Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Blog Post #6

Dr. Randy Pausch - The Last Lecture

DVD cover of The Last Lecture by Randy Pausch

First and foremost we need to understand that the last lecture "Achieving Your Childhood Dreams" was not just a lecture for the audience that was there. It was a life lesson for his children which is something he wanted to leave with and for his children while he could. He knew they wouldn't understand what he was telling them now, but in the future, it would be something inspiring for them from a dad that loved them deeply.

From Dr. Pausch's last lecture you could see what type of person he was. Why is this important? It is important because a person's teaching style comes from their personality. I believe you can usually quickly assess a person’s personality and from there determine how they will teach. Dr. Pausch said in his lecture, there is good in everybody and you just have to wait to see it. Based on that comment alone, you can see that he was not going to give up on his students and it was proven throughout his career. His lecture was like he said "how to lead your life" because he believed that if you lead your life the right way, your dreams would come to you.

Leaf medallion with phrase on it from Dr. Randy Pausch
Dr. Pausch enjoyed having fun with what he was teaching and telling interesting stories. His life was an open book for all of us to see and grow from. He definitely wanted you to learn but he also wanted you to have fun while learning. He taught one very valuable lesson. It was to never give up on your dreams. If you give up on your dreams, you end up settling for less than your full potential and happiness is never achieved. Dr. Pausch did what was necessary to make sure his students were successful. He showed gratitude toward those that helped him become successful and he was able to use "head fakes" throughout his career to get his students to learn.

Dr. Pausch achieved so much because his students learned and grew from their experiences with him. The ETC masters program he created was an example of this. It is amazing that companies were guaranteeing his students jobs once they finished the program. It is also amazing that the semesters were simply planned with only 5 projects but the end results were priceless. The students wanted to do well for Dr. Pausch and that is a tribute to the way he worked with students. They were like this because he allowed them to be creative with their work and was not quick to tell them they failed. Mistakes are bound to happen; it's what you do after the mistake is made that determines the quality of your work.

Dr. Pausch was like a pioneer for project/problem based learning and I have to believe it is because of the success that he achieved that so many embrace this type of learning today. Project Based Learning was not something that you did so your students could get a grade, it was something that was done because I believe he knew it could change society. Projects are meant to create change and that is exactly what he and his students at Carnegie-Mellon did. I can truly say that he has inspired me to push my students to their limits. I now want them to explore what appears to be impossible and create using what they have learned throughout their lifetime. I truly appreciate Dr. Pausch for what he has taught us about learning. His work won't be forgotten!

picture of kids exploring and quote by Michelle Hlubinka

Dr. Pausch was a dying man but he did not want anyone to pity him. He had accomplished his dreams and had lived a wonderful life. Yes, he could have lived longer and done even more for the world but it was his time to go. The mere fact that we are still talking about him today and everything he accomplished means his quality of work was excellent. A man should not only be known for what he is doing now but also for the accomplishments he has achieved in the past. If you want your life to speak to others and to be known long after you are gone, you have to make a mark. Dr. Randy Pausch did this in more ways than he could ever think of. Dr. Pausch was a scholar, inspirer, lecturer, learner, and most of all visionary. His vision will continue to live on in all that knew him and especially in his children.


  1. Hello Ramsey,
    I thoroughly enjoyed Randy Pausch's Last Lecture as well. His lecture provided so much great advice for, not only learning, but also teaching our students. I like that you added so many pictures to your post! I especially liked his advice on overcoming "Brick Walls". I too, am inspired to push my students to their limits in order to help them achieve their goals and dreams. Thank you for sharing this post!

  2. "Project Based Learning was not something that you did so your students could get a grade, it was something that was done because I believe he knew it could change society." I think you are correct!

    Well done. Thoughtful. Interesting.

  3. Ramsey,
    Dr. Pausch's last lecture was such an inspiring video. Your reference to his ETC program was right on the mark. "It is amazing that companies were guaranteeing his students jobs once they finished the program." I work in the private sector and can tell you, this is practice unheard of! It is a testament to the quality students this program produces, not only business/academic competencies but soft skills as well. His peer feedback helped his students to better work collaboratively, which is a PLUS in the working world! Nicely done.

  4. Hello Ramsey,
    I am glad to see that you were inspired to become a better teacher from Randy Pausch's Last Lecture. His lecture taught and inspired me not only as a teacher but also as a person. I took away a sense of wanting to make sure that my students enjoy school and wanting them to achieve their childhood dreams.