For the U.S. history survey, I’ve completed the first handful of mini-lectures. They run for 7-11 minutes each, and here is a three-minute sampling.

I posted the videos on YouTube as “unlisted” and sent the links to students. Tomorrow, class time will be spent on further information, elaboration, and answering their questions. I have no idea how many students will have watched the videos by then, but I think the videos should be handy when they study for the next exam. It took a while to make them, due mainly to doing retakes and tedious editing on iMovie. But I’m getting a hang of it.

A few observations:

  • I heard say myself “right,” “all right,” and “you know” too often, and “hmm” and “ah”… Yikes!
  • My lecture style is conversational. It is therefore a challenge online. To minimize the possibility of droning on and on, I focus on analyzing two or three primary sources in each video.
  • Taking this approach means that I only show my face at the beginning, the end, and once or twice in between for a short time. Visually, students see mostly class materials.
  • That said, it’s been fun putting on different clothes for each lecture, making different arrangements on the makeshift set, even holding a different piece of glassware each time.
  • Who would have thought that editing those goofy dance videos is paying dividend? It’s cool, for example, to add to the screen a note or a point of emphasis, even a small correction to something I said earlier.
  • Since I often show short documentary clips during lecture, it helps to have a large TV.

First Zoom class ever tomorrow. Here we go!

EDIT: The rest of the semester generally went well, and several students mentioned these videos in the course evals. Most videos were done in the living room. But one was done in the backyard and another in the front.

In fact, the last video was done on the roof, ha! It began as a joke and sort of took a life of its own. (It was perfectly safe, as I’d never put myself in the slightest physical risk.)