What Do You Include in Your Handouts and Syllabus Material?

Ken looks right.jpg

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?


3 responses to “What Do You Include in Your Handouts and Syllabus Material?

  1. Ken,

    I try to produce a two page (one sheet) handout that is essentially an outline of my important points, plus sources or references, and web sites. I usually send that via email to our society membership after the meeting so that they don’t have to type in the URLs from my handout. I will send it upon request to attendees not in our membership.

    I don’t provide my presentation materials to anybody, unless I know they want to use it for their own research and won’t make a presentation from it down the road. I had so much in my Norway Research presentation back in 1999 that two other Norwegian researchers who attended the meeting begged for a copy of it, so I gave them one. I also gave one to the librarian and it is in the stacks as the only resource for Norway research. I think it sometimes depends on the situation.

    I think you are doing your presentation and controlling your handout well. Good thought about the contract!

    Cheers — Randy

  2. I also use an outline format, at least 2 pages in length and try to put myself in a beginner’s shoes in how they are going to use the handout i.e. if they can pick it up later and at least recall what help they needed from the lecture in the first place.

    Your blog is a great resource, THX!
    LaDonna G.

  3. I’m not (yet) a professional, but I’ve given two talks to our local genealogical society. One was on computer security (my husband, a computer specialist in civil service, was my source there) and one on black sheep ancestors. For each talk, I produced a one- or two-page outline handout. The handout covers the main points and serves as my basic script (I’m stll learning this gig). Of course, I add to and embellish the bare bones, but the audience has what I think they should take from the talk. Where appropriate, I include reading suggestions and web addresses.

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