Preparing for Lectures

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CATHERINE DRENNAN: The first thing I do when I'm getting ready for the class is to go over the handouts and make sure they're really what I want, update them, and go over that. Then I usually have-- sort of back to my theater days, I guess-- a plan for the lecture. When the clicker questions are going to be, what I'm showing on PowerPoint presentation, what I'm going to be writing on the board. And so I have it all organized. There is times when I want to ask them a question and how I'm going to do that. If we're going to have a demo in that particular class, where it's going to fit in, how it's going to be set up.

And I like to bring-- I love three dimensional things. So if we're talking about bonding, I want giant atoms and I'm always trying to think of things that I can bring in to use to show someone some kind of concept. And so I want, at least once a week, to have some kind of demo in the class. It's nice. I also like some geeky science music and other things.

And then, in the last year where I taught, I upped the bar for myself. So if people are watching the most current OpenCourseWare, they will see my t-shirt collection. So I decided that in addition to thinking about the demos and the songs and what I'm writing on the board and when I'm going to ask questions and all of these things, that I needed to coordinate it with my wardrobe. So that was a high bar that I set for myself. And that somehow the t-shirt not only had to be some kind of geeky chemistry thing but related, somehow, to the topic at hand.

So that was one of-- that took a lot of preparation. I had to plan. So if I had to order t-shirts, I had to order ahead of time so they arrived. And figuring out a different t-shirt per lecture, that was one of the harder challenges.

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