Becoming an Online Lecturer – By John Arnesen
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As someone from the ‘Boomer’ generation, I have probably done hundreds of presentations and facilitated many courses.
In the 70’s we moved from blackboard to whiteboards and in the 80’s we were all overhead projector experts. During those phases of technology, we still had to have great content and edutainment skills, or the event fell flat.
In the mid-90’s, I even spent a fair amount of time in front of the camera when I was involved in trying to establish Eskom’s inhouse TV service – education and information. This is when I learnt the importance of a great script, the value of the autocue, and the standard by which your ‘audience’ judges you and the programme.
In recent years I have found myself back in front of a camera recording lectures for Chartall Business College’s BBA degree. The technology is exceptional compared to what I used before, but I still need to have great content and put maximum effort into making sure my e-Lectures are engaging and effective.
Yes, there are many complex technical things that one needs to learn; but in my view, that’s the easy part. Content and delivery are where the real challenges for effective e-Lecturing lie.
The 5Ps [Proper Preparation Prevents Poor Performance] are still essential and you need to be even more energised, passionate about the content, and full of enthusiasm for your audience if you want to be successful.
I say this because of the huge difference between face to face delivery and online delivery.
In the classroom environment, student engagement is rather easy. A good lecturer can ‘feel’ the audience and build engagement by allowing for questions or pausing to pose a question and building participation. Most boomers have learnt this skill.
Doing this in an e-Lecture is a lot more challenging. It is just you and the camera and possibly a videographer.
Tips to Consider
Below is a short list of practices I employ in an effort to make my e-Lectures as interesting and engaging as possible.
- Write a detailed script. Write it word for word, exactly as you would read on an autocue. Practice reading it at least twice before you record it.
- Prepare your slides. Include only 5 key points per slide at most and make sure they are visually appealing.
- Prepare yourself mentally before you record. You must build your energy and enthusiasm. It is no different from what Actors do before they go in front of a camera!
- When you record, imagine you are talking to an important audience. Remember that your body language is essential. If possible, stand and present as if you were on the stage doing a TED Talk.
- KEEP YOUR VIDEOS SHORT. We are all used to lecturing for 45 minutes. This is the classroom norm. Online is completely different. A 10-minute video is VERY LONG!
To expand on point 5 above – what I do is aim to divide a typical 45-minute lecture into about 5 shorter videos. I also find that these videos are often less than 9 minutes (which the students love). At the end of each video I ‘talk’ to the student and ask them to stop, pause, and reflect on what they just watched. To help them, I pose a question that makes them think about the key points covered and I always ask them to consider if, what was covered, was relevant to their workplace.
The Chartall Business College Approach
At Chartall we follow each lecture with a number of multiple-choice questions (approximately 10 per lecture) with the aim of encouraging student engagement. These MCQs are fairly straight forward and the answers can be found in the lecture videos. The aim is to encourage the students to re-watch the videos (even if they fast forward every now and then) to reinforce the learning.
Chartall Business College made the decision to shift into online education and training as early as 2014. Over the years, we have built up a deep understanding of how to deliver online education and training effectively and efficiently – resulting in an extensive online offering that serves the wider business community.
To find out more about the online learning experience that we offer, have a look at our online learning guide by going to https://chartallcampus.com/online-learning-guide/.