Nov 182003
Authors: Taylour Nelson

Sixteen years ago Microsoft created PowerPoint to aid in

presentations, help speakers emphasize points and to help the

audience better retain the information being presented.

This form of presenting key points along with the option of

flashy graphics and musical backgrounds has made its way into

classrooms everywhere from universities to elementary schools.

Instructing with PowerPoint is different from the experience

former generations of students had listening to a lecture and

taking notes on what they believed was most important.

Some students believe instructing with PowerPoint can have

negative effects on learning.

“It can take away from the teaching,” said Greg Walker, a

sophomore pre-construction management major. “If the notes are in

paragraph form, I can’t focus on what’s important, and I don’t pay

attention to the lecture.”

Although most professors do use PowerPoint only as a guide to

outline their lecture, some use it to write full sentences. This

can lead to a student’s attention being directed toward the lengthy

notes they are copying rather than the lecture being presented.

“It’s useful if it’s in bulleted form and you can concentrate on

what (the professor) is saying, to fill in your own notes,” Walker


Doug Hoffman, a professor in the marketing department uses

PowerPoint in his lectures, but focuses his student’s attention by

underlining and highlighting what he considers to be the important

information. He also uses WebCT to post the PowerPoint slides

before class.

“A major fear is that I will post these slides before class and

no one is going to show up,” Hoffman said.

Hoffman said some students benefit from bringing the slides to

class and adding notes to them as he lectures.

“It’s a great equalizer, some students write faster than others,

some learn better by taking notes, or following along with the

notes. It creates more flexibility,” he said.

His fear of students not attending class, however, is valid,

because some students will not go to class if they know the notes

will be available from their computer at home.

“Why go to class when (the professor) is repeating exactly

what’s on the PowerPoint or posted on WebCT?” said Karen Roehler, a

junior interior design major.

Hoffman instructs students who use PowerPoint for their

presentations in class to stick to the basics.

“You need to get to the key point, forget all the bells and

whistles, and the flashing words. Clip art is fine, but the basic

information is all that is really needed,” he said.

This is good information for students. But, for professors,

resources are available to brush up on their PowerPoint skills.

Carol Marander, coordinator at Instructional Services offers a

workshop for faculty and staff on the aesthetics of PowerPoint.

Fran Parker, an IT professional I at the Computer Networking

Services, teaches a workshop on how to build an effective

PowerPoint presentation.

Neither of these workshops is required of professors before they

use PowerPoint in a lecture.

“It depends on the class and the teacher, but PowerPoint can

help cover more material during the lecture,” Hoffman said.




 Posted by at 5:00 pm

Sorry, the comment form is closed at this time.