Monday 10 November 2008

Giving a Lecture

Is perhaps the most terrifying thing about being a university lecturer actually having to lecture? Lecture theatres are strange places anyway. You look up at your audience. You often have to compete with noisy heating or air-conditioning.
We have about sixty-five students supposed to be attending our core lecture. I actually counted over fifty today. That is not too bad considering that there are a lot of bugs going round and this is the week in which a whole load of assignments are due in.
My voice doesn’t carry well these days. The desk mike only seems to work if you stand on top of it. I elected to have a radio mike. I was able to collect it on the way for the audio visual department is in the same building as the lecture theatre where I was working. I really recommend them. Teachers at all levels need to preserve their voice.
Well, I think the lecture went okay. They seemed to hear me without straining, though I myself couldn’t tell whether the mike was working properly.
I posted notes for them on Blackboard, our VLE, which gave them the focus of the lecture. I used a version of this for myself, though I actually wrote timings on it as well. The slightly odd situation here is that I am a fiction specialist and I was lecturing on poetry. A colleague, who is a poet, actually lectured on autobiography. It had to be that way, as he is off on a project soon. The poet who wrote the lecture has put more detailed notes on Blackboard and some quotations. I gave them a handout of the quotations but highlighted some of them on a Power Point display I showed via the projector. So, they had plenty of hooks.
I always worry that I won’t have enough material to fill the time. Yet, somehow, it does last. Maybe because even when you’re using a mike, when you speak to a large audience you slow right down.
And I have to admit, I quite enjoy the experience, though I can be respectably nervous beforehand. The oddest part is just being in a room with so many other people hanging on your every word.

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