Monthly Archives: July 2006

What Do You Include in Your Handouts and Syllabus Material?

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My thoughts on this are quite basic. My handouts contain an outline of my lecture, copies of any critical charts/figures, and a references or further readings list.

Not all see things my way. Look at any recent FGS/NGS conference syllabus and count the number who do not use outlines. Look at who they are. They are an impressive lot. Some people feel outlines invite people to steal the lecture. Frankly, if you can steal my lectures you are pretty impressive. I use very little script. Most of my illustrative anecdotes are spontaneous, and my humor makes the heavy content load palatable. None of it goes in the handout. OK, sometimes I include boxed quotations of my profound generalizations.
I often explain that the outline is there so the learner can see where she should arrive at the end.

Some lectures include sections in the handout for people to write down key definitions. or to fill in blanks. Done well, within an outline I like that. G. David Dilts AG did a presentation once that had a handout consisting of summary paragraphs for each section pf his lecture, with blanks for many key words for learners to fill in. I wondered how well that worked.
I insist everyone at my lecture have one for free, and do not allow them to be sold by my host to those not attending.. Nor will I permit them to publish it in their newsletter/journal/website.

I stipulate in my contract that I own copyright to the handout and the host may print sufficient copies for those attending. I usually collect the extras.

What do you think?

More Things I did not Know


The nice thing about ignorance is that there is so very much to learn! For example, I must be the last genealogy lecturer to learn that during a powerpoint presentation if you type “B” on your keyboard, the screen will go black. Have yet to learn how to get it to light up again!

PowerPoint Provocations

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Recently on the Association of Professional Genealogists’ list my friend, Mary Douglas,the leading authority on Kansas ancestry,( and a fine educator, I might add) , posed an interesting issue. She explained that after a recent lecture she was asked for a copy of her powerpoint presentation. The learner already had the handout. Mary wondered how other lecturers would respond. Most of us who responded felt the speaker should not give awy the powerpoint. The basic reason seems to be that it represents many hours of work and the lecture needs to be sold more times to recover that investment.

Is there a context where it might be to your advantage to give free access to that powerpoint?

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Interesting Long Case Study


The June National Genealogical Society Quarterly has a great case study by Dr. Helen Hinchcliffe, from Salt Spring Island, British Columbia, “Job Davidson, Cooper in Baltimore, Maryland, and His Long Lost Descendants in Ohio and Indiana: Using Occupation and Birthplace as Census Finding Aids” I can see using this in a workshop onusing census regardless of nation, where digitized indexed censuses are available. As usual, Helen tackles brick walls with creative thinking. Wonderful reading. Read it!

Help in Writing Short Case Studies for Teaching Genealogy

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While looking for something else on the web I stumbled on an interesting site regarding the use of short case studies or case histories for promotional use. I began to wonder if the tips on writing them could help us fine tune our case studies for classroom and workshop use. Take a look at this item from Wordbiz Report and see if you can use the tips in this and linked articles to write a simple, short case study based on one of your own research bluders, challeges or problems. Leave the solution open, posing some sort of open-ended questions. Remember, short case studies bear a resemblance to those word problems we got in arithmatic class in 5th grade.
Regular readers will note I am getting you to learn by doing! Like a good facilitator, I hope.

Post-move Doldrums.

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Unpacking my files I see I shipped some junk with my goodies.It happens fromtime to time that we find ourselves holding on to things we should have dumped lears ago. For example:

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Update on the Move

Moved in. Debris of our lives everywhere. Discovered internet problems. Pros working on solutions. Totally exhausted. Achin’ all over. Still unpacking.