I find lecturing more difficult for AIC than my writing classes. I don’t feel as if they are retaining as much information as I’d like. (Luckily, the class is mostly exercised-based, which means they are still doing the learning even if everything didn’t stick from lecture.)
One of my CS professors did lecture by hacking away at code in class and narrating as he went along. I liked the professor. Plus, TIC had that giant projector screen in TMF too. Since I haven’t taught a CS class before, I kind of follow that model.
I think one problem is the room configuration. We have a projector set up. I sit at a computer and type away, or comment on code that has already been typed. All the seats are arranged along the walls, and the projector screen is at the front. My computer is in the middle, facing the projector screen. They’re all facing the projector screen, so I can’t really see their faces. I could see a few faces if I turned around. I’m used to lecturing at the front and seeing everyone. In fact, I can’t even see most of them at all since I’m too short to look over the computer that I’m using. It makes it difficult to gauge engagement. I’m sitting down too, so I’m less energetic. I’d prefer a chalkboard.
The room configuration isn’t the only factor. I started providing code samples for them to use for their exercises. This makes it less important to listen to lecture, I think. So that might affect engagement. That’s only a gut feeling, though, and not really based on data. However, I feel like the code samples are really helpful (based on the way I learn, and based on how I see them building on it for their own code).
One change I might make is providing code samples before lecture. That way, they can look at it and play with it. Kind of get an idea of what it does. Then, I can explain more about how it works in class. I think that would provide better scaffolding for the lecture. Otherwise, I sometimes think it’s hard to figure out what’s going on during lecture.
As the class has progressed, I’ve started to feel more useless. Which is actually a good thing. It means they’re becoming more self-sufficient. I’m still busy, but I’m not getting tugged in a million directions at once, and the questions they do have are more interesting and not trivial.