Glencora Borradaile

         Associate Professor & College of Engineering Dean's Professor, School of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science, Oregon State University

October 26, 2011

Teaching with a microphone

Filed under: Silent Glen Speaks @ 4:37 pm

After Claire’s post on accidentally taking a classroom microphone with her after teaching, I grumbled to myself “I wish I taught at a fancy university with a fancy microphone in the fancy classroom.”  One email later, I learn that there is a microphone in the computer cabinet in the classroom where I teach 130 students.  I tried it out today, hoping to counter a sore throat after flying back from FOCS*.  Apparently it worked really well, the students in the back were answering more questions and one student after class asked me to use it in future classes.

Sadly, it means that maintaining my sanity with comments murmured under my breath is no longer possible.

* I will post on FOCS when the talks from the conference are available so I can point to my favorite talks.

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1 Comment

  1.   Claire — October 27, 2011 @ 4:38 am    

    As it happens, I have another microphone story coming up in my blog
    in a couple of days… but I’m glad your first experience was
    positive. At first I didn’t like the idea for the following reasons:

    1. Attachment to what is “natural”: I thought that microphones were
    artificial and created a distance between me and the students, a
    hierarchy: she who hold the microphone has the power! Power to drown
    out every sound.

    2. Swagger: having had voice lessons in the past, I thought that I
    knew how to let my voice carry across large spaces without injuring
    my vocal chords.

    But it turned out that students complained about not hearing me. My
    way of protecting my vocal chords turned out to involve speaking much
    more softly than they needed me to.

    So I gave in and started using the microphone, and, o surprise,
    enjoying it!

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