Replied to The lecture paradox (David White)

I suspect we know that the lecture is not as much of a draw as live music or the big screen – the ‘live’ experience is perhaps too similar to the recorded version. This means that we need to work on our live presence (on-site and online), just as many bands have had to, and there are many techniques that can be employed. I’d argue that presence and good pedagogy go hand-in-hand. How can we expect our students to be engaged in something which is unengaging?

We need to refocus our idea of university around the importance of creating moments of shared presence to facilitate new connections – connections in our thinking and connections with those around us.

I am really interested in your correlation between lectures and live music. I recently watched a discussion with Chilly Gonzales in which he spoke about the difference between composing and performance.

You know who’s full of shit? Stupid singer-songwriters who say, “I’m just going to go up there and be myself.” They’re full of shit

Songwriting has to be 100% personal. It’s walking out onstage. It’s taking a photo, choosing an album title. All that you have to have in mind. It can’t be personal any more. It has to be fantastical, which is still personal. It’s the part of your personality that is a fantasy, that has to… That’s the part that carries the football into the end zone of the audience, but when you’re like, planning the music, of course it has to be one hundred percent personal. I never think about who’s listening when I’m composing. That moment is strictly reserved for you and yourself one hundred percent.

For me this same challenge is present in the lecture paradox.

I remember doing a conference presentation a few years ago in which I received scathing feedback. What I realised in hindsight is that I had put far too much effort into the content and failed to provide enough consideration to pedagogy and presentation.