new teaching challenges

well, i’ve moved away from the beautiful, beachside wollongong. i’m now located 850 kms north in lismore, nsw. my partner was assigned a (mandatory) year-long placement here, and i decided to follow along as i’m getting towards the end of my phd now and i’m able to be a bit more flexible in how often i’m on campus. luckily for me, southern cross university here in lismore had quite the opportunity for me so i will be lecturing and tutoring for a first year subject on global media. it’s a bit of a stretch for me, topic-wise, but in a way that i am finding really appealing.

when i was preparing to teach my first tutorial at wollongong, i told the coordinator that i was nervous and that i wasn’t familiar with some of the subject areas i was to be teaching in. (it was similarly a first year new media subject, and like most first-year subject incredibly broad in its scope.) the coordinator told me that from his experience, teaching was one of the best ways to learn new things that you don’t have the time to study otherwise. this has indeed been the case for me. as australian phd programmes don’t have any coursework, comprehensive exams, or reading lists, you end up becoming incredibly specialised on your particular topic — sometimes to your detriment. i missed the variety of my undergrad (once described by a uni employee as “eclectic”) but have found that i can explore new topics through teaching.

while it’s taken me ages to figure out how to use it (and i must confess i’m still making sense of the intricacies of it), i’ve absolutely fallen in love with the presentation software, prezi. it’s easily accessible through their website, prezi.com. it’s based more on a mind-map kind of system rather than being as linear and structured as powerpoint. a few other lecturers i know use it, and students seem to love it while it’s live in the classroom, but it’s not quite as easy to follow as powerpoint if you didn’t make it to the actual class. it took me a long time to get used to writing lectures using it, as i had been quite brainwashed by powerpoint myself and it took me quite a bit of time to educate myself in prezi’s ways. but give it a go if you’re curious – i recommend viewing some of the example and tutorial videos as they are quite helpful.

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2 responses to “new teaching challenges

  1. Well hello Ms Freund. Thought I would give you some blog love! Also, I second all of this. Having almost finished teaching a first year global media subject myself, I have very much been learning as I go. And I am liking Prezi and have a way to go with it yet. It’s funny how eclectic or interdisciplinary thought can be a good thing, and then sometimes the academic system wants to narrow us down. At the moment I’m like hey: wherever I get a job! You are a fantastic teacher and scholar though, so I’m sure that you will find a way to give of your skills.

    • Thanks for the love! It’s always appreciated. I was just thinking yesterday about how I need to keep this blog updated with my thinky-thoughts. And that’s actually one of the things about the postgrad hallway (or ghetto) at UOW as it definitely allows for a lot of cross-disciplinary thoughts and discussions. Thanks for the pep talk too – I could definitely use it at the moment! xx

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