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Center for Instructional Development and Research

Teaching and Learning Bulletin


Vol. 10 no. 3

CenterforInstructional
DevelopmentandResearch

2007

Using PowerPoint

100GerberdingHall
Box351265
UniversityofWashington
Seattle,WA981951265
Phone:206.543.6588
Fax:206.685.1213
Email:cidr@u.washington.edu

PowerPointcanbeapowerfulwaytoguidestudentsthroughapresentation,addvisualemphasis,
andmakeuseofmultimediatoshowexamplesorillustrateapoint.StudentsreportthatPowerPoint
canbehelpful,dependingonhowitisused,butinsomewaysitcanalsodistractthemfromwhatthe
instructorissayingoroverwhelmthemwithahighspeedflowofinformationthatleaveslittletime
tothink,reflectontheirquestions,orlearn.ThisBulletinidentifiesconsiderationsformakingthe
bestuseofPowerPointasatooltosupportlearninginyourclass.

http://depts.washington.edu/cidrweb

MAXIMIZINGVISUALIMPACT
Use2432pointfont.Titlesshouldbean
evenbiggerfont.
Toomuchinformationonaslidecanbe
distracting.Useslidestoprovidestructure,
emphasis,andsupportingvisualmaterial.
Graphics,animation,andimagescanhelp
enliven,clarify,orhighlightmaterial.Use
theseelementstogiveemphasisordirect
attentiontoparticularpartsoftheslide.
However,usingthemasfrillswilldistract
morethanitwillhelp.
Checkslidesforreadabilityinyourclass
room.Slidecolorsmaylookdifferentonyour
computerthantheydowhenprojected.High
contrastcolorcombinations(white/black,
gold/blue,etc.)aremostreadable.

DifficulttoProcess
Toomuchinformationsqueezedonto
theslidewilloverwhelmstudents
andtheywillpaycloserattentionto
readingthantolistening.Itisachal
lengetoreadacomplexslide,think
abouthowitrelatestoothercourse
material,takenotes,andlistentothe
presenterallatthesametime.

EasiertoProcess
Arrangecontentinmeaningfulchunks
Pruneallextrawords

ORGANIZINGSLIDES

InformationforPeoplewhoTeach
attheUniversityofWashington

Usespaceandgraphicsdeliberatelyto
signalorganizationandemphasis

Studentslearnnewinformationmore
easilywhentheyseehowitisorganized.
Therefore,itcanhelptohave:
Oneslidewithalectureoverview
Introductoryslidesforeachkeychunkofthelecture
Concludingslidesthatpresentsummaries,remainingquestions,ornexttopicsto
beaddressed
Useslidestoposeproblemsorraisequestionsforclassdiscussionthatwillletyoutoinformally
assessstudentlearningorleadintothenextsectionofthelecture.

Continuedonback>>

TeachingandLearningBulletinOnline>>http://depts.washington.edu/cidrweb/Bulletin/

CIDR Teaching and Learning Bulletin


PRESENTINGWITHPOWERPOINT
Thinkofslidesasasupplementtohelpstudentslistenandtakenotes,notasareplace
mentforthelecture.Usethelecturetoelaborateonslidesoraddfurtherexamples.
Avoidrelyingonslidesasareplacementforyourownlecturenotes.Useaseparateset
ofnotestoremindyouofpointstoelaborateandrelevantexamplestocite.
Studentsoftenappreciatebeingabletoprintoutslidesbeforeclass.Ifyoucanmake
themaccessible,studentscanusetheprintedslidesasaguidefornotetaking.
Focusstudentsattentionbyusingslidestopresentimagesorattentiongrabbingquotes
thatcanhelpframeyourquestionsorleadintothetopicsfortheday.
Commentoneachslidethatstudentsaregiven,orreturntoslideslateriftimerunsout.
Studentsarenotlikelytolearnasmuchbysimplyreadingtheslideontheirown.
Givestudentssufficientopportunitytoconsidereachslide.Theyareseeingandhearing
yourlectureforthefirsttime,andwillneedtimetointegrateconcepts,followanargu
ment,orthinkthroughstepsofaproblem.
Askquestionsthatcheckstudentsunderstandingorpromptstudentsfurtherthinking.
Allowenoughtimeforstudentstoformulateandasktheirownquestions.
Toincorporatestudentparticipationandinteraction(forexample,whileworkingout
problemsorelicitingcommentsduringadiscussion),bereadytorecordstudentinputon
theboardortheoverheadprojector.

CenterforInstructional
DevelopmentandResearch
CIDRpromotesexcellenceinteachingand
learningattheUniversityofWashington
through its work with individual faculty
andTAs,departments,campuswideinitia
tives,andUniversityleaders.CIDRstaffare
availableyearroundtocollaborateonthe
design,implementation,andassessmentof
waystoadvanceteachingandlearningfor
allstudentsinthediverseUWcommunity.
Consultationsareconfidentialandoffered
atnochargetoUWfaculty,TAs,anddepart
ments.
Ifyouhavequestionsaboutteachingand
learning,oryouwouldliketofindoutmore

HOWCANCIDRHELP?
AtCIDR,wecanconsultwithyouplanyourclasspresentationsandassesstheireffectiveness.
CalloremailtoarrangeanappointmentwithaCIDRconsultant.

aboutworkingwithCIDR,youcancallusat
5436588,sendamessagetocidr@u.wash
ington.edu,orvisitourwebsite:
http://depts.washington.edu/cidrweb/

THEGRADUATESCHOOL

100GerberdingHall | Box351265 | Seattle,WA981951265 | (206)5436588 | cidr@u.washington.edu | http://depts.washington.edu/cidrweb/