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July 29, 2008

CHARLES LIPSON on Randy Pausch's "Last Lecture," which was mentioned here a while ago:

With wisdom, good humor and a total absence of self-pity, he ruminated on his life's lessons. Audiences loved it and, within weeks, his "last lecture" became a giant YouTube hit. The video led, quite unexpectedly, to a book, "The Last Lecture," that has stayed on best-seller lists since it was published in April. Not bad for a guy forced to run a two-minute drill against pancreatic cancer.

To sum up your life's work in a compelling, accessible lecture is every teacher's dream. That is exactly what Pausch did. I say that as someone who paces the front of a classroom several times a week. I love teaching and working with students, just as Randy did. I love explaining new ideas, challenging my students' preconceived notions, and responding (with good grace, I hope) when they harpoon my own.

To watch Pausch's last lecture is to know that he shared that love. By displaying it so openly, in a video watched by millions, the professor of computer science also showed how great teachers connect with students.

Read the whole thing.

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