As you can surely guess from my long silence, the last few months have been really, really busy for me. I’m plowing through my dissertation, plus teaching, working, and applying for jobs. I wish I were the kind of person who could operate on no sleep.
One of the things keeping me busy was a guest lecture I gave for the class I’m TA’ing, Dolores Hayden‘s American Cultural Landscapes. Professor Hayden asked me to develop a lecture from a paper on chain stores that I wrote for her class a few years ago. I was happy to do it, since I think the material is really interesting, and I thought students would be interested, too. I always like putting together lectures, since the visual and sequential format helps me break through any writer’s block I might be inclined to have. Plus putting slides together allows me to indulge my technophilia.
I asked someone from the Graduate Teaching Center to observe and videotape my lecture, so I could get a sense of what I was doing right and what I needed to work on. I was really happy that reactions to my lecture seemed to be pretty positive. Watching the video, though, I can see some things I need to pay attention to. This was my first attempt at lecturing from notes, rather than reading a prepared paper, and in general, I think it makes for a more interesting talk for the audience. I’d like, though, to gain greater fluidity in my extemporaneous speaking, and to eliminate my habit of saying “Um” a lot. I also notice that the upswing in my voice when I end sentences makes me sound more tentative than I really am.
You can watch the video after the jump, although we made the mistake of dimming the lights a little too much — it’s very hard to see me. If I have time, I’d like to do a SlideShare version of the talk so it’s easier to see.