"Marcy McDonald was my favorite colleague of all time.  She is smart, knowledgeable, and flexible, someone whose unbelievable work ethic is only outdone by her kindness and collegiality."

—Robert Greenberg, Music Historian-in-Residence with San Francisco Performances

​"Marcy is a diligent and focused online content producer. She works extremely well with those around her in a wide range of capacities to produce a polished and very professional finished product. Her commitment to the success of her video productions is unrivaled among those I have met in the online and lifelong education fields."

--Ashton Nichols, Walter E. Beach ’56 Distinguished Chair in Sustainability Studies, Dickinson College
 

Online Course Tip #34: Use Repetition to Your Advantage

Weekly Tips on Content, Delivery, and Production for Your Online Courses

I help subject matter experts and professors create online courses with better content, better delivery, and better production values.

Don’t be afraid to repeat yourself in a lesson. Just don’t repeat yourself in the same way.

Much of what you teach passes through your students’ brains like water through sand. For that reason alone, some repetition is useful. It gives your material a fighting chance to be heard.

But there’s also a teaching opportunity that goes along with repetition, and this is the one that many people miss. That’s the opportunity to teach the same point a different way and thereby:

  • Improve the odds that someone will understand it.
  • Expand on the way someone understands it.
  • Expand on how much someone understands it.


Simply saying the same point again, the exact same way, numbs the student to the content.

But when you push your imagination so you explain your key points in two or three different ways, you awaken the student to the content.

Try this:

  • Work the new explanation into a demonstration.
  • Embed the point into a story.
  • Craft a fresh analogy.
  • Take the students through an application of the information.
  • Simply use new words; can you explain your concept or point without using a single word you used the first time? Or only words of one syllable?
  • Put the key points into an infographic.
  • Explain something backwards, working from the end result to the beginning…


Remember the character of Phil Collins in the movie Groundhog Day? He gets a “do-over” every day until he gets his life right. Think of restating your key points as your chance for a lesson “do-over.” Be as willing as he was to do whatever it takes to break through to the desired result.​


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We’ve worked with Marcy McDonald on several cultural/educational projects, both in the USA and Europe. From the planning stages to the final editing Marcy has been inspirational, imaginative, and professional. Her commitment to quality and ... her attention to detail in every aspect of production – from the initial meetings to the approval of the final images – energized everyone on the team to do their best and deliver a series that would exceed all expectations.”

—Ken and Gillian Bartlett, Bartlett Cultural Connections, Toronto, Canada

"Marcy helped me shaped the content of my courses and transform my ideas into impactful lectures. She had the ability to put

together a team that was strong both in the intellectual development of the courses, as well as the transformation of that content into very professional audio and video products."


—Michael A. Roberto, Trustee Professor of Management, Bryant University