The most difficult thing was delivering a lecture to no audience, just the robotic cameras.”
Last week I reached out to 10 professors and subject matter experts from a range of disciplines and asked them this question:
- What would you say was one of the hardest things to do when you were planning, writing, practicing, delivering, or reviewing your course?
Not surprisingly, the #1 challenge is teaching to a camera instead of a live student. Most of us think of teachers as guiding students, but in many ways students guide teachers.
The toughest thing about making an online course is letting go of almost all the things you’ve learned about how to deliver a great class in front of live students.”
This week I reached out to 10 professors and subject matter experts from a range of disciplines and asked them this question:
What was one of the hardest things to do when you were planning, writing, practicing, delivering, or reviewing your course?
If you have an important point to make, don’t try to be subtle or clever. Use a pile driver. Hit the point once. Then come back and hit it again. Then hit it a third time—a tremendous whack.”
—Winston S. Churchill
Can you imagine taking a class that was delivered with the power and passion of Churchill’s delivery? Here’s an example of one of his most memorable and moving speeches:
“I would say to the House, as I said to those who have joined this Government: I have nothing to offer but blood, toil, tears and sweat. We have before us an ordeal of the most grievous kind. We have before us many, many long months of struggle and of suffering. You ask, what is our policy? I can say: It is to wage war, by sea, land and air, with all our might and with all the strength that God can give us; to wage war against a monstrous tyranny, never surpassed in the dark, lamentable catalogue of human crime. This is our policy. You ask, what is our aim?
I can answer in one word: It is victory, victory at all costs, victory in spite of all terror, victory, however long and hard the road may be, for without victory, there is no survival.”
This speech gives me chills no matter how many times I read it.
Unfortunately, most people aren’t reaching for this impact when they write their scripts for online courses. But teachers should be attempting in every possible moment to convey their passion for their subject matter.
Here are 4 key ways to do this within your teaching script:
Learning without thinking is labor lost; thinking without learning is dangerous.” —Chinese proverb
If you’ve ever cut an avocado open, you know that it has a giant seed at its core. All the fruit develops around this behemoth of a seed, which is so heavy that when the fruit drops it plummets deep beneath the blanket of leaves and into the soil.
There the seed is protected while little creatures nibble away at its skin and fruit, the leaves transform into humus, and a fertile bed is prepared for the seed to sprout. Nature designed an incredibly clever system to ensure that avocado trees replenish for generations.
A well-constructed course starts essentially the same way—with a robust seed at its core that can carry it through all phases. Many teachers think they know their subject matter so well that they can skip through the work of identifying and clarifying that core idea, but this is a mistake.
The human brain starts working the moment you are born and never stops until you stand up to speak in public.” –George Jessel
Years ago I worked with a brilliant science professor who was also a gifted writer, teacher, and storyteller.
The only problem was that he had heard that memorization was the only way to deliver fluidly before a camera. He decided, therefore, to memorize his entire course before we recorded it.
All 130,000 words.