Public speaking, asynchronously!
In my blog post to kick off 21W, I told you guys that I'm taking a public speaking class this term. I've always admired people who can command a room by speaking confidently and articulately, so I thought a public speaking class would be a great class for me to take. Not only did it serve as my ART distributive, but the class was also offered asynchronously, which is especially helpful considering I'm currently in China. When I told my friends about the class, they were confused: how could a public speaking class be taken asynchronously? Wouldn't it be private speaking instead? Well, I'm here to answer all those questions and introduce my public speaking class to you all!
To start, an asynchronous class means there are no live meeting times for the class. Instead, all classes are recorded and I'm able to watch them during times that work for me. Although this means I'm granted more autonomy over my schedule, a drawback of asynchronous classes is I get less interaction with my classmates and professor, which is pretty important in a public speaking class. Luckily, my professor does a great job of making up for this through a variety of ways. First of all, she is always making herself available for individual meetings, where I can ask her questions and chat about the class. In the past few weeks, I've met with her weekly to discuss speech assignments and the recorded lectures. Furthermore, although our speeches are done in the comfort of our rooms, there is a "public speaking" aspect to them. Our professor allows us to watch our classmates' speeches, and we actually have to provide feedback after. Therefore, I know while I'm speaking that people will listen to and evaluate what I'm saying. Finally, our professor opened up discussion boards where we can talk to our classmates and find out more about them, which is also important in better understanding our audience. So, even though our public speaking class is asynchronous, I feel connected to my professor and my classmates!
Now that I'm on Week 8 of the quarter, I've already completed two speeches for the class and feel so much more confident delivering them. The feedback that I've gotten from my classmates is especially great, because I get a different viewpoint from every comment. It also helps being able to see other people's speeches, as I'm able to learn from everyone's strengths and weaknesses. Although I haven't spoken in front of an actual classmate in my speaking class yet, I think this class is a great example of how Dartmouth has adapted to Zoom classes. My academic experience is certainly different from what it would be if I was on campus, but I'm happy to show that it's just as exciting!