As I’ve been mentioning on Twitter, I’ve been tidying my office, and in particular emptying a couple of filing cabinets which contain teaching material going back to 1988! Seeing how this has changed shows, to a certain extent, how teaching methods in universities (at least for Chemistry) have changed.
When I started my teaching, I would turn up in the lecture theatre and write my notes on the blackboard. So I had folders full of hand-written notes. I remember that I would typically get through 4 pages of notes in a 50 minute lecture. This doesn’t seem to bear much relationship to the 20-30 PowerPoint slides I get through in a typical lecture now, but more of that later. I then progressed to using overhead transparencies, but I never really embraced their use, apart from for diagrams etc. Finally I moved to PowerPoint, but it has to be said that it was only about 2 years ago that I finally converted all my courses to that medium. Some, like thermodynamics, clung on stubbornly to ‘chalk and talk’ (although actually pen and whiteboard), but now even that subject is taught by PowerPoint, with plenty of examples on the whiteboard.
I find it difficult to compare my lectures from those early days with what I do now. Then I had to write everything down on the board, and now I essentially show and explain slides. Which is best for the students, or is any comparison irrelevant because of changed times and expectations? As always, comments are welcome!