… from a Northern Illinois University student. It’s about classroom PowerPoint use.

[W]hen we graduate from this prison of perpetual PowerPoints, the information we will have to learn is not going to be presented to us in slide form…

Prison of perpetual PowerPoints is excellent.

The only reason why I can think you, professors, rely on PowerPoint presentation is because you are lazy. Why require students to know the material before class when you can just read it to them? Why spend time formulating an intriguing lecture when you can copy and paste from the book? Especially, why put in extra effort when you get paid either way?

… I pay to be taught. What is the point of paying a professor’s salary if the knowledge I gain in class is no greater than what I could have [gotten] from buying the book? If a subject is best taught strictly via PowerPoint, then I say it is time to start laying off professors. Cut costs by making it an online class, or install text-to-speech software on classroom computers and have an undergraduate click through slides and collect Scantron homework assignments and tests.

He’s seen the future, for sure.

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4 Responses to “Good writing…”

  1. Stephen Karlson Says:

    That column was part of a Power Point Counterpoint last week Wednesday. The affirmative case is also available online: http://northernstar.info/opinion/columnists/article_fe0f45fa-05bf-11e1-ba4f-001a4bcf6878.html

    Read it carefully, as the author might be suggesting that prepared slides make unprepared professors more organized.

  2. Mr Punch Says:

    Perhaps PowerPoint, like a repressive political regime, brings forth good writing.

  3. Pete Copeland Says:

    I was an undergrad in the pre-Powerpoint days but if one reads enough complaints about bad teachers today (who happen to use a lot of Powerpoint), one could begin to imagine that all of my bad professors 30 years ago were also bad because of PP.

    I use PP in my classes but I also give a lot of myself. My students definitely get more than if they had just bought (and read) the book. The concern for good teaching we see on University Diaries is always a good thing but the equating of any use of Powerpoint with bad, lazy, contemptuous teaching is not in line with the generally thoughtful analysis we see here.

    We have 25 tenure-track faculty in my department and I could take you to the lectures of the two best teachers and the two worst teachers in the group. The good ones will engage students, add extemporaneous stories, follow up when questioned. The bad ones will be uninterested in the students and their problems, not look for ways to add to the lectures, and be generally no fun to listen too. The one thing that they will all have in common is PowerPoint.

  4. dance Says:

    “Prison of perpetual powerpoints” is nice, but seriously, UD, you are endorsing “The only reason why I can think you, professors, rely on PowerPoint presentation is because you are lazy”? The student can’t even think of such reasons as: because his classmates demand PPT, because classes are too large for abstract discussion, because arranging real-life experiences is expensive in time/money/labor to students, professors, and departments, because students don’t read the text, etc, etc, etc. Sure, I’ll accept that doing nothing more than repeating the textbook in your lecture is bad teaching (although, I could also argue that it’s reiterating important points that may sound familiar but that students do not necessarily know how to identify what they should emphasize for themselves). But attacking the tool instead of the teaching just undermines the piece. Good persuasive writing tackles counter-arguments.

    And what in the world does it mean to “learn best…logically” as opposed to visually or verbally?

    But all kudos for “But when all you do is read verbatim off the PowerPoint that is verbatim from the book, I do not call you a professor. I call you a thief.” That’s nice. Too bad the argument isn’t at the level of the rhetoric.

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