It is now the world’s longest lecture, making a mark in the Guinness World Records.
Andrew Torget, a historian of 19th century North America at the University of North Texas, gave a talk that lasted from 8am last Friday and ended at 11.30am the following day.
The 26-hour and 33 minutes lecture was on the history of Texas from prehistoric times to the modern day, according to Inside Higher Ed.
CBS DFW had earlier reported that Dr Torget’s target was to teach the course, which would typically take him 14 weeks – and containing 1,600 PowerPoint slides and 500 pages of notes – in 30 hours. Dr. Torget had hoped to set the record by teaching a 30-hour Texas history course that would typically take him 14 weeks.
“We’re covering all of Texas history. Which is to say we are starting with cave people and coming up to last week,” he said.
With this record, Dr Torget now joins the likes of a team of scientists from the University of Manchester (for tying the tightest know ever produced), 70-year-old Luciano Baietti from Italy (for holding the largest number of university degrees – he has 15 master’s degrees from universities across Italy) and the 7,194 participants at the University of California, Berkeley (for forming the largest human letter).
We have Dr Torget’s eight and 10-year-old children to thank for this latest feat by the university community, although Dr Torget himself had harboured dreams of setting a Guinness world record since he was young.
We wouldn’t, however, put too much expectation on the students involved to be thankful for it. According to the rules, there had to be at least 10 students present at all times, in addition to the live stream of the lecture online.
“Guinness has witnesses here who are going to be observing the students to make sure that they are not just awake but engaged,” Dr Torget said. That includes not sleeping or leaving the talk. Cellphones were banned.
The live stream garnered more attention than Dr Torget and his team expected. According to him, a pub in Ireland even made a drinking game out of the lecture, by having to take a shot every time he said the word “populace”.
For a tl;dr version of the lecture, check out this Twitter thread by education reporter at Denton Record-Chronicle Caitlyn Jones:
Fair warning, friends: this thread is gonna be full of nerdy history stuff for the next 24+ hours. I’m covering the world’s longest history lesson attempt by UNT prof Andrew Torget. pic.twitter.com/g6sbmvpNIl
— Caitlyn Jones (@CjonesDRC) August 24, 2018
Drunken fun and nerdy jokes aside, the aim of the event is to raise money for the Portal of Texas History, an online resource and archive containing unique collections from Texas libraries, museums, archives, historical and genealogical societies, and private family collections.
Viewers who watched the live stream online on the portal donated close to US$20,000 by the time Dr Torget decided to have mercy on his sleepy students and put the lecture to end.