Loft of an Eldritch Metaphor

anthem of concerted augmentation

Posted on 25 Apr 2016

Walking from Wallace Library from a 3-hours stint scribing notes. I am starting to have this preconception that lectures teaching higher-level courses by solely relying on presentation slides are getting more ineffective at conveying difficult materials. And lecture materials with only graphics without texts to explain what they are making it difficult. Bullet points are relic of the past. Bullet points are for teaching introductory courses, but not higher-level courses. With the astronomical cost of college textbooks, we aren’t making any progress in learning.

Here are two options: students are going to engage in proactive learning, and in this regard, employ modern learning methodology like “flipped classroom”. Priming our brains with the materials before entering the class, and engage lecturers with questions. Another option is that lecturers can set a blog up, and write supplementing materials for student, regularly citing related materials that are available on the internet, and which parts of the materials are important and which are not. However, the latter is not desirable because not all lecturers are trained to be educators. They are excellent researchers, and university requires them to teach.

Others might see I am presenting just two options on the table. There is a hidden option between those two options stated above, and what would that be? Before we extrapolate the hidden option, I would like to bring my experience into the mix.


“Teach me organic chemistry”

“Wait what?”

“Teach me organic chemistry”

“I was a B student in organic chemistry I, and it almost weeded me out”

Teaching is hard. To elevate one’s understanding is hard. However, it is really rewarding to know the friend you taught the night before the test aced it with flying colors, and you’ve inspired both yourself and your friend to study better. It is a perfect model of study group when there is one person that has certain level of mastery in one area teaching a group of people to achieve the same level of mastery, rather than a group of students trying to recognize head or tail when trying to achieve mastery.

I am augmenting myself to materialize the third hidden option: filling the gap of being a lecturer while at the same time advancing myself to be a competent student. Teaching has challenges that requires active mental capacity. Right now I am not positioning myself to reiterate what lecture notes and practice questions like lecturers in class do, but more like I am positioning myself to be the traffic light and road sign: where should you go from here, when you should proceed, and why you should stop.

It is rewarding, really. If you possess mastery in certain area, helping others to achieve the same is fun.