Scott Wells – The Lecture Analysis Form

Columnist:
Scott Wells

The Lecture Analysis Form

By Scott Wells

In a September 1992 column in M A G I C, Paul Gertner briefly alluded to a method of measuring the effectiveness of lecturers. He suggested that perhaps some way of rating the lecturers should be established. To my knowledge, no club or lecturer has come up with such a system. What a valuable tool such a system could be for both the club and the lecturer, especially for the lecturer who could use the critical remarks in a positive way and improve his lecture.

I put keyboard to monitor and whipped out an “ANALYSIS OF LECTURE” form to be used by club members following a lecture. To administer the survey, you need to procure several pencils, and circulate the forms prior to the lecture with the request to complete and return the survey immediately following the lecture. The form itself should require no further explanation. You may want to discuss the use of the form with the lecturer to see if he would like to receive the results.

After the club has seen a lecture, it can only reflect on the end result then pass on those results to the lecturer and/or to other interested clubs. Regrettably, the club will not directly benefit so much from this exercise unless they plan to have the lecturer return; however, if other clubs use such a standardized rating system, then they can exchange the results of such analysis with one another before they choose to engage the lecturer.

Perhaps there needs to be a “lecture circuit clearinghouse” which could sort out and tabulate the results and make some sense out of everyoneís answers then distribute the results to interested parties (e.g.; clubs and lecturers). The ideal clearinghouse would of course be the lecturer himself. The hosting club could directly ask the lecturer to submit his rating with his promotional material when considering whether or not to engage him. Another idea might be to publish the results in a widely circulated magazine or perhaps through a syndicated column that is published in magic club newsletters nationwide.

I recognize that there are problems with this analysis. First of all, there may be a bias inherent with the club members. For example, one club may not be representative of what other clubs may want in a lecturer. Basically each club looks for different things and what is loved by one club (e.g.; self-working club act tricks or knuckle buster card tricks or how to build your own illusions) may go unappreciated by another club. The results of any survey would therefore reflect the consensus of a particular clubís magic knowledge and interest. With this in mind, I am afraid that the results from clubs with a specialized interest and a firm grasp of the basics of magic might distort the norm and would only be valid if combined with results from other clubs at the other end of the spectrum.

Secondly, there is the matter of timing. A lecturer may have a hot or cold night/audience. The results of any survey would only reflect how that club viewed that lecturer on that night.

Furthermore, the lecturer may improve his lecture using the results of this analysis so the results may not represent how his next lecture might be received. Also, if the lecturer was acting as his own clearinghouse and responsible for submitting results to clubs, then it is possible that an unscrupulous lecturer could skew the results to his benefit.

Overall, I believe that the pros outweigh the cons in this endeavor; therefore, I am in favor of instituting the following as a nationwide lecture analysis form. Its use, application, and dissemination I will leave up to you for the time being.

THE FORM

Rate the following categories from 1 to 10 as they applied to you:

There was a wide range of tricks explained:
no some a lot
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10

The effects were easy:
very easy a little of both difficult
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10

The lecturerís explanations were:
incomplete okay thorough
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10

The psychology behind the tricks was:
not explained fuzzy completely understood
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10

There was too much theory:
none just right too much
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10

The lecturer had a lot to sell:
very little moderate amount too much
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10

The price of the lecture notes and other lecture items was reasonably priced:
not at all somewhat very reasonable
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10

This lecturer had a point (e.g.; was there a theme?):
rambled too much some had a point
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10

This lecturer made me think about the way I do magic:
no somewhat quite a bit
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10

The effects were “commercial” and audience tested:
no some were everything was
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10

I learned new effects that I will use:
none some many
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10

I would recommend this lecturer to other groups:
no with some reservation definitely
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10

How many years have you been active in magic (approx.):
1) one year or less
2) one to five years
3) five to ten years
4) ten years or more

How many lectures have you attended (approx.):
1) this is my first magic lecture
2) bout a half dozen
3) maybe a dozen or so
4) several dozen