Is a lecture just a lecture?

by | Tuesday, May 05, 2009

My mashup of a commercial has been on YouTube for a while and just yesterday I noticed that someone had left a very thoughtful comment… and that comment got me thinking… and hence this posting.

To start with, if you haven’t seen the videos here they are again.

Here is the original commercial:
[youtube width=”425″ height=”355″][/youtube]

And my response:
[youtube width=”425″ height=”355″][/youtube]

The comment by user witchyrichy to my mashup was as follows:

Nice mashup…but I’m not sure that I agree that a lecture is still a lecture. The technology makes it possible to break that lecture into segments, review different sections, and even, as you did here, cut and paste the important pieces into something new. I listened to a talk by Steinem through Yale’s itunes site: yes, it was a lecture but it was one I would have never heard otherwise, one I could share with others, etc. So, a lecture isn’t always a lecture, imho.

I think the witchyrichy makes a really good point here and something that had been nagging me a bit. What is somewhat ironic is that Matt Koehler and I have been trying for the past year or so to develop a new form of presentation, one that takes a lecture and makes it dynamic. A good example would be the keynote we gave at the SITE 2008 conference Thinking Creatively, Teachers as Designers of Technology, Pedagogy & Content. We “appropriated” a bunch of ideas from Larry Lessig and Dick Hardt (and in the case of the SITE keynote, Steven Colbert!).

To add (self)-insult to irony, I have blogged about lectures and how they can be creatively constructed previously here. Read my earlier posting about The 60 second lecture.

To sum it up, it appears that I may have gone a bit overboard with my critique of a lecture. That said, the larger point I was trying to make in my mashup, about a lecture not necessarily being the best use of technology for teaching, still stands.

A few randomly selected blog posts…

Interesting TPACK related discussion

Russ Goerend over at Learning is Life has initiated a fascinating discussion on the TPACK framework on his blog. It all revolves around a blog post he titled The force is strong with the shiny one. I shall not seek to summarize the discussion here (please go read it...

Young-Hae Chang Heavy Industries

... Or Why I love the web. I stumbled upon a piece (Lotus Blossom) by Young-Hae Chang Heavy Industries the other day... and it was like nothing else I had ever seen. At some superficial level it looked like kinetic typography, but both simpler and more complex at the...

Goodbye Malaysia, welcome Taiwan

So my stay in Malaysia comes to an end. I haven’t had either had time or internet access to be able to update the blog the last few days. So briefly here goes… The day after the presentation (the 13th) I had a meeting with Professors Ramayah, Rozinah, and Bala at USM...

Facilitating collaborative design: New publication

Facilitating collaborative design: New publication

Essential tensions in design. Image designed by Punya Mishra Design facilitators play an important role in the open-ended collaborative design process. This becomes even more important as design based approaches expand to groups and teams that may not be as familiar...

Let go of what you think you know

An ongoing series of posters designed by graduates of University College Falmouth for the purpose of passing on advice & inspiration to first year students. You can see the entire series here... [Thanks for the link to the Daily Dish]

A year of blogging

It was exactly a year ago, on the first of January 2008, that I began blogging (see first posting here). When I started I wasn't sure how well this blogging thing would work out. Now 12 months and 376 posts later - I have to say that I have truly enjoyed this. I had...


I took photographs at the Milap 2009, the annual cultural program organized by the Indian Cultural Society of Greater Lansing. Click on the photo below to view the photos (hosted on Flickr).

Creativity, TPACK and Trans-disciplinary Learning for the 21st Century

Over the past few years my scholarly focus has shifted into areas related to teacher creativity and transdisciplinary learning. I see this as being the next step in my research work. Though I have been thinking quite a bit about this, have applied to to my teaching...

By Design & by Chance: New Publication

By Design & by Chance: New Publication

Dinner in Bangalore with some of the keymembers of the MSU-APU partnership * One of the highlights of my career at MSU was the partnership we built between the College of Education and the Azim Premji University / Azim Premji Foundation....


  1. Prakash

    I liked the simple and yet powerful message…lecture is lecture it does’nt matter where?when?on what device one sees..

  2. Punya Mishra

    Thanks Sean that was really well put. I particularly like the sentence: “If I had the resources to produce such a slick video as the one you mashed, you had better believe that it would send a different message.” I think that hits the real issue on the head. We are defined by the choices we make and the people who made the video felt that a lecture streamed through multiple devices was the best way to represent themselves.

  3. Sean Nash

    No- I still think your take on the ad was spot-on. Here is why I say so:

    When you market something… you highlight the very best your product has to offer. To not do so would just be weird. If I were putting together a three minute video that markets the student experience in my classroom, I WOULD depict me delivering content directly to students. However, I would be very careful about how many seconds of those three minutes were taken up by this view.

    I would want the amount of time I am “lecturing” to reflect a similar ration of what goes on in my classroom. I would also want the receiver of said video to come away with the obvious notion that what I value as in instructor are the conversations that originate from students… and perhaps especially the rich conversations that happen between my students.

    I would also want to show them exploring in tactile ways… writing, thinking, reading, annotating, rearranging and creating content of their own. If I had the resources to produce such a slick video as the one you mashed, you had better believe that it would send a different message.

    Teacher talk when done by a sensitive and skillful professional is not only acceptable… it is inspiring. However, we all know that if the whole of the educational experience doesn’t move beyond this then something is certainly lacking.

    I think the video is very telling, and I would defend your interpretation of its message.


  4. Punya Mishra

    Mike, thanks for sharing your idea. I think it is a great way of taking a lecture (through the use of technology) to another level. Let me know how the experiment pans out. thanks ~ punya

  5. Mike H

    When I saw your mashup, it made me start experimenting with lectures via Voicethread where it would allow students multiple views, repeats as witchywitch said, and also have the lecture act as a discussion board that can last throughout the year. Imagine students remembering a lecture about the Bill of Rights while studying the Reconstruction Period 2-3 months later in class. They can go back to that original lecture and continue to add to the conversation.



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