As we all know, teaching requires certain aids. A blackboard and a piece of chalk is a good start (after all, you don't want to make your students cry when you talk about, say, Llewelyn ap Gruffydd ). Add to that an overhead projector and transparencies. A beamer and a PowerPoint presentation. A blog (like this one). Music, films, perhaps even a plastic rat that you throw across the classroom in appropriate moments (e.g., when introducing the subject of the Black Death). If you're desperate you might even try to sing -- all to keep your students entertained and make them remember (some of) the stuff you've been discussing in class.
At Mainz University one of the hot subjects currently is using new media to enhance the teaching and learning experience. Thus our univserity offers digital handouts, e-mail loops, and message boards, but some teachers are also experimenting with chats and podcasts. And last night I joined their ranks.
For quite a while now I've been thinking about doing a podcast to accompany some of my courses and to help my students with revisions. Yet I also see podcasting as a chance to open up the classroom and get more people interested in literature, in books they might have never read otherwise. Therefore I launched Books, Cats and Me: Literature for Everyone last night and uploaded the first episode. In the following weeks I'm first going to talk about British History (aka From the Ice Age to Maggie Thatcher in Nine Weeks) and will then spent the rest of spring and summer discussing Thackeray. And of course you're all invited to listen and chime in with thoughts and questions!
I know it's not romance as such, but at least we'll move to the Regency era (and to the early Victorian Age) with Thackeray: there'll be a romantic hero, villains, noble noblemen, musings in bay windows of gentlemen's clubs, love, marriage (more than one), intrigue (ditto), a duel, a broken heart (or two) and a happy ending (well, sort of anyway). Enjoy!