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Nursing students in the 1920s: Clara & Vivian Edmonston

Brought to Light Blog - Wed, 2014-01-15 15:35

Clara Edmonston and Vivian Coats met as nursing students at UCSF in the 1920s. We have small collections from both women– MSS 2011-14 Vivian Coats (Edmonston) papers and MSS 2013-9 Clara Edmonston papers. The collections are full of insights into the lives of the two women in nursing school and as working nurses in the 1920s. Much of the collections is correspondence and documentation of their work, allowing the reader to hear Clara and Vivian’s voices and get to know them a bit.

Clara Edmonston, 1924.

Vivian Coats (Edmonston), 1923.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I recently had the opportunity to chat with Dr. Frances Edmonston, daughter of Vivian and niece of Clara, and she elaborated on their stories. Clara and Vivian were friends in nursing school and Clara had the idea to introduce Vivian (nee Coats) to her brother, Charles Edmonston. The match was a success– Vivian and Charles later married. Vivian finished her BS in Nursing in 1923, Clara in 1924. Vivian later went on to graduate in 1927 with a certificate in Public Health Nursing and continued to work in public health-related nursing roles in the Bay Area.

Vivian took care to save items that she felt represented her nursing career. She saved notes, newspaper clippings, official forms, correspondence, reports, and other memorabilia.

Vivian’s notes for making Poison Oak Lotion.

Vivian’s notes on the incubation period of infectious diseases.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

She worked in a number of nursing capacities to help underserved populations. In 1929 Vivian was employed by the Red Cross in Willows, CA  to provide Itinerant Nurse Service. Newspaper clippings collected by Vivian document the work that she accomplished and positive effect she had on the town.

In an April 30, 1929 report to the Red Cross on her work’s progress, Vivian wrote that “in the Willows Grammar School [she] examined 555 children and found 876 defects. These defects included faulty vision, carious teeth, throat abnormalities, skin eruptions, enlarged lymph nodes or glands in the necks, and those more than 10% underweight or 20% overweight.” Furthermore, she goes on to say that she “visited 19 rural schools examining a total of 392 children and found 837 abnormalities. Notice the greater number of defects in proportion to the number of children. If statistics are of any value as an indicator and guide, they surely point to the rural districts as needing prevention and correction of defects and health education.” A number of students were found to be in need of tonsillectomies and candidly she says, “I know many of the teachers will be relieved, next Fall, to see fewer mouth breathers and more nose breathers.”

Page 1 of newspaper clippings from Willows from February 16-May 1, 1929.

Vivian is very clear about the services that must be improved in the schools and the communities to have a positive impact on the health of the residents. Her recommendations include follow-up home visits, new outhouses at schools, bacteriological examination of drinking water, and updated health and anatomy curriculum in schools.

During my conversation with Frances she called my attention to the work Vivian did with vaccinations, which serves to illuminate some of the larger public issues of the early 20th century. For one position Vivian was loaned a model T Ford and hired to investigate cases of diphtheria. In the event that the presence of the disease was confirmed, Vivian had to put a quarantine sign on door of the home. Other duties included vaccinating children for diphtheria and small pox in the San Leandro area– which, it seems, were controversial among the parents. Vivian saved many of the notes from parents concerning the vaccinations.

Page 1 of a letter from a parent to the school teacher concerning vaccinations, circa 1934.

Page 2 of the letter from a parent to the school teacher concerning vaccinations, circa 1934.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A close-up of the portion of the letter discussing the diphtheria vaccination, circa 1934.

This History of Vaccines timeline provides a bit of context for Vivian’s work. Around 1922, many schools began requiring the students to be vaccinated for smallpox before they could attend. Similarly new diphtheria immunizations were introduced in the 1920s (and are credited with virtually wiping the disease out of the United States). Furthermore, it notes that in 1926 opposition to mandatory vaccinations was growing among the public. The same argument is echoing in many communities today.

Page of parents requesting that their children not be vaccinated at school, 1933-1934.

Categories: Brought to Light

BeyondPod: Podcasts for Control Freaks

Mobilized - Tue, 2014-01-14 14:55

BeyondPod is a popular Podcast/RSS manager for Android that, on the surface, works like you’d expect any application in this category to function. Find enjoyable podcasts, subscribe, listen, repeat. With a crowded, competitive field of podcast managers and podcatchers available for virtually every platform, BeyondPod distinguishes itself from competitors by offering users the ability to tweak and refine the individual user experience. The incredibly robust options and settings menus hiding underneath the primary user interface can be initially overwhelming, but the degree of customization offered by BeyondPod is exactly why it deserves to be on any Android user’s homescreen.

Find some Podcasts, Subscribe. Find More!

If you’re new to podcasts and are curious about what’s available, there are plenty of places to look. Apple’s iTunes Store is an amazing resource for discovering popular and trending Podcasts, as well as the lesser-known offerings unique to your interests. More recently, Stitcher has become a good resource as well.  BeyondPod has built similar functionality into their software, allowing users to discover, preview, subscribe, and listen to Podcasts all in one place.

On the primary interface an inconspicuous Add Feed button sits in the bottom-right corner and provides several ways of finding content you’ll enjoy. The Trending menu is always full with recent popular episodes and is a great way to find new content. Under Collections, podcasts are organized into providers, making it easy to view all offerings from a particular network, such as NPR, NASA, CNN, and more. Scrolling the menu ribbon to the left reveals categories such as News, Business, Comedy, Technology, Science & Medicine, Education, Culture, Arts, and the list goes on! BeyondPod will also recommend feeds based on feeds to which you are already subscribed. Finding relevant feeds via text search works brilliantly and is a great way to find content in a particular niche.

Once you’ve found a feed of interest, you can preview text, audio, and video before adding it to your subscription list. Feeds can also be added individually by URL, in bulk from OPML file, or via your Feedly account.

Listen Up!

The BeyondPod player is functional and intuitive, though admittedly lacking the kind of polish and design you get with apps from Stitcher Radio or PocketCasts. From a usability standpoint, however, it has all the buttons you’d expect in all the right places (i.e. play/pause, skip forward/back, advance track) as well as some unexpected gems.

From the player menu, you can also adjust the playback speed of a Podcast from 1x, 1.5x, and 2.0x speed to move through content at a variable rate. Don’t like those speed options? You can edit those presets in the playback settings. There is also a Sleep timer which will pause playback at a given interval of time, or at the end of an episode, allowing you to resume the playlist at a later time.

Organizing your playlist is straightforward and touch-friendly. Drag an item up or down on your playlist with the swipe of a finger. Holding your finger on an item for a second brings up a secondary menu where you can remove it from the playlist, delete the episode from your device, view episode notes, or share it via another external app on your device.

While well-thought-out, BeyondPod at times lacks style and polish.

Playlists can be composed of any combination of content downloaded to the device and content you intend to stream

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Don’t like the internal player? You can set BeyondPod to default to external player software [e.g. MX Player, Winamp] for video, audio, or both.

Dive a little deeper into the settings and you’ll discover the SmartPlay feature. BeyondPod gives you the flexibility to create and organize your own podcast categories, and the SmartPlay feature lets you generate playlists effortlessly based on rules you create.

For example, a SmartPlay playlist can be built automatically from the most recent episode of every feed in my custom News category, then play the oldest episodes of a particular feed I’ve been neglecting.

In addition to the internal player, there are also Widgets to add to your Android’s homescreen and an optional lockscreen player, letting you seamlessly manage your playback. Similar to other audio players, you can also control playback via Android’s sliding status menu.

Settings Galore.

BeyondPod’s most outstanding feature is the robust settings menu. If there’s a variable within the application you’d like to tweak, it is very likely the BeyondPod developers have given you the option to do so.

Under General Settings you can define where Podcasts are stored (internal memory, SD card, or a custom path), set how feeds are displayed and sorted, change the default orientation of the App (landscape, portrait, automatic), and change the default page to display when the app is launched.

Player preferences gives you control over how episodes are downloaded or streamed, what actions to perform after playing an episode, custom skip forward/back intervals, and more. When you unplug your Android’s headphones, do you want playback to continue or stop? That’s an option! Are you on a limited data plan and only want to stream episodes on WiFi? That’s an option! Do you have a video podcast that you’d rather listen to while you go for a jog? No problem. If your earbuds, headphones, or bluetooth listening device has playback buttons, you can even define what each of those buttons does.

Feed content settings allow you to change the font size for episode information, change feed background defaults, open links in a browser of your choice. You can also define whether you’d like to attach audio and video files to episodes when you share them, or choose to just share the download links.

You can also change how episodes are downloaded. While updating feeds, you can define the application to download a user-defined number of  episodes automatically on WiFi, mobile data, or only on-demand. If local storage is an issue, you can also define how many files to keep within each feed and a maximum number of days old any episode can be before automatic deletion.

Improve. Always.

BeyondPod has been actively developed for years. I’ve been using it since Windows Mobile 5.0, long before Apple’s iOS and Google’s Android platforms distinguished themselves as the two major players in the mobile space. Though the app is entirely unrecognizable from those early days, the BeyondPod developers seem to always push forward with their product, continuously improving the user interface and adding features. Before Google Reader was discontinued, you could import feeds into BeyondPod with your Google credentials. In its stead, BeyondPod has now adopted Feedly as an option. Recent support for Google’s Chromecast has also been announced, allowing you to blast Beyondpod out to your television or other HDMI-equipped receiver. Beta features are available in the app as well, including an EpisodeSync feature that will synchronize the played positions for episodes across multiple devices.

Where it Falls Short

BeyondPod is a purely Android experience. While there is a really nice version optimized for Tablets, there currently is no variant for iPhone/iPad, OSX, Windows, Linux, or for the Web. And though EpisodeSync promises to someday perfectly synchronize your experience across multiple Android devices, that feature is still in beta and falls well short of the multiple-device, multiple-platform synchronization we often expect today.

The Bottom Line.

There is no lack of choice in the podcast app category (DoggCatcher, Stitcher Radio, Pocket Casts to name a few) and the actual content you consume will be the same regardless of the platform you choose. However, if the ability to customize and dial-in your settings matter to you, it is well worth the $6.99 cost to unlock all the Pro features. I don’t buy many mobile applications, and I rarely consider an application with a price over $0.99. But, the time I’ve spent customizing my BeyondPod experience has dramatically decreased the amount of time I spend managing playlists, files, and playback adjustments. That, coupled with BeyondPod’s continued support and development, has kept me a loyal fan for years.

BeyondPod acknowledges that each of us may want a slightly different experience, and it delivers personalization aplenty. This app really only performs one function – delivering video and audio podcasts to your eyes and ears – but it does it really well.

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Categories: Mobilized

“My Home” Now Customizable

Convergence - Fri, 2014-01-10 13:00

Good news from the CLE and LTG! Students, faculty and staff can now customize the “My Home” page in the CLE. This includes the ability to reorder the list of courses displayed on the “My Home” page and also configure the number of courses to display.

We have received a number of requests for the functionality to customize the “My Home” page in the UCSF, especially at the beginning of the semester when students are organizing their courses. To help support this need, LTG has developed a support document detailing how to customize the “My Home” page. Click below to review the document:

Customize the My Home Page

As always, contact the Learning Technologies Group with “My Home” customization or general CLE questions. For more information on the, visit the CLE Support Center.

Image Credit: John Conserta, Phil Gibson

Categories: Convergence

New year, new collections!

Brought to Light Blog - Thu, 2014-01-09 16:14

We’re very pleased anytime we’re able to bring new collections out of dark corners and, you guessed it, into the light. The following newly cataloged collections cover a breadth of topics including tobacco control, AIDS history, nursing school in the 1920s, inventing the pap smear, surgery in the 19th century, and UCSF history:

  • MSS 2013-4 Grande Vista Sanatorium collection, 1922-1938: Collection includes various medical mailings that Dr. Hendrik Belgum, the founder of the sanatorium, received. The sanatorium was founded in 1914 in Richmond, CA where some of its ruins can still be found in the Wildcat Canyon Regional Park.
  • MSS 2013-9 Clara Edmonston papers, 1921-1924: Papers include Clara’s correspondence while she was a UCSF nursing student in the 1920s. Our holdings also include the papers of Clara’s friend, future sister-in-law, and co-nursing student: MSS 2011-14 Vivian Coats (Edmonston) papers, 1921-1935.
  • MSS 2012-30 Dr. George N. Papanicolaou collection, 1945-1990:  Research material put together by Dr. Robert Liner for a film documenting the story of the Pap smear development by Dr. George N. Papanicolaou. Dr. Liner was not able to produce the film. It includes two boxes with papers, photographs, and publications as well as a box of six audio cassettes with interviews of Mrs. Mary Papanicolaou, Mrs. Trout, Dr. Joseph Hinsey, and Constantine Railey.
  • MSS 2012-27 Carolyn B. Martin papers, 1988-2004:  Document Martin’s involvement with California tobacco control. She was a Lung Association volunteer and helped to lead the state campaign for Prop. 99 in 1988 and served as the first chairperson of the state advisory committee on program and expenditures. Martin participated in the negotiations for the implementation legislation for the proposition, numerous other tobacco related bills and lawsuits, and education efforts.
  • MSS 98-60 Villagomez manuscript, circa 19th century: A handwritten, unpublished manuscript in Spanish concerning surgery techniques from the 19th century.
  • AR 2013-08 UCSF School of Nursing – Primary Health Care Nurse Practitioner Program records, 1991-1995: Documents the grant application for the UCSF School of Nursing Primary Health Care Nurse Practitioner program.
  • MSS 96-32 Brooks Linton ephemera collection, 1983-1995: AIDS-related ephemera collected by Brooks Linton, a former San Francisco General Hospital AIDS Ward nurse, from approximately 1983-1995. Items include newspaper clippings, brochures, reports, magazine articles, announcements, and others.
  •  AR 2012-25 UCSF Division of Gastroenterology lab records, 1968-2012Collection contains electronic data files, spectrophotometer recordings, and gastroscopy records books that were kept by Dr. McDonagh in his lab. Other materials include, floppy disks, zip disks, CDs, DVDs, slides, and hard drives. Dr. McDonagh was a professor and researcher at UCSF from 1971-2012.
  • AR 2012-26 UCSF Medical Center Quality Improvement Department records, 1989-1999: Collection includes materials on the projects, reports, and initiatives of the Quality Improvement Department. The department aims to develop data-driven strategies to improve care and to lead the field by disseminating their experiences locally and nationally.

If these, or any, of our materials strike your fancy and you’d like a closer look, please head to our homepage and click on the calendar to the right to schedule an appointment. If you have any questions don’t hesitate to contact us!

Other additions in the latter part of 2013 included:

Categories: Brought to Light

New Articulate Upgrade Available

Convergence - Fri, 2014-01-03 09:45

The popular rapid eLearning development software, Articulate, has recently been upgraded and lucky for us, we have it here at the UCSF Library Tech Commons!

Lots of exciting features have been added, as well as some general fixes for ease of use. The biggest feature is being able to easily publish for viewing presentations on iPads! Take a look at a LTG-created document on what else is new with the Articulate ’13 version.

If you’re interested in checking it out or using it for a project or course, just reserve the CL245 Multimedia Room.

If you’re a UCSF faculty, staff, or student, feel free to contact the UCSF Learning Technologies Group to schedule an appointment on using the upgraded software.

For more support on using the multimedia available in the UCSF Tech Commons, visit the Multimedia Support Center.

Categories: Convergence

Elsevier gets Scrutinized for Take-Down Notices

In Plain Sight - Fri, 2013-12-20 15:28

This post was updated on December 21, 2013.

When it comes to public relations, the publisher Elsevier seems to be its own worst enemy. They’ve recently issued take-down notices to commercial sites such as academia.edu and to several universities, where authors have posted the final, published version of their journal articles from Elsevier journals. Academia.edu is social networking and research sharing site for scholars, similar to Mendeley and ResearchGate. Because Elsevier is so prominent in the field – they publish well over 2,000 scholarly journals, many of which are top tier – when they do things, they do it big. And people pay attention to what they do.

image credit: flickr user SuperFantastic

So, no surprise that the library and academic community has been been abuzz with news about this recent round of takedown notices. Several popular news sources have written about it – including the Chronicle of Higher Education, Washington Post, and TechCrunch.

To be fair, Elsevier does allow authors to post the final version of their manuscript, before the publisher has typeset and copyedited it, immediately after publication (there is an embargo period for authors at an institution like UC with an open access policy, but that’s a whole other story). This version, but not the final PDF from Elsevier’s site, can be posted on author websites and OA institutional repositories. What they’re objecting to is the final version being posted. Many publishers have a similar policy and are doing the same kind of scanning for unauthorized versions of articles that have been posted, so Elsevier is not the only publisher that issues notices.

To date, no requests have been received at UCSF, however some of our sister UC campuses have gotten notices. See this Office of Scholarly Communication information page to find out more.

Why so much coverage of this round of  notices? I think it’s because social media sites like Mendeley (which is now owned by Elsevier) and adademia.edu have become so popular with researchers, and because academics are coming around to the idea that their own scholarly writings should be openly accessible. Elsevier and other publishers that insist on authors transferring their copyrights are starting to seem backwards and old-school. To me, this is progress!

Perhaps the best nugget from the WaPo piece is this quote from Peter Suber of Harvard University, from the Comments section:

“Here are a few extra details on the situation at Harvard. All the takedown notices were for papers posted to faculty web sites. None were for papers in DASH, Harvard’s open-access repository. All were for published editions. None were for the authors’ final peer-reviewed manuscripts. For papers covered by the Harvard OA policies, Harvard faculty have a lawful alternative, even for papers published in non-OA journals.

Speaking personally: Authors can’t blame Elsevier enforcing the rights they gave it. Those upset or angry with Elsevier should submit future work to a different publisher.”

Categories: In Plain Sight

New Support Resources Available for the Holidays!

Convergence - Fri, 2013-12-20 15:16

This is the season for giving and members of the Learning Technologies Group have been working hard to develop a number of new CLE Support Center resources for the UCSF community. Recent additions include:

We have also developed a Multimedia Support Center located on the CLE to provide a centralized resource for multimedia and equipment support documentation and best practices. Below are recent additions to the Support Center:

This is the last post on the Convergence blog for 2013. We wish everyone happy holidays and look forward to more exciting resources and services from LTG in 2014!

As always, contact the Learning Technologies Group to learn more about the CLE, Tech Commons multimedia resources, or just stop by to say “hi!”

Image Credit: Erin Hayes

Categories: Convergence

Upcoming CLE Upgrade to Moodle 2.4.7

Convergence - Fri, 2013-12-13 09:45

As the UCSF finals week slows down and the holiday fun ramps up, the CLE will be undergoing a minor update to the Moodle version 2.4.7. This update happened on Friday, December 13, 2013. When upgrades happen, the UCSF CLE is unavailable for approximately two hours at that time.

Some of the changes you may notice to the system include:

PDFs will now display properly on iPads (and other mobile devices) Thus far, we’ve had to live with PDFs not displaying or scrolling properly on iPads. But, after the Moodle 2.4.7 update, PDFs will work smoothly on mobile devices when the default setting (Automatic display) is used. Extra blank rows will no longer display at the end of various lists Course instructors and managers may have noticed this when looking at Participant lists, Assignment submission lists, and others, but this will no longer be the case in the update. Changes to Box repository functionality With the upgrade, it will no longer be possible to link to files uploaded in Box. Moving forward, files will need to be copied into courses (which is the recommended approach anyway). The good thing is that during the update, any existing Box file links will copy the files into the courses.Also, moving forward, users will be required to login to their Box accounts during each CLE login through the file picker. Fortunately, this authorization step is very fast and only requires clicking one extra button.

A variety of other bugs and glitches were also fixed in this release to help keep the system working properly. Please be aware that UCSF will be undergoing an even larger upgrade to Moodle 2.5 in early 2014. We’ll be sure to share all the exciting details before then! Until then, enjoy your holiday break and time with friends and family!

Categories: Convergence

5 Questions with Dr. Daniel Lowenstein

The Better Presenter - Mon, 2013-07-29 08:30

In the previous post, we were introduced to Dr. Daniel Lowenstein and his “Last Lecture” presentation, which was both powerful and inspiring. Shortly after writing the post, Dr. Lowenstein contacted me, and we had an interesting discussion about his experience preparing for, and delivering that presentation.

I have always wanted to incorporate the voices of the instructors, students, and staff at UCSF, who work in the trenches and present or attend presentations on a daily basis. This post marks the beginning of a new series that will feature interviews of those people. I hope you enjoy the first episode of “5 Questions!”

5 Questions with Dr. Lowenstein

Bonus track: The Basement People

The full version of the original presentation has recently been uploaded to the UCSF Public Relations YouTube channel, so please head over there to watch the video, like it, and leave your comments!

If you have any ideas about who the next 5 Questions interviewee should be, please contact me or leave your ideas in the comments section below.

Categories: Better Presenter

Top 5 Lessons Learned from The Last Lecture

The Better Presenter - Thu, 2013-05-16 12:58

Powerful. Inspirational. Emotionally moving.

Those are the words that best describe Dr. Daniel Lowenstein’s “The Last Lecture” presentation, delivered to a packed house in Cole Hall on April 25th. The Last Lecture is an annual lecture series hosted by a UCSF professional school government group (and inspired by the original last lecture), in which the presenter is hand-picked by students and asked to respond to the question, ”If you had but one lecture to give, what would you say?” Dr. Daniel Lowenstein, epilepsy specialist and director of the UCSF Epilepsy Center, did not disappoint. In fact, I can say with confidence that he delivered one of the best presentations that I have attended.

Rather than attempt to paraphrase his words, or provide a Cliff Notes version that doesn’t do his presentation justice, I will instead encourage you to watch the video recording of his presentation. The video is an hour in length, and if you have any interest in becoming a better presenter yourself, it is a must-watch. After the jump, we’ll explore my top “top 5 lessons learned” from Dr. Lowenstein’s presentation.

Last Lecture – Top 5 Lessons Learned:

  1. “PowerPoint” is still boring. Dr. Lowenstein’s projected slide show was not typical PowerPoint. It did not consist of any bullet points, familiar and boring templates, or images “borrowed” from a last minute Google image search. Instead, used images from his own collection, and Prezi to build a canvas of images that moved in all directions, expanding, contracting and rotating to craft his message. The resulting slide show was personal, meaningful and most importantly, relatable.
  2. Story telling is the secret to success. When I first began studying the art of presenting, the idea of incorporating storytelling into a presentation was an elusive one. I am now convinced that storytelling is the secret to transforming a good presentation, into a great presentation. It is the glue that holds all of the elements of your presentation together, as well as the glitter that makes it shine. Dr. Lowenstein’s entire presentation was crafted into a story, the setting of which was established right from the beginning and illustrated by his first content slide. There were also chapters within the story, the most memorable of which for me was the Justice segment of his presentation, and his depiction of The Basement People. He didn’t begin by pointing out the original members of the UCSF Black Caucus that were in the audience, as most presenters would have done. Instead, he gradually painted a picture for us, so we could imagine what it was like to be a minority at UCSF over 50 years ago. He described their struggles in detail, and gave us time to relate, and even pointed out the fact that they had met in that very hall where we all sat. He didn’t reveal their presence until the end of the chapter, creating a crescendo of emotion, and the moment brought tears to the eyes of many audience members.
  3. Vulnerability equals trust. If you want your audience to believe in your message, you must first give them a reason to believe in you. And one of the most effective ways to make that happen is to share your vulnerabilities. In the eyes of the audience, this makes the presenter human, and it creates a bond between both parties. No one wants to listen to a sales-pitch presentation. Instead, they want the whole story with the ups and downs, so they can decide how we feel about it on their own terms. Just be sure to share vulnerabilities that relate to the subject of the presentation, because you’re going for empathy, not sympathy (which could have a negative effect). Dr. Lowenstein, when talking about Joy and Sorrow, shared one of his deepest personal sorrows, which was the unexpected passing of his son. In contrast, he shared a touching moment with his wife, expressing his love for her, right in front of the whole audience. These moments worked perfectly in the presentation because they were genuine, and they gave the audience a deeper understanding of Dr. Lowenstein.
  4. Don’t forget humor. No matter how serious, no matter how technical, there is a place in your presentation for a little humor. It can be used to lighten a heavy moment, open closed minds, and bring everyone in a room together (even if your audience members have very different backgrounds). Amidst Dr. Lowenstein’s presentation were timely moments of humor that seemed to come naturally from his personality. And hey, who doesn’t like a good male-patterened-baldness joke, anyway?! But seriously, if you can laugh at yourself, the audience has no excuse to not laugh along with you. There are two keys to using humor in your presentation; (1) it should be relevant to the current topic or story, and (2) it can’t be forced. If you’re not good at telling jokes, then try another form of humor!
  5. Present on your passions. As a presenter, your goal is simple – to instill in the audience an understanding of your message, and a belief in you. If you give them the impression, even for a moment, that you don’t believe in yourself or the message you’re presenting, you’re a dead man walking (or presenting) in the audience’s eyes. If you choose topics that you are passionate about, however, you will never have this problem. You may think it was easy for Dr. Lowenstein’s to be passionate about his presentation, because his task was, in essence, to present about his life’s passions… but I can assure you, it’s not easy to talk about your own life in front of an audience. In contrast, imagine that you have to give a presentation on, say, your department’s new accounting policies. To make matters worse, imagine that your audience is being forced to attend. What do you do? Surely, there is no passion to be found in accounting policy, is there?! Well, actually, there is, if you take the right angle. For example, does this new accounting policy save the department time, or money? And then, can that saved time and money be applied towards more constructive, or creative tasks that your coworkers actually want to do? If so, and you frame the presentation in a positive light, the audience will listen.

To top it all off, Dr. Lowenstein spent the last few minutes of his presentation reviewing each of the 4 segments of his talk, and then related it all back to a single, clear message. That, my friends, is an example of storytelling 101, so I hope you were talking notes!

Continue on to part 2 of this post, where I interview Dr. Lowenstein about his experiences preparing for and delivering the Last Lecture presentation!

If you also found inspiration in Dr. Lowenstein’s presentation, please share your thoughts below, and I’ll see you at next year’s “Last Lecturer” event.

Categories: Better Presenter
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