articles) is available electronically.


Lecture Handout - A checklist of good practice (Word, 400kb)

Last updated 28 February 2019 by Trinity Inclusive Curriculum (Email).