Monday, September 17, 2007

Just another example of the poor use of PowerPoint

If you’re a regular reader of my blog, you’ll notice I’ve been a bit lackadaisical on my postings. I just started my third year of graduate school (I’m part time) and also am at the nexus of a very large project at work. Those combined with a newborn have kept me pretty busy.

Anyway, I wanted to pontificate on why I hate PowerPoint. PowerPoint is probably not a bad tool, just used by bad presenters. In my finance class, the lecturer tries to match up the course packet highlights with her quickly assembled PowerPoint packet. To be honest, I find myself spending more time syncing up the packet with her PowerPoint slides than learning the material.

Here is my common thought process: “PowerPoint slide twenty seven says CAPM, which then should match up with section 3-45 of the package. Oh wait, or maybe it’s section 8-97, which is also on Capital Asset Pricing Model.” See what I mean, it’s a nightmare and I learn nothing.

I plan on recommending she stick with either the PowerPoint slides or class packet in the future. My preference is the course packet. When she needs to highlight something, write it on the board. In addition, consider this a vow. Unless I’m forced to use PowerPoint, I plan on writing out course notes on the black board (or white board) when I teach. This gives students time to consider the topic and also forces them to write it down – which I argue helps them retain and recall information. Simply watching a PowerPoint deck does nothing more than act as a sleeping aid for students.

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