Wednesday, April 20, 2011


Could it possibly be that teaching is teaching, no matter what forum it occurs in?

Gearing up to create my final presentation for my Online Instructional Design class - in which I would have to fill 20 minutes of dead air with something resembling education - I was surprised to find that my focus was on the pedagogy.  What were the learning objectives? What steps would the class have to take in order to achieve them?  These are the same questions I would be asking myself in preparing to teach in a traditional classroom setting.

Of course, in a traditional classroom setting I wouldn't have to worry about being suddenly transported out of the room in mid-sentence (which would happen if my internet connectivity went down).  And my students wouldn't need to leave the room to access the handouts, they'd just need to extend a hand and perform a familiar grasping motion with their fingers. 

For the first seven weeks of class, I was focused on the strangeness of the technology and the frustrations that always seemed to attend it.  It wasn't until the final week - when we got to the teaching - that I finally understood that the technology is just the medium.  Teaching is teaching, whatever the forum.  Go figure.

Thursday, April 7, 2011

"and finally..."

If you're giving a 24-minute speech, please do not use the words "and finally" at minute 13. 

Now, I know what the speaker was doing.  He was presenting the final point of the subject he was discussing.  But the audience doesn't know that.  For an audience the words "and finally" are a cue to put down the fork and prepare to clap.  If the speech was particularly good, they're a cue to ready one's thigh muscles to stand.  And if the speech was particularly bad, they're a hopeful ray of light at the end of a vast tunnel of boredom.

However good a speaker you are, don't say "and finally" until you mean it.