Feedback on the presentation (Apparently far worse from the other side...)
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Got some feedback from John via email. In summary, needed to be designed more, have less information (always one of my problems), and use more anecdotes.
All good points. Doing it again, I'd probably have focused solely on descriptors. Don't know about his preference for story-centred organisation. I tend to come from the "theory first, practice second" school. Still, I suppose most people don't, so storied is probably a better approach for corporate-style training.
Oh well, guess I should stick to academia... still need to improve the lectures, but maybe just abandon the idea of teaching the general public.
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John Lam on 11/25/2004 6:16 a.m. #
The best teachers in academia also use a story oriented approach too. Teaching is teaching - the techniques are applicable across a wide range of disciplines.<br />
Listen to how Richard Feynmann teaches (his lectures are available on CD). If you get a chance to go to an academic conference (OOPSLA et al) go see Gregor Kiczales do his love story about AOP.
Mike Fletcher on 11/25/2004 9:45 a.m. #
Oh, I know it's a common technique, and (as noted in the next post, it's doable for this presentation). I did study information design for three years there ;) . Would help if I were to spend some time actually designing and editing the presentation, instead of writing it minutes before giving it, but then there's only so much time in the week. Oh well, the presentation sucked. No defense for that, should have made the time to work on it.<br />
That said, I'm not totally convinced "storytelling" is the best style. Just on ideological grounds; I don't think there is a best design for all cases.<br />
I know I find "story" presentations annoying when trying to absorb large/complex systems (though for simple subjects I love them). I find parsing the Gestalt frustrating when someone else has already parsed it. Abstraction/rationalisation via proposal, then exploration/challenge of the hypothesis through examples tends to work better for me in those situations.<br />
(Yes, some bitterness left over from professors of the "storytelling" meme in Architecture refusing (though in retrospect it's more like "not knowing how to") explain what they were doing plainly and clearly, and instead requiring us to parse opaque stories by the dozens (and yes, I do understand why they do it, I just think it's a postmodern cop-out)... which actually lead me to parody it far too much in my thesis, come to think of it... using storytelling and parabolic explorations so much that it wound up requiring a huge amount of work just to pull out what should have been a fairly simple exposition (now that I'm a few years away from it)).<br />
Anyway, thanks for the feedback.