Beyond the fluid mechanics a lesson from Evan Variano on how to teach when the technology from the host fails

Berkeley, Thursday, September 20, 2018 11:07 PM

This post belongs to Wednesday, September 19, 2018

Thinking clearly is an art that can be developed by experience and by taking challenges, reading, and writing.

Staying cool under adversary situations is an extremely good talent.

Yesterday, Associate Professor Evan Variano gave us a lesson on how to stay calm and still explain clearly his talk, while the projector did not worked. The projector was distractive to the audience because it was flashing light intermittently. While I was feeling bad, as coordinator of the colloquium, my reaction was to send an email to the staff for asking for help. It was a good decision not to leave the room because, I am the moderator, but thankfully my advisor was also in the room and reached Jeff, the AV staff.

Meanwhile, Evan already decided to explain his lecture in the whiteboard. He never stopped, neither complained about the projector, besides just acknowledging how was it. He continued, and engaged the audience. In the middle of his talk, Jeff, the Av technician came to fix the projector problem. While Jeff was testing the cables, Evan still continued connected with the audience, using the whiteboard.

Jeff came again after 10 minutes with a staircase, and set it in the middle of the classroom, because now he needed to fix the connection at the projector, which is at the roof. Evan did not stop, and the audience continued connected with him and with topic.

After Jeff finished his job, to who I am very thankful for acting promptly on fix this, Evan supported his whiteboard talk with the slides he prepared. The projector was working better, and there were two important illustrations to show. Evan finished his talk with 7 minutes left for questions. After a round of a big applause, three persons asked, plus my question as moderator. So far I happy that I have been able to make up with a question for each speaker per week. That is part of role as well.

Evan answer were very good. He draw diagrams in the whiteboard for approaching the question. At the end, one of the attendees asked him for an extended discussion on the topic.

In conclusion, Evan did not only taught us about his interesting research for understanding the flow patterns in the Florida Everglades ridge-and-slough, but also he taught us how to behave under adverse situations. Honestly, for me this logistics part was more meaningful as experience, to get ready for such as situation, if it comes. Words matters, and we always should be able to make up our talk, independently if we have or not have slides. Using the whiteboard was actually very efficient and convenient for his topic.

Thanks Evan, thanks Matt, thanks Jeff, and thanks to all the audience.

Looking forward to the colloquium next week.


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