As I get into the frenzy of preparing for next week’s start of term, I am again thinking about the issue of overhead presentations, so this BBC article comes at a very good time.
The point about powerpoint getting boring is very pertinent, but what options are there? I teach quite content-intensive modules, so the best idea seems to be to project code or pseudo-code, or examples, on the screen and go over it for a few minutes. And then there are definitions, etc. But I know we lecturers tend to just read out the content. And a related issue is of giving copies to the students.
Some of my colleagues have resisted/still resist the idea, and are of the school that asking students to transcribe material onto their notebooks is a learning aid. However, students don’t seem to agree with this, and often mount campaigns to get slides available. Me, I try to make handouts which have most of the text and diagrams but where I leave strategic but well marked blank boxes for students to fill in, usually during 5-minute slots in the lectures. But I have often had perplexed students not getting the point. It would be interesting to get the student viewpoint on this – not only in terms of what makes their life easier but what is the approach which best makes them learn.
Of course, I never use Powerpoint for lectures; my presentation preparation of choice is LaTeX with pdfscreen. I have used Powerpoint for conference presentations where I wanted to embed videos (still difficult in PDF/LaTeX) but I think it would be a nightmare to prepare a whole 30 lectures using it!