As I prepared to “teach” you how to achieve “quick and easy class planning,” I realized that I needed to practice what I preach. Here are the steps I took in working on this newsletter article.
1. I asked myself what I wanted you to get from reading this article.
The answer is that I would like you to be able to take a step backwards from the content of your topic, and think about the form. Specifically, I’d like you to consider ways to make your classes not only palatable, but enjoyable and worthwhile to students in their late teens.
2. I reviewed the relevant literature.
In my case, I limited this to a couple of hours. This is an area where tons of information exist, yet the newsletter format limits me to a few hundred words. After all, you can do all the background reading you want. My job is to point you in some useful directions.
3. I decided to use the web page as my metaphor.
I love metaphors – they subtly bring in the visual parts of the brain. In this case, the metaphor of a web page seems particularly apt, since 18-22 year-olds spend so much time online.
4. I decided to present the material in a graphic way.
Specifically, I would write a newsletter that illustrates my points by example.
- The prep phase would be outlined as you are reading it currently, and placed on my web site. Consider it a handout.
- It would be like a good web site and hold the reader’s attention.
- I would have links to other pages which illustrate my points – this is equivalent to outside reading.
- I would have an example page that is not formatted, being a metaphor for a dull lecture.
- I would create a mind map illustrating the whole process.
And here it is:
Professors and graduate students who struggle with capturing the attention of bored 18-year-olds will enjoy reading the article and seeing the Mind Map of the article on how to create a lecture that transfixes your students!