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Background: I am a fourth year math graduate student in the US.

I recently gave a talk in an undergraduate mathematics seminar at my university, and one of my friends in attendance offered to record a video of it for me. I accepted his offer, since it will give me a chance to review my presentation and polish it, should I give it again at some point in the future. However, he also suggested another use for it: post it to my personal website as an example of my teaching.

I felt the seminar went quite well and the recording quality is reasonable, so I am comfortable with such a thing representing me online. The main questions I have are as follows:

  1. Is such a thing appropriate on a personal website? Could it be considered a bit overbearing?

  2. Will this make any difference when applying for teaching positions? Would anyone on a committee ever even bother to look at such a thing, let alone my personal website?

  3. In a similar vein, should I try to make more of these? Is it worth the trouble to have more examples of my teaching available?

  4. Are there any other points I have overlooked? Unforeseen benefits or possible pitfalls/risks, perhaps?

Any commentary whatsoever is certainly appreciated.

  • My first thought, maybe incorrect, was that this isn't exactly an example of you teaching, so suggesting that it is might be harmful if you are applying to certain types of teaching position. What sort of institution are you thinking about applying to? – Jessica B Dec 2 '15 at 6:37
  • While I won't be applying for jobs until next fall, I anticipate that I will be looking for positions at small liberal arts institutions. – AegisCruiser Dec 2 '15 at 16:19
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Assuming that your lecturing skills are actually good, I don't see any downside at all to making videos of your lectures available online, other than the trouble involved in creating and posting them. I don't see how anyone would think there is anything remotely inappropriate about this (unless you start attaching 100 MB copies of these videos to emails you send to places where you are applying for jobs; needless to say, that would be a bad idea).

As for appearing "overbearing", depending on how you present these videos on your personal website, it may conceivably be seen as overbearing or in poor taste if they are displayed too prominently (e.g., as a silly example, a large video player window occupying almost the entire page with a flashy caption saying something like "Meet The World's Best Lecturer!!!", but probably that's not quite what you had in mind). But a couple of links to YouTube videos with informative captions such as "A calculus lecture I gave on 11/11/15"), or even a standard-sized embedded YouTube view, should not provoke anyone's ire in my opinion.

As for the potential upside, I think you are very correct in guessing that most committee members would not have the time or energy to view an hour-long lecture by a job candidate. The chances that even a small part of your videos will be watched by more than a few people are not very high. With that said, it is not inconceivable that some people will watch parts of your videos to get a sense of your abilities (I have done this myself on a few occasions, and even googled candidates and found videos of them that they did not think to provide). Even some committee members who don't watch your videos may still be impressed by the fact that you are willing to provide such documentary evidence of your lecturing abilities, and view this as a sign of honesty, trustworthiness and self-confidence.

As for creating more videos, I don't think anything beyond one or maybe two videos will have any added value, so I wouldn't bother with that.

Finally, let me repeat that my advice is given under the premise that you are a good lecturer whose videos will be impressive. You may think your talk went well, but it may be good to get objective confirmation of that from a friend or colleague before you proceed.

  • or MULTIPLE friends/colleagues – user45041 Dec 2 '15 at 16:30

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