Tonight (Feb 25, Guyana time and Feb 26 A.M Australia time) i was delighted to be part of the #anu discussion on “blow up the lecture”. Thanks to live tweeting by panel members Inger Mewburn et. al., the discourse on the “lecture” reached my desktop. This is an amazing feat in itself and is worthy of an echo. So the discussion on the lecture and its future went on and i hashed in #anu with my 2 cents. My thoughts on the lecture were along 2 lines: 1. the lecture as an act and 2. the lecturer as an actor. I tweeted the following:
“A lecture is a bit about the content, but much more about u, your enthusiasm, key acts, body language, emotions,things videos may miss
“Too much focus on the “lecture”, not enough on the “lectureR”… the act as good as the actOR
On the first point i thought about my own lectures and the way they are conducted. My lectures are generally a series of acts that set out to tell a story through a series of moves, played out in my body language, the varying tones of voice, movements across the stage, questioning, pauses, and the whole range of , well, acts. It is not ever (not anymore) about the delivery of content. Yes, that is part of it but it is only a small part. This brings my to another point. While i have not done videos before, i cannot think of a well choreographed video in the same way as i think of a lecture. A live stage show is not the same as a movie. No elements of editing or rehearsing is done to polish up an act in a live performance.
This to me is one of the essential differences between a video and a live lecture. It is one of the things we ought to keep in mind when discussing the future of the lecture. Videos cannot replace a live lecture. They can supplement and compliment. And this naturally follows on to my second point – the lecturer as the actor. Too often lectures are done with lecturers calling out notes from behind lecterns, completely disengaged from students, and frankly uninspiring.
Perhaps what we need to do is flip the lecturers. We need to become better performers on the stage.