Sage from Afar

The pitfall I’d like to avoid, but know I am going to struggle with, is being the “Sage on the Stage”. One of the facets I love about teaching such large classes (600) is that it really is very much like a performance. I do feel like I am on stage. Many days I tell stories to better illustrate a concept I’m covering. When telling these stories, I could hear a pin drop in the auditorium. Sometimes I think students are much more interested in hearing the stories than they are the actual lecture content.

Maybe I can avoid being the “Sage on the Stage” by, instead of feeding students information in the form of lecture content, I could direct them to trustworthy websites where they could locate some of the lecture content themselves. I feel that where students find their information on the Web is critical, particularly for this DPD hybrid class. It is here that I can still keep my sage-like persona, as the curator of content. Once they have the necessary information, I can then guide them through the processes of applying and synthesizing the material they’ve found, and then I could tie it all together through stories in the classroom.

Additionally, an auditorium classroom doesn’t lend itself well to students participating in group activities, so the class isn’t very interactive. I am hoping that the online component of my hybrid class will allow for this type of interaction. I also hope to try group activities in the classroom now that I won’t be pressed for time trying to get through lecture material.

I anticipate this hybrid course will force me to relinquish some of the limelight, which is probably a good thing 🙂

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2 Responses to Sage from Afar

  1. Dan says:

    Hybrid doesn’t mean that you need to give up on the idea performing with a large group, it just pushes you to perform with them on another level.

    Hybrid is the rock concert to lectures Mozart recital. Why do people like to sing out loud at rock concerts? Didn’t they pay good money to hear a vocoder and a bunch of samples? Singing along and being there are a part of the experience, which exists in any number of dimensions beyond auditory and visual stimulation. The physical and emotional levels created through interacting with the other students doesn’t need to feel like sitting quietly in the concert hall waiting for the second violins to do some of that classical music stuff, like playing figures, etc. Now does this mean that you need to start a chemistry mosh pit? No. That doesn’t sound safe: even in a class without bunsen burners. A great performer can integrate audience feedback and be even greater.

    Shifting the limelight from person to person only pumps up the classroom drama, which will make your solos as the lecturer even more compelling.

  2. Kryn says:

    This is fantastic, Dan! 🙂 I laughed out loud. And Kathy, I totally hear you. The performer in me loves to have that audience. Maybe we can think about little mini video dramas like Jimmy Fallon likes to do… Downton Sixbey style.

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