Chalk and Talk

Today is the last day of teaching ahead of next week’s mid-term break. As it happens I did two consecutive lectures from 11-1 today instead of the usual one from 12-1 because of a rearrangement necessitated by a staff absence. I don’t mind admitting that I’m looking forward to a bit of a pause during Study Week, before embarking on the remaining 7 teaching weeks of the Semester.

The room I give my 12-1 lecture in has a chalkboard but the one for the 11-12 slot only has a whiteboard. The downside of the whiteboard is that it is almost impossible to make a lecture recording because the contrast is too low. I was happy to move to the usual room for the second one, which isn’t great either but at least has a decent blackboard.

A still from one of last year’s Engineering Maths lectures from home…

I know people think I am very old fashioned in persistently using a chalkboard. They also find it quite amusing that I bought one especially so I could do lectures from home using it. It’s far easier to get a decent contrast than using a whiteboard and I find that standing up and walking around allows me to communicate more effectively, at a decent pace and with a reasonable amount of energy. Most importantly of all I think it’s important for the students to see a process unfolding.

It’s proving much more difficult to provide decent quality lecture recordings on campus than at home because of the lack of decent camera facilities, but I’m doing the best I can.

Anyway, I was pleased to find a recent article about why Mathematics professors at Stanford University still use chalkboards. I agree with everything in it and will continue to use chalk and talk as long as I can. The way things are going with Covid-19 I may even be using the one at home again before too long…

3 Responses to “Chalk and Talk”

  1. I would think that you walking around in the video is already an improvement over being a talking face in the corner. Seeing the process is important, but so is the body language

  2. Anton Garrett Says:

    Write the lecture in real time on an overhead projector scroll?

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