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PowerPoint Confidential, a new University Diaries feature, quotes university students on their experience of PowerPoint in the classroom. Here’s a PPC from an Indian student:

I’m a student at one of the most prestigious technology institutes in my country, and yet, in my 3 years of study, I’ve never come across an interesting PowerPoint presentation. All of my professors, with only one rare exception, try to cram as much text as possible into as few slides as possible.

Here’s another, from the same comment thread:

The worst Powerpoint presentation I ever sat through was in my second year at University. It was about the theory of Fascism and lasted two hours without a break. Plus, it had over 70 slides. Each slide was packed with information and it was impossible to keep up. I have never been so bored or learnt less.

Both remarks come from a comment thread for a BBC News PowerPoint retrospective: Twenty-five years of PowerPoint. The article itself is a pithy summary of everything that’s wrong with PowerPoint: too much information, too many slides, too much text, very little eye contact. People aren’t designed to read and listen at the same time, the author notes. He concludes that the whole thing tends to create a lazy, disengaged, slide-dependent speaker.

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One Response to “PowerPoint Confidential”

  1. Townsend Harris Says:

    At the risk of sounding like a cult member, retired professor Edward Tufte’s essay "The Cognitive Style of PowerPoint" inspired me to radically change my classroom use of .ppt, and made me include paper handouts. And I don’t teach engineering.

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