Tuesday, 3 February 2009

I expect it'll be a bit like Dead Poets Society

I’m currently grappling with writing my first lecture. I’ve given other people’s lectures, and I’ve written presentations on my own stuff, but this is something a bit different.

I anticipate it will go something like this:

1. Decide what I’m going to talk about
2. Get all the info
3. Structure it
4. Spend hours on google finding ‘hilarious’ pictures for it
5. Make a nice powerpoint for it
6. Rehearse it
7. Decide it’s boring
8. Add more bits to make it more interesting
9. Cut bits out to make it less long
10. Wrestle with self doubt about ability to give lectures and general suitability for academia
11. Spend days paralysed by fear and nightmares as lecture approaches
12. Give lecture

One thing I have learnt from my own experiences of listening to lectures, is never ever mention a related topic then say “But I’ll go into more detail on that later” because those words make me throw myself back in my chair wailing “What? How much later? Aren’t we nearly done yet?”

Any other tips/suggestions/pitfalls very gratefully received.


Allison said...

I still dread giving presentations, although I have gotten much better being forced to do them.

I agree with you on those dreaded words. Bah!

But a funny picture does help. Its usually what I remember most. ;) Good luck!

Karen's Mouth said...

Yeah, it doesn't matter how interesting the topic, or how engaging the speaker! But it does help if they've got funny pictures :)

Barbara Bruederlin said...

Absolutely, you cannot go wrong with funny pics!

And of course you will avoid the horrible habit of some lecturers of reading EXACTLY what is written on the slide. Promise me you will never do that.

Knock em dead!

Karen's Mouth said...

I would NEVER do that Barb! Absolutely criminal. I'm off to search for relevant Far Side cartoons (the default 'hilarious pic' for lectures).

brucehood said...

If they are undergrads and it is a difficult topic... here are my top 2 tips.

Halfway though the lecture. Stop and suddenly say. Ok. Lets take a two minute break for those of you who need to text....They will be doing it anyway during the lecture but this means they are much more likely to pay attention.

Do not ask, "Do you have any questions?"
Say "What are your questions?" This forces them to think and engenders participation.

Both are tough to do for the first time but I guarentee you'll have a better lecturing experience.


Karen's Mouth said...

Hi Bruce. GREAT tips thank you. They are post-grad clinical trainees 3 weeks shy of qualifying and in the middle of finishing of their dissertations. Tough crowd. I doubt they'll be texting but I anticipate they'll be difficult to get questions from so tips very much appreciated!