Our books

Become a Fan

« Applying in future years to jobs one didn't get? | Main | Funded MA at Texas Tech »



Feed You can follow this conversation by subscribing to the comment feed for this post.

Tyler Hildebrand

I don't like being a talking head.

I bought a 3'x4' whiteboard last term, and I've been using it for prerecorded lectures and (some) live teaching sessions. I always include a handout. My students have been very happy with this approach. They say it feels a lot more like a normal class.

I gave an invited talk with this setup last term and it went really well.

Note: If you do this, practice your setup in advance to ensure that your audience can read the whiteboard. (Good lighting, proper focus and zoom, etc.)


Since posing that question I’ve given some more talks, hosted some talks, and attended a few. I’m still pretty undecided on what’s best but a few thoughts in no special order.

First, in zoom you can make your virtual background your slides. It’s possibly a bit cheesy but it worked pretty well for one talk I attended.


Second, I’ve learned that although I like to see slides, not seeing the speaker makes it hard for me personally to pay attention (this includes only seeing the mini speaker view - may as well not be there).

Third, in a group I run I’ve moved to read ahead with a shorter session. This is my favorite overall I think. It has the clear downside that another thing needs to get read but the sessions are more conversational and I find that I’m pretty spent with zoom at about the one hour mark.

Fourth, my own best experiences have been ones where everyone is asked, if ol possible, to have their video on (and bonus then if the speaker isn’t mini - see 2 above). This is purely a self discipline issue but it forces me to really watch and not sort of drift onto my phone or email. I haven’t been a speaker yet where I see everyone but I know from teaching that it’s nicer when you can actually see a bunch of students rather than boxes with names.

Fifth, I’ve had enough of this! I’m really glad I can still do my job both as a teacher and researcher, but I am deeply anti the thought of moving future events online rather than going back to in person. I get the equality reasons and the environmental reasons. Talks and events are one of my favorite aspects of academia, I love the travel, and I find the meetings really fruitful. Zoom and its ilk has been better than nothing and I’m grateful, but like many others, I’ve found it inferior in terms of ability to pay attention, fatigue, the interactions surrounding the talks, and in terms of fun overall.

Verify your Comment

Previewing your Comment

This is only a preview. Your comment has not yet been posted.

Your comment could not be posted. Error type:
Your comment has been saved. Comments are moderated and will not appear until approved by the author. Post another comment

The letters and numbers you entered did not match the image. Please try again.

As a final step before posting your comment, enter the letters and numbers you see in the image below. This prevents automated programs from posting comments.

Having trouble reading this image? View an alternate.


Post a comment

Comments are moderated, and will not appear until the author has approved them.

Your Information

(Name and email address are required. Email address will not be displayed with the comment.)

Current Job-Market Discussion Thread

Job ads crowdsourcing thread

Philosophers in Industry Directory

Open thread on hiring timelines