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I wish my lectures looked like this April 28, 2009

Posted by gordonwatts in Teaching, university.

A typical lecture prepared and given by John Wheeler:

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Apparently he would fill the lecture board with these amazing figures and very neat writing before lecture, and then work his way through the the board, moving from one end of the room to the next. Wow, eh? Think of that – every seminar he would give he would have to write it from scratch. No reusing power point slides!!

When the age of transparencies hit I remember seeing several people who would give talks that were art and science combined – just as above. Half the joy of watching the talk was their slides and how they told a story with their amazing pictures. The other half was the science, of course.

Then there is me. For lectures I use something called OneNote. I basically use it like a very long transparency roll, only it is better since it is on a very large projected computer screen (hey – no more transparency pen rubbing off on my left hand!). I like it because it has axes pre-drawn – and straight lines! But that doesn’t change a basic fact: my lectures are a jumble of bad writing, bad pictures, and squiggly lines.

I wonder how much time and effort I’ve have to put into things to make them look like above!? Perhaps there is some program that will automatically draw what I mean and not the tortured path my pen actually draws out?


1. Mike - May 2, 2009

When I first started teaching, I wrote transparencies out before class. The diagrams were clear and the writing was better than I could on the blackboard. The students complained that I went too fast. I switched to using a transparency roll on the overhead and writing it in real time in class. It had the benefit of slowing me down to a speed the students could follow, but it was certainly a lot sloppier.

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