A Librarian who Lectures, Part Two

A few months back, I gave my first lecture to roughly 200 undergraduate students. It was terrifying and thrilling speaking in front of such a large audience, and I count it as quite an achievement. Last week I gave a second lecture to this class, and since I blogged about the first, this post is a reflection on how it compared.

This lecture covered a brief introduction to using databases for research, and citing and referencing. I used my predecessor’s slides, which I updated and amended to my own style.

In my original post, I advised the following:

  • Don’t let them know you’re afraid. 

This time round, I was a lot less anxious – I knew what to expect, and I knew I could handle it.

  • Don’t underestimate how long it takes for people to settle down

I started at five minutes past the hour, and didn’t acknowledge those who came in late (rather than letting them disrupt my flow).

  • Balance making the session as interactive as possible without it descending into chaos. 

There wasn’t much scope for discussion in this lecture, but it is something I tried to bear in mind during the quiz questions.

  • Make it personal to their course

The content of the lecture – primarily referencing – can very easily become generic. By using examples that are key texts they have likely encountered can trigger recognition and makes it more relevant. I also tried to emphasise the benefits of referencing correctly – you’ll get better marks!

I felt a lot more confident giving this lecture, having done the experience before. Which just goes to show that practice really does make public speaking easier. The audience was also a bit smaller this time, as not everyone turned up – I won’t take this personally!

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