Well, I am finally making some progress on product, rather than just ruminating about what I should do!
I did get feedback from my Psychteach colleagues on what they considered the more or most difficult topics to teach in Intro to Psychology. I collected responses from about 20 contributors, and put them in rank order of mention, and reposted that to the listserv as a thankyou. In addition to their topics, a few offered me additional resources, links to other papers, links to digital materials that might be helpful. I do love being a part of such a helpful group of committed teachers!
The topics they listed will serve as a guide for what I do in class, in terms of activities, clarifications, extra materials.
I have started making audio recordings of ‘mini’ lectures, to accompany the powerpoints for each chapter. Using the powerpoints, I find, keeps me on track and more closely tied to the organization of the text. I have added slides to the powerpoints, as I find them somewhat overly wordy. So my steps to making these recordings are as follows:
First, procrastinate like crazy, find almost anything else to do. When that fails, go to step 2.
2. Review the book chapter for content, stories, examples in order to avoid duplication, but also to connect for clarification.
3. Divide the chapter into chunks. I find it easy to upload about 15-17 minutes of talking time onto moodle. And I am guessing that is about what any student can stand at a shot. I am teaching two days, for 75 minutes, and am preparing roughly 60 minutes of talking per class. Four chunks per class, 8 chunks per chapter. All very approximate.
4. Review the powerpoint slides, and add content where appropriate. I find myself reaching for other content when I can imagine myself writing on the board in addition to the powerpoint.
5. Now sit yourself down and talk. This is the hard part. I have learned several things about this process. It is harder to feel excited and inspired, talking to yourself. It is impossible to talk to yourself enthusiastically in the presence of unintended or uninterested others. Do not try to do this in the presence of a quietly reading partner. Do not try to do this with the windows open. Watch out for your phone. Dogs. Chirping birds. I have read that students find it more enjoyable/relatable/acceptable when the audio is not overproduced, cleaned up, and don’t mind interruptions. I sure hope so!
6. Unless you extremely facile with tech, I recommend immediately loading your audio chunks to where ever you want them to end up, Moodle for my course, in this case. It keeps me from getting anxious about deleting a lot of hard talking!
My next step is to figure out my syllabus, and how to assign points for listening to these audios. I will also be compiling a list of activities for class, a larger obligation for class preparation than I have had in the past, now that I am taking lecture out of the picture!
I hope moodle has meta data or some way for me to monitor who has at least opened the file.
Onward to more talking to myself!