I'll try not to be obnoxious about it, but I'm going to keep talk radio in mind tonight when I do my lecture for MacCall's class. The first time I did one of these, using Wimba, which enables voice, live chat, and the ability to present powerpoint slides to the class, but no visuals of each other, I found it to be very disconcerting. I hadn't realized until then just how much I rely on visual feedback from the audience that I'm presenting to. I modify the pacing, the tone, even the sequence of what I'm doing, even when I'm working with a pretty well-structured lecture. I've always viewed it as performance, not much different than when I'm playing guitar and singing -- there's always a setlist, but it's never written in stone, because it's dependent on how well you're connecting with the audience.
So the next time I did the lecture for MacCall, I kept NPR's news programs in the back of my mind. Those folks are getting no feedback from the audience at all, and yet they're able to make it sound very informal, and conversational, as if you're right there. That's the effect that I wanted. And I felt much better about that second round. (It was also enhanced by the fact that the students were much more comfortable with the technology as well. And I expect the group this evening to be even more savvy than those from a year ago.)
My favorite part of lecturing or presenting live is always the discussion. It's a lot more fun for me, and I think it's more useful for the audience. So as I was thinking about getting into the right mindset for tonight I realized that what I want is not All Things Considered, but Rush Limbaugh. That is, I can pontificate about what I think the important issues are, but allow a lot of time for comments, questions & suggestions from the group.
Well, maybe Limbaugh isn't exactly the model that I want to use.... I'd actually like to encourage real discussion, diversity of opinion, and informed critical thinking, which is pretty much the opposite of what most talk radio is about.