This is a question that universities have increasingly
been asking of themselves, in part and in large,
because as class sizes increase,
and the numbers of our students as well as their diversity,
ability, and background increase,
these kind of questions become more important to us.
Most of the answers that we've arrived at
through the various sort of centers and workshops
that support teaching university students
throughout America, most of the answers
have to do with forum, with how to improve the forum
of the lecture so pacing or articulation
or clarity or how to provide better technical support,
that sort of thing.
And that's probably out of necessity.
These centers have to support teaching and teachers
from a range of disciplines across the university,
so they need to be able to provide some answers
and some help to a professor of physics
or a professor of English,
and therefore they don't get involved on the content
and the state of the forum.
But for myself, at least I have found that by far
the main factor that goes into making a lecture good or bad
is the content.
If a lecture doesn't work,
any teaching situation doesn't work,
it's because I haven't given either enough thought
to the subject or more often
because I'm usually teaching in my field
to how best to make that subject clear and compelling
to my audience.
Discussions are different.
Classroom discussions are different.
A classroom discussion you work together towards the truth
or something like it, the best you could do on that day.
But on a lecture, you've got to have something to say
and you better had thought about it for a very long time,
and thought about how to make it clear and compelling
to an audience that has not necessarily considered
this subject for as long as you have.
Everything else is just, well,
it's like staging in real estate.
It drive some numbers up, but it's not what matters
or so I think.