Tuesday, October 05, 2010

1 Minute and 11 Seconds....

...of me on video at my day job. This is a brief excerpt from TV item on research at UofL. You can view the original at apubliceducation.ca (select the month on the upper right hand side [September 2010] – it is also visible on the right side list, click on the title “U of L Research” the right hand side; you can also download to iTunes on your computer by clicking on the icon below the video). I've edited out everybody else, except for a brief voiceover on a shot of me typing in my office, and a shot of the university with my voiceover. Of course, in the original, it is all smoothly integrated into the larger piece.

This is the first time I've seen myself teaching, and it was a bit shocking. I have a bald spot? Who knew! (Fortunately, doesn't show up clearly in this tiny web screen.) And I bulk enough to blockout the whiteboard? Zowie. And I'm not sure I like how I stab at students with my finger to call for input; but then the students are not looking particularly engaged.

Of course, to be fair, this was the students' first class with me, and I had started the class just moments before by thanking them for signing up for the new 'video cohort' -- in which, I informed them everything this semester was going to be videoed. "I was afraid some students wouldn't want to volunteer for this experiment, knowing that every word they say, every move they make will be recorded, so I'm really glad to see so many of you here today!" As they all freaked out, because of course they had volunteered for no such thing, I said something like: "What, didn't you get the memo on that?" One of them had the sense to turn to the camera guy and ask, "Is that for real?" To which he replied, "No, he's just pulling your leg! Actually, I'm just here to record Professor Runte. He's having his entire life recorded for prosperity." Which may not have been entirely reassuring, not only because it meant they were still on camera, but would also have confirmed their initial impression of me as a nut case. We eventually confessed we were just messing with them, and that the camera guy was just there for a couple of quick shots of me teaching for the video he was making, and nothing they said would be recorded, and so on. And then I started class. So they were probably still a bit self-conscious and distracted at that point. I completely forgot about the camera in about 5 seconds, so I'm not sure how long he stayed, but I assume he left after just a couple of minutes.

The shots of me talking in my office are also first time I've seen myself talking, and I was amazed to see my hands flapping all over the place. "I don't talk with my hands like that!" I said as my wife looked over my shoulder, but she said, "You do! Exactly like that. All the time. There, that gesture there! You do that all the time. It is so you." Fascinating. My self-image and the image I seem to project here do not entirely overlap; but okay, I accept what I see on the video here is how I look to others.

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